We sit down with Brodinski to talk about his new album, working with Kanye and the coolest way to die
Brodinski’s debut album Brava is a techno/ hip-hop crossover that’s absolutely made for the club environment. Set for a March 2nd release, the 14-track debut album is an insight into the mind of Louis Rogé, a man infatuated both with the modern day rap scene and his familiar dance scene.
Do you ever consider the commercial side of things when you make a track?
Brodinski: I feel like never, at any step of creation, do you ask yourself that question [whether or not a track is commercially viable]. At least for me, I never ask myself. Then at the end of creating something you think about it. You have people depending on you to release an album. It's cool to see both sides but the best is just to do the music and you'll see, if you do it sincerely, that it works.
Obviously we need to mention Kanye West’s Yeezus. How did your involvement in that come about?
Some of Kanye's team came to look for us and they said we really like your music; we want to work with you. I was like "Riiiight". First, he invited us to the studio and played us some stuff and I heard "On Sight" for the first time, "I Am A God", "Black Skinhead" and "Send It Up". I was telling him how I felt about the tracks and he told me to just take it and do whatever I wanted with it, then come back to the studio and we'd see. That's what we did for a couple of tracks - we worked for about three weeks. Kanye’s always been a big influence and a great artist to work with, a great collaborator. He's someone really brilliant. It's always about learning new things, and he's the best at that, he always wants to learn more. Because we come from such a different world, the techno that I was listening to when I started listening to music: Jeff Mills, Chris Liebing, Ben Sims and Luke Slater, that's where I come from. I remember him saying "don't put in that clap, it's not a west coast track!" We learned from each other, but of course I learnt 100 times more from what he told me.
You can almost hear flecks of the Yeezus sound in Brava, the 808s especially.
Yeah definitely. It's definitely a good inspiration because it's such a contemporary way to make music, not having any rules etc. He gave me the opportunity to make music differently. For me it's definitely different music, but Yeezus was as much an inspiration for Brava as Nine Inch Nails, Chris Liebing, Marilyn Manson and Ice Cube were.
The sentiment behind both Brava and Yeezus was quite similar for me. On Brava, there's a similar style that runs throughout... a sort of je nais se quoi if you will.
It's a matter of sound. If you've found your sound it doesn't mean that you've found your genre. That's what makes me happy about it, in Brava I can feel the presence of something. Even if I'm definitely not objective about it because it's my record, I'm happy because I can feel my vision. I know that I'm really proud of it because it's what I wanted to do. That's the most important thing for me. It's one of those albums where each person is going to have a favourite track because there are different stories for different moments of your day, or your life. It's full of really personal emotion; it feels like me as an artist and a person.
Every single track on the album has a featured artist. Why? Did you consider featuring instrumental tracks?
We worked with 40 different features and people in the studio. We have between 60 and 70 tracks for the album and we only chose fourteen of them - a lot of them were instrumental. I just wanted Brava to be different; I didn't see any space for any of those [instrumental] tracks because I like it the way that it is now. I don't know why. In the construction it didn't feel right, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to do any more instrumental tracks. It's more that for Brava, I wasn't feeling it. "Hector" used to be a completely instrumental track and then MPA Shitro came by the studio and was like "Aah what the fuck!", so I said let's do it.
There are fourteen features on the album, but some of them return like Bloody Jay and Shitro, both of them are on three tracks. Working with rappers that I love and that I'm listening to every day was one of my goals for it. Slim Thug is on it of course, the legend, but there are also younger guys like Young Scooter and Peewee Longway. I remember being with Peewee in the studio and I thought, I did all of that and now I'm playing my music to this guy that I love so much, because I respect him.
The video for "Can't Help Myself", directed by Megaforce, give us a run down.
I worked with them once before, I saw the video they did for Is Tropical and it was amazing. I remember seeing that and being like "I want those guys to work on my video". They came to the studio, I played the track and they came back to me with the idea two months after. The basic idea for the video is that the guy is coming back through time to himself being younger and younger. I feel like they used a really French way of filming it, French characters... everything is really French. They started the project with this old guy in a tunnel and that was what I wanted to see, it's just weird.
Would you say music videos are integral to your career in music?
Yeah. I really enjoy doing it because as with any other kind of collaboration, it needs to be a human relationship with people who understand what you do. The people who took care of the artistic direction for the album, the guys from Le Creative Sweatshop. I remember a week after I'd given them the album, I went to their office and the album was so playing loud on the speakers and everyone was singing and I thought, I know why I'm working with these guys. I feel like Megaforce were the same, they came to me with the idea [for the "Can't Help Myself" video], we talked and exchanged ideas and everybody was feeling the same way. That's the only thing that matters, we have to get along and understand each other, be fans of one another's work.
You say that image is really important 'today' in particular. You’re known as ‘The World’s Most Handsome DJ', do you think that's helped your career?
I don't know actually. I feel like if I was ugly and fat then people would still listen to my music. I think it's bullshit. Ten years ago DJs were in the corner of the room and no-one was watching them, I would have been a DJ at that point too. Today, everything's changed and people see DJs as almost like a rock band or an electronic band or whatever. DJs are a public persona now, DJs have a face, even the most underground DJ has a face.
Back in the day people would have their backs to the DJs and would be dancing with their friends, but at some point the crowd turned around to face the DJ.
Yeah, and people wanted that, they needed it. You can stay in the corner but everyone's gonna watch you because that's what they want now. People have so much interest in electronic music and the culture in general, people are going out and going to the club but they want to see the DJ. They want to see how he looks, how he dresses, see his logo. It's the way it is, we work with it. If I had the choice, I would just do music without the image side of things.
The culture's changed.
Yeah. So many producers became a DJ because it's more difficult to sell music now... everything's changed. Sometimes it's not just a DJ being on a stage, it's a producer being on a stage, people who don't know how to DJ being on a stage. You can come into the party at any time when I'm playing, and it will always be a DJ set for the people. If people watch you or not, if people think you're handsome or not, the only thing that matters and the only thing that's gonna make people come to the club is you playing good music. That's why some clubs are always full, and most of them are not. Because some do it for the wrong reasons, that's why I never really ask myself the question [whether or not looks are important]. It's cool for the ego sometimes, but it doesn't make me happier in any way. It just takes me further away from real life and people.
What's the best line on Brava?
Chill Will on “Follow Part 2”, when he says "As you can see I'm on my way, it may seem like I'm in a rush / For everyone who ever doubted me, all I gotta say is thank you so much"
Best Techno release of 2014?
Robert Hood - "Never Grow Old"
Best hip-hop release of 2014?
Que - "OG Bobby Johnson" - That's the song that I've played the most, I can play that between two techno tracks and nobody's gonna care.
If you could choose how you die, what would be your choice?
Struck by lightning, definitely. I saw something like that in the paper, somebody in LA was swimming and he was struck by lightning while he was swimming... I'm sorry to say that but it's such a cool death. Right?! So many awkward, awful deaths could happen. If you could have a really cool one... I don't think it's gonna happen. I should swim more...
26 Feb 2015