A Conversation With Brothel.
Written by Lauren Taylor
When fall arrives, it brings with it a new set of emotions. Our feelings of longing grow with the nights, but for what we cannot say. For something, somewhere, the mystery is to be unraveled with the passage of time. We are filling our time with music, specifically our friend Brothel.’s new EP, Something Somewhere, which is currently in the middle of a SoundCloud roll out.
Something Somewhere is not filled with the typical sounds you might expect from Brothel. From a hard-hitting collaboration with Butch Clancy to his dreamy track with DIVINE, this EP shows us just how Brothel. is evolving as an artist. Though for long-time fans there is no need to fear, the two solo tracks, “Andrew” and “Carousel”, feature the wavy sound that has come to be expected from the Colorado artist. We were lucky enough to chat with Brothel. about the EP and more. Throughout the interview our discussion bounced around and touched on topics such as his relationship with Plastician, his goals for listeners, his thoughts on the term ‘bedroom producer’ and his opinions on the wave genre debate.
What day is your Something Somewhere EP being released?
I’m actually doing it in singles. The second track just came out on Tuesday so every Tuesday for six weeks is going to be a new single of the EP. I didn’t want to go the traditional route of getting a body of work and then just throwing it out there, because I feel like a lot of it gets over seen sometimes. You can’t really show your body of work fully if you just throw it out there at the same time because people are just going to go out and listen to what they want to listen to. But by releasing them in singles I can really get my point across with each song and show people how they are all different. But yeah, I think it was last Tuesday [September 26] that the first song of the EP came out.
I listened to the whole thing and it is excellent, I like it a lot. When you started working on these songs did you know you were going to put them together or did the EP come together more naturally?
The EP came together more naturally. I didn’t really have a name for the EP. I was just going to do something self-titled, I was just going to have it go by Brothel. It was just more natural, I didn’t even really want to do an EP. Somebody just mentioned “Yo, you should try a body of work. We noticed you release once a month, maybe you could do once a week type of deal and at the end of that it would just be a big EP package or something.” At first it didn’t really turn me on completely. I like singles, but I thought about it a little more and I was like “I’ll focus on a big body of work and just release them separately.” The name Something Somewhere, I honestly don’t really know where it came from. I just thought of it one day, there is no crazy story about it. It’s just a bunch of material about how I was feeling. I didn’t have a genre I was trying to push with this, nothing like that. It’s just more of showing people how I’m evolving as an artist, trying to branch out to more than just one thing I’m known for.
Your expertise in songs is building up emotion with atmospheric build ups. This is a skill that can be seen on your two solo tracks on the EP “Andrew” and “Carousel”. Do these songs evoke a different emotion to you than songs that hit hard from the start such as “TELLM3”?
I made the track “TELLM3” when I was on tour with I See Stars. I was with one of my best friends Jeff [Valentine], who happens to be the bass player of that band. He brought me on tour and we were super stoked that we were on tour together because we wanted to make music together. We don’t get to hangout a lot and we were on that tour bus for a while not really doing sh**. We had a night off and Jeff rented a hotel room, I think we were in Iowa. We were on our way to Omaha, but we were on the border so we rented a room and we wrote the track that night. We started that track that night and then the rest of the tour we kept piecing things together until we finally kind of found our sound. “TELLM3” was really cool because it was actually the first time I really made a song outside of my bedroom that was me being myself. I was in a whole different situation than normal, I was on a tour bus and playing a whole bunch of shows with some really cool people. That from “Carousel” and “Andrew”, I was super deep in my field and obviously alone, not around anybody, so there is a whole different vibe in the first two solo tracks. “Andrew” is actually about my little brother who passed away last year, so when I made that song I was really thinking about him. I kind of forgot I couldn’t hangout with him this summer, so that was a song I made over the summer. It was not exactly for him, but I was just really thinking about him a lot.
You said on Twitter that you “would rather have people sit and think about their lives at your shows than dance their asses off.” Do you aim for bringing out emotions in your listeners?
Yeah 100%. I mean there is that cliché EDM stuff that I still respect in its own way, but when I go to shows I don’t go to get f***** up and go dance and stuff. I go to shows because I truly care about the music and I feel like a lot of times people look past that and forget about it. I feel like I hold something powerful enough that lets people feel something. I guess I just want people to feel some type of way when they listen to my music, so when people go to my shows I’d rather have them sit and think about their life and realize life’s fine, everything’s okay. Why was I stressed or depressed to begin with because now I’m at this Brothel. show and everything he is playing is just fun. That is the whole goal, to play my music and a whole bunch of music that just lets people think about their life. You know they could dance, I don’t really care, but I’d rather have people sit and think than just go to a show, get f***** up and kind of forget about what they even did last night.
I want to show people, at least eventually, in my music that if they are dealing with sadness, depression, anxiety, pain or anything, that I’ve dealt with that too. I have music to release those types of feelings through my music and I hope I can relate to other people with my music and have them realize “hey, it’s fine. I’m not the only one with those types of feelings.” That’s what I want to do. I don’t know if it’s working, but that’s the goal. I just want people to feel something and not just get f***** up and party. I mean if they want to do that to my music, that’s cool whatever, but I’d rather just have people feel emotions and cry a little bit. It’s depending on the situation I’m in of course. If I’m in a nightclub or something I can’t really do that. But if I’m at one of those intimate venues or stages, 100% it’s going to be me doing my thing. I could care less if people really want to dance around. I just want to distribute new music and let people feel feelings that they choose to ignore, stuff like that.
Your normal album art and videos display more white and muted tones, while the cover of Something Somewhere features red flowers along a blue sky. In your eyes, does this change of aesthetic reflect any changes in the music?
Yeah, I guess. Right before I made this EP I was finding myself again and I’m really happy right now. The cover art reflects the music in that kind of way. The music is a little darker, but it’s more just me evolving as an artist and as a person. I was going through, I wouldn’t say depression, but I was in a weird spot before writing this material. Then I kind of snapped to it, found myself again and started going in on this new material. I really like the picture for the art, but I don’t know what people think about it. I was actually just driving with my girlfriend and I saw a bunch of red flowers and I was like “Yo, take a picture of me behind this,” and then that’s kind of how it worked. I hopped behind some flowers took a picture and then blacked my face out and put some squiggly lines on it. I was just kind of acting silly. I’d say it has a lot to do with the music in the EP because I’m happy again and stoked on life. I just really felt myself with all the material again, not feeling like I had to cater to anyone at all besides myself and making myself happy.
Obviously, me liking their music is the biggest thing. If I can hear stuff in their music that I would add, those make for the best collabs. That’s the best chemistry for me when I’m doing collabs. When I study the music and within the first 30 seconds if there is something I feel like I can naturally just add, that’s what makes for a super good collab. Everyone on the EP are actually super good friends of mine. We are homies and we f*** with each other’s music. That’s why those collabs happen so naturally and sound the way that they do.
BLNT is actually a side project from a really well known dubstep artist. We’ve been friends for a few years now and we were fans of each other’s work, even though we are in completely different realms and spheres of music. He has that side project BLNT and we’ve just been making music together pretty regularly for couple years now. I was like, “Yo, I’m going to throw you on the EP. I think people might like it”. JV is that guy from I See Stars, the bass player. Divine is one of my close homies. The Butch Clancy collab was really crazy and random. It was kind of a dream. We have the same manager and when Robert hit me up he told me he managed Butch Clancy I was like, “That’s crazy, I’ve always known of that dude”. I remember he was really poppin’ off at one point and then he went away for a little. Then, he [Robert] was like, “You should make some music together”. They came to my show back in June when I was playing with Ozzie in Denver and we just clicked as soon as we met. Then, we made that track “Whiz” which is the heater of the EP.
Can I ask who BLNT is or is it a secret?
I don’t know. I wish I could instantly message him right now, but I don’t know what time it is in London. I think it’s obvious who he is. He goes by 50 Carrot and is a pretty well known dubstep guy. In my eyes he is f****** insane. He is one of the three members of Gentleman’s Club. They are super good friends of mine, homies for sure. I always call him 50, I don’t even call him BLNT or by his name and I’ve been good friends with him for a minute. The chemistry with him is solid. Everything we send each other it’s just like, “F*** yeah, let’s do it.” Then the track just happens to turn into something. I guess I kind of just spilled the beans, but he’s a good friend I think it’s fine.
Your music was featured on both of Plastician’s wave mixes, in the description of which he talks about the new genre wave, or vaporwave. Do you consider your music to be part of that movement?
100%. I’ve been with that movement since it started. I want to say about three years ago I was actually on a Skype call with one of my good friends. She goes by Moonbaby and is a DJ out of Canada. She was like, “Do you have a Skype?” I was like, “No, what the f***. Sure I’ll get a Skype”. She really liked my music, but at the time I wasn’t making wavy style music. I was making strait 808 in your face all over the place. There really was no structure to any of the music I was making at the time, but she was wanting to play it out live so I gave her a bunch of tracks. Then, she was like “I’m actually on another call with a bunch of producers that know who you are and they are freaking out that I’m talking to you. Do you mind if I put you in a skype call with them?”. It happened to be Kareful, Lucio, this other producer who goes by Kayeln, and a whole bunch of other people. That’s when Jude [Kareful] asked me, “Man, would you like to be part of this movement? We are going to call it wave and we can just push each other and be a whole group of friends who are pushing a different genre of music”.
That was about three years ago. Ever since then Plastician has put me in a bunch of mixes and I’ve become really good friends with him. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly 100% wave, I’m just being part of that movement and helping it grow. I’m definitely a part of that community and all those producers are super good friends of mine. That was the thing about the EP, I was trying to show people what’s next for me. I want to show people what I’m capable of doing and what I really love to do I guess. The movement is super tight, a lot of those producers are super good. It’s definitely grown. Chris [Plastician] saw that sh** coming from a mile ahead. It’s a super cool thing for him to be traveling the world and about to make his debut U.S tour. I get to hop on a few shows with him, which are going to be really fun. I actually am going to be in Seattle on November 4th, so that will be a fun show. It’s Kareful, foxwedding, White Katana, me, Essex, Resonata, Dyzphoria and Harukasuka, It’s going be the biggest wave show that has happened so far. It should be a super fun night.
Thump put out an article saying that wave is not a genre and that it is just a marketing tactic. How do you feel about that controversy?
I don’t know. It’s hard to really say anything. I wouldn’t say marketing tactic, because we are creating art and it’s happening to work. I can see why they would say that. We are distributing what we visually like through music so it doesn’t even really matter. Generally, to me, wave is more of a movement and a culture of people that happens to make wavy style beats, but we are just having fun. I’m just having fun. I can’t really answer that fully. I don’t really know how to answer that correctly. Some would consider it a genre I would consider it a movement. A group of friends started this and now it’s growing, so it’s super cool to be part of that. I don’t know, would you consider it a genre?
I don’t know, it’s a hard question. I guess because the spectrum of it is so wide and it definitely draws or even sounds like a different genre, but you can still tell it’s wave music. There is just an emotion that isn’t there in other music.
Yeah with me I’m just super influenced by Clams Casino, Crystal Castles and xxyxx and whole bunch of that style of music. To really sum that up we are really just making electronic music with a twist. There is a really broad spectrum of sounds for sure. I wouldn’t consider Clams Casino wave, that dude is in his own. That’s really what I want as this Brothel. project. I want to be in the midst of everything. I want to be known in the wave community. I’m known in the dubstep community. I’m known in some of the EDM community, and now I’m known in some of the rock community as being tied with I See Stars. I really want Brothel. to be a thing. I want to be in my own path, but still getting along with everybody and making tracks with everybody at the end of the day. Sounds change, people change and we evolve as artists. With me I never want to stop changing.
I feel like I’m getting to the point in my career that I’m able to get to those places easier than I was before. I’m kind of showing everyone my twist on every track I do or future collab I do, but still have that Brothel. feel. That’s really what the EP is about, showing people, “Hey I’m not changing on anybody and I’m not leaving any crowds or anything. I just want to release what I truly love to do”. On the EP every song is different. It’s super fun that way. I didn’t want to give people a body of work that was the same thing throughout the whole EP. I collabed on tracks that people wouldn’t expect me to and that’s what’s fun to me. It’s something and it’s somewhere, I don’t really know yet, but it’s all fun. I can see wave and this movement that we started really getting out there more than it has been. I feel like a lot of people are getting kind of brain fried from the EDM sh**, so I feel like music is going to wrap back around to the roots. I feel like with this movement we are tapping into feelings that a lot of people forgot about. That’s what I want to tap into.
Do you have any opinions on the term ‘bedroom producer’?
Not really, it is what it is. I’m sitting in my f****** room making beats, I’m a f****** bedroom producer all day. I was talking to my friend this weekend in LA. When I’m in a studio I feel pressured because I feel like I’m on somebody else’s time. I just feel pressured to make something and when I create stuff in the studio it’s not my best material. I mean some people probably like it, but it’s not fully me because I don’t feel like myself. Which is not all a bad thing, because stepping into new realms isn’t always bad, it’s how you grow. Being a ‘bedroom producer’ you can just be yourself, there is no one in your bedroom telling you what to do. There are no rules. I mean there are no rules in music, but being in my room just lets me completely be myself, capture certain vibes and go for the sound I like to go for.
You are opening for Plastician at a couple shows. How did you get involved with that tour?
I think it’s just because we are good homies. He was like, “I’m gonna be in the area, come play some f****** shows with me!” It just works because he’s been playing all my music. Pretty close to the first releases I had on SoundCloud he was pushing and it’s funny cause I didn’t even know who Plastician was. It was a few years ago, Haven and I made this track and he was like, “You’re on Rinse FM!” and I was like, “Cool, what is that?” and he was like, “What the f*** is wrong with you! You don’t know Rinse FM?” I’d only had a SoundCloud for a little bit. I was just hanging out in my room having fun . Plastician was dropping Brothel. songs that are completely different than what I’m doing now. He just kept dropping my tracks in every one of his Rinse FM mixes and I couldn’t feel more blessed about that. After that we just started talking and when he came through, we would be kicking it. He’d always be like, “Dude, I need to get you on a lineup,” and now it’s happening. It’s kind of crazy to me damn like I’m about to play with this dude. I hope I don’t f*** up or anything. We developed a pretty solid friendship and just supported one another. We're playing together on Oct. 18th in Oakland. Also, ONHELL is on there, who is a really good friend of mine on STYLSS. It’s been a long time coming to play with Plastician so I’m hyped about that one.
What can fans expect from one of your live performances?
Just a big old emotional f***. A big old swarm of emotions. I love to keep the mystery. People are there for Brothel., but you know I might just flip the switch and say f*** you, you are going to get this. It’s fun to do that, keep the question in the air. I like having people in the unknown, but I never let people down. It’s like come to the show and see what you think of it. You are just going to get a whole bunch of f***. When people come to my shows, yeah they want to listen to my music, but they also want to see what I’m into. Then there are some people in the crowd like, “Is he going to drop my track? He doesn’t really tell people what he’s doing when it comes to live shows.” It’s a fun experience and a new experience for people who are there to see one thing, but I flip the switch. The more I DJ the more confident I get, the more relaxed I get. I’m not one of those DJs who is in your face getting all rowdy on the mic every 30 seconds. It’s more like, “Yo, I’m going to let the music do the talking and I’m just going to do my thing cause I can chill, relax and hope for the best that you guys f*** with it.” That’s just me though.
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Whether you are counting down the days until you get to see Brothel. live or you are impatiently waiting for the next Something, Somewhere song to drop, the days could not pass fast enough. The future is bright for this genre defying producer and we here at Big Slide Records cannot wait to see his popularity continue to grow.