Yeah, I feel there was so many ways to work with both of them. What we tried to do with Brava was to find what existed in between them. It’s just the start of it, it’s not the final answer. It’s a new start. A new kind of music.
Was it challenging when you started working on bringing those worlds together?
That wasn’t a challenge, but it was for me to not just do a concept album. I love rap and I love techno, and I could maybe do an album with both, but it was too much of a concept album. I remember telling myself, “I need to make music and I need to make music I wanna listen to, that people wanna listen to, and it doesn’t need to be a concept.” It doesn’t need to only be about the idea, it has to be about the music first. I think that made me realise that we could do it without the boundaries of, ‘this needs to be electronic, this needs to be rap.’ It’s more like getting the two styles we like and just making a new form of music.
Was that approach different to your earlier releases?
It’s different because when I started it, I had my vision, and I knew what I wanted to do. Since the start of my career I’ve only had the chance work on EPs and mixes. I think I needed to do this album. I didn’t want to just get the cards up off the floor and play them the way I always play them. But I didn’t want it to be a climax in my career, I just wanted something different. The beginning of 15 years of experiments. Maybe in 15 years we’ll have a proper method!
Are you planning to keep making music blending electronic and rap?
Yeah, that’s the path I wanna take. I’m still gonna work on a lot of electronic artists, especially on Bromance, but I’m also working with rappers. Some from the album like Bloody Jay and Bricc Baby Shitro – he’s releasing a mixtape at the end of the month. I like continuing work with people and trying to improve on what we wanna do.
Will you be bringing rappers into Bromance?
Yeah I hope so, we’re starting to build several projects and I feel like some of them will fit really well on Bromance. There’s projects from the electronic world and the rap world. We’re working on bringing them together and I’m really excited about that.
Who were some artists who first brought electronic and rap together for you?
For me, between what Three 6 Mafia did 20 years ago and what Mike Will [Made it] is doing today, the link is there. The link between OG Bobby Johnson and Gesafellstein is there for me. And that’s what I wanna show: being able to speak about it, being able to explain the way we work and the way we wanna do it differently.
Who else is out there doing it today?
Well of course there’s the Club Cheval guys, like Myd and Canblaster, and Sam Tiba, but I also wanna talk about Shlohmo, about Salva, about what Hudson Mohawke is doing, what Sinjin Hawke is doing, Cashmere Cat, Ryan Hemsworth… I don’t feel like I sound like them, but I feel like they’re open-minded. They’re constructing a whole new scene of open-minded people, and that’s what I’m interested in.
During the recording process you had to travel a lot for your collaborations. What were some of your favourite moments through your travels?
Yeah! The first time I got to Atlanta, I got the chance to meet Peewee Longway, one of my favourite rappers. In Washington, I had the chance to meet Yung Gleesh, I was in the studio with him for two days, just recording the music we like. There was just so much good energy and good feelings, just showing people what we wanted to do with the collaborations. I felt that everybody was behind the project and that’s what mattered the most!
I know you’ve worked with rappers before but what were main changes or differences between making a rap record to a techno record?
It takes longer to explain to everybody what we wanna do! ‘It’s not exactly this,’ ‘it’s not especially like that,’ y’know, but the best way was to play music. From what we did with Kanye to what we did with Theophilus, and Gesaffelstein’s stuff and my stuff. Then they got what we wanted to do with them, and they get that I’m a fan. I’m a really big fan of them all, so I came to them knowing everything about them and their careers. Also, being in the studio with them is really different. Most of them are people who I have so much respect for and I’m a big fan of their music. I remember a moment when I thought, like, ‘Finally!’ I’d wanted to do it and I did it. We did it. We’re here, recording with them now. And the only way to do it was to travel a lot. I learnt a lot during this album process, and I wanna continue to learn.
What were some of the most important lessons you learnt?
I spent a lot more time in the studio, and because of that I learnt a lot of different stuff I didn’t know before technically and personally. You have to be in the studio and to stay objective. You need to know what you want, always. Especially when you work on a full album and when you give yourself a deadline.
And you started off with around 50 tracks, right?
Yeah, we had 45 or 50. So of them are gonna be released – some through the other artists and some through us, I just think I needed to record a lot, I needed to learn and respect what people they do in the electronic world and in the rap world and having the two embrace each other.
The ones that stayed [on the album] have stories behind them, like the way we recorded Us to being in the studio with Chill Will and Bloody Jay, and recording with Shitro in Paris and LA. I’m really happy about it! We had so much material, and we were able to choose the best of it.
I also read that Nine Inch Nails was another big influence on Brava?
Yeah. I think the way Trent Reznor works with his team, making music the way he wants it, with the visuals and sound design, I wanted that for Brava. He’s definitely very influential for me. The way he works and the way he organises his music, I really love it. Nobody else sounds like Nine Inch Nails, and I feel like that’s also what I want.
Yeah, it’s a sound that’s completely unique and it’s stayed like that throughout his career.
Yeah, but it’s more than that – Like, I feel like Gesafellstein has a sound, but it’s more like a feeling. Nine Inch Nails doesn’t always sound the same, but it’s the same energy, and that’s what I wanna do. How can you have that energy last over 10 years, 20, 30 years? That’s what’s so interesting. And it’s just the beginning for me.
Hopefully we’ll hear that energy come out throughout your 15 year plan!
Haha, I hope we’ll have it much sooner!
Brava is out now.