The producer turned rapper model is nothing new in music. Think about it, some of the most respected emcees in the game found their start as mystery men behind the beats before morphing into the men we now know behind the mic. Kanye West, J Dilla, Rza, Pharrell, etc. are all successful examples of this transition. With a blueprint already in place, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of beat architects are making this jump. While some try to follow in the direct footsteps of those that have come before, others have a very specific understanding of who they are, what their music represents, and how they want their legacy to be remembered. Enter up-and-coming producer / rapper Brain Gang Blue. On the heels of his first official EP release, BGB is looking to make a splash in the industry with his own brand of creative and innovative music.
The Dallas area artist first caught our attention last fall when he sent over a short film for his Numb. EP that simply featured him playfully tailing a hot dime in red heels as a hellaciously heavy beat thumped in the background. Now with the full project complete we wanted to catch up with BGB to talk about Numb. (which you can listen to in full and download on the next page), his up coming SXSW debut and other ridiculous topics.
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Interview by Monster.
Thanks for taking the time to do this man. Let’s get personal right away. Brain Gang Blue is a pretty interesting name, how the hell did you come up with it?
I use every ounce of my Brain, I roll with a Gang, & Blue’s my government name. Pow.
That makes sense. So everyone has a different reason for pursuing music. What drew you to the business? Did you always know it was something you wanted to get into?
I have no interest in the business, AT ALL. For the most part, I just make music for myself and expose it to the world for my amusement. I’m all about the challenge of being more original & creative than anyone else. That’s what drives me to progress and “pursue”.
As a producer you’ve worked with some pretty hot artists like Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Mac Miller. How did you hook up with those guys?
I met K.dot and Q when I moved to LA back in ’08. I periodically went to the studio with them and just played any and everything that I had in my beat stash. Inevitably, songs were made. I never would’ve thought “P&P” would’ve been as big as it turned out to be. It’s one of Kendrick’s most notable songs to date.
As for Mac Miller, I’m not gonna lie, it was luck. You ever see a rapper tweet “producers send beats to ______@____.com”? I saw, I sent, I conquered lol.
On Facebook you list “unhappy endings and parties” as inspiration for your music. What’s that all about?
I HATE happy endings; I hate ALL things happy for the most part. It’s too cliché. It’s what you expect. Let’s see a villain win, a hero die, a winner lose, a heart broken. What happened to the art of the plot twist!? Emo, I know, but I’m not all dark and moody. I like to party. Good vibes and chillin’? Yea, I’ll be on time for that.
Talk a little bit about the Numb. EP. That’s one hard ass collection of songs, would you agree?
Fuck yea, man. The project is everything I thought it would be. It’s edgy, it’s innovative, original, provocative. I combined Hip-Hop with a touch of Dubstep, & Alternative arrangements. Throw a touch of good ole’ Texas screw in there, and I believe I’ve done the unthinkable. It holds a dark vibe, but is up-tempo enough for you to jam no matter what mood you’re in.
You dropped this intro trailer for the project well in advance of the EP release. Two-part question; what made you think to do that, and do you think the girl in the video would want to have drinks with me?
Haha. Well, since I was a producer first, I wanted to expose the SOUND of Numb. early to see what the initial reaction would be. I wanted people to prepare themselves for what they were about to experience. What better way than video footage of a bad ass chick leading me to my demise!?
As far as that drink, you might have a shot my dude. Cassie is one of the friendliest chicks I know.
Does being in Texas, specifically Dallas, have any impact on the sound that you create?
To an extent. I do the opposite of what everyone else in the city is doing. That’s how you stand out in anything, so Dallas really only impacts my sound from a competitive stand point.
You spent a few years at Prairie View A&M University getting your undergrad on. What was Brain Gang Blue like as a student?
I despised college. I hated every moment of being there. My days consisted of making beats in my dorm room day in & day out, stacking Dominoes pizza boxes to the ceiling, and squeezing time in to play NBA Live when I wasn’t busy with the other 2.
How’s that for a college education? Best part about it for me was just being on my own.
You’ll be performing at SXSW next month, that’s a huge opportunity. What does that feel like and how are you preparing for it?
Yea buddy, this is my 3rd year going, 2nd year participating, but 1st time as a solo act. So of course it’s still fresh and exciting. I’ve started a Kick Starter campaign this year for anyone that would be interested in donating towards helping me make this SXSW a successful one. The money will go towards me creating the proper promo needed to get my music out there (CD’s properly printed up, stickers, posters, shirts, buttons, etc.).
What can fans expect from a Brain Gang Blue show?
ENERGY!!! All of my energy… with no budget for fancy laser lights, smoke, and screens, you have to let the people know that you MEAN what you say and do. So I give the crowd ALL that I have and leave everything on the stage when I’m done.
If you could assemble a dream team of artists to collaborate with, who would you call on?
Kid Cudi is #1 on my list. I think our styles would work well together. Santigold, Johnny Polygon, Foster The People, & Missy Elliot are all on my list too.
Now mix in a dead one, R.I.P to them of course.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard. I loved his raw, “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. He made music the right way, which is how ever YOU want to do it. Plus, I LOVE characters —people with larger than life personas, and to me, ODB had that.
How do you blow off steam?
With blow…. and manga.
I have no idea what manga is.
Haha, Manga is Japanese cartoons or comics. Kinda like Anime.
Someone hands you one million dollars, what are the first three things you buy?
A solid Gold Piano, Dallas Cowboys season tickets, & an In-N-Out Franchise.
All solid investments, I like where you’re head’s at. So what’s the end goal, where do you want this music stuff to take you?
I ultimately just want the respect of being one of the most innovative producers and artist of my generation. I believe I’m our generation’s Timbaland, and when it’s all said and done, I want my name to carry just as much weight.
Fame and money can be temporary, but a legacy is forever.
Master P once said, “ya’ll live for bitches and blunts, we live for weed and money”. Given the choice, which combination would you live for?
If you have weed and money, bitches wont be too far behind. So I’ll select option #2 please.
How much can you bench press?
Daaaaamn, son… um, 120? 135 if my adrenaline kicks in? lol I don’t know… It has been a min since I’ve benched anything.
Carter IV or Watch The Throne?
Watch The Throne. I haven’t even heard C4.
Kate Upton is on the cover of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition, how would you rate her rendition of the “Dougie”?
She’s too fine for me to care what her dougie looks like…
When are we going to hear some new material from you?
I’m working on new tracks for the Numb. re-release, which I plan to drop around mid-March/early-April. I just released the “Party On” remix which features all of Dallas’ up-and-coming artist & I’m about to release a new video for my EP’s intro “Overnight Overdose” on February 29th.
Pigeons or Planes?
I’ll hit a pigeon with my plane. Does that answer the question?
Yup that covers it. Thanks BGB.