Brandt Brauer Frick: Suit up for Work
Up on stage, Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick look all spruced up and dapper, but their besuited shows are a deliberate statement and marked contrast to the trio’s firm roots in the club scene. The three all-rounders quite simply enjoy wearing something not required – or even desired – in their job description, because it makes them feel as though they were “going off to work.”
Five years ago, two thirds of this stellar constellation graced our Mixed Tape 19 compilation as Haphazard with their fresh and playful track What Am I Supposed To Do. And to this day, fun and passion continue to play a key role in their work. Their studio sees plenty of experimentation and improvisation, even though these part-time athletes (running, basketball, swimming) usually already have rudimentary structures for their tracks in mind. On their new album Miami, these take form as dark downbeats, effervescent electronica, funky and bass-heavy offbeats or housey dance numbers, occasionally enriched and enlivened by the voices of various guest singers.
Brandt Brauer Frick’s ensemble endeavours are just as lively and eclectic. Rather than hide stony faced behind laptops, they prefer to take a partial orchestra on the road and spread their sound via energetic concerts that differ greatly from regular electronic fare.
This March, the trio plans to take their album on tour with a slightly pared down line-up. During their live shows, they will be supported by singer Om’Mas Keith, (Grammy nominee and producer of a. o. Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Jay-Z) who lends his voice to the third song on Miami. And they are also throwing stage visuals into the mix for the first time in Brandt Brauer Frick’s history.
Daniel and Jan, five years ago you contributed to our Mixed Tape 19 compilation as Haphazard. How did people react to this? Are you still in touch with the project’s third member, Bubbz?
Daniel: We received some pretty decent feedback and many people thought the accompanying video was cool. Back then, we also had a fourth member, Pascal Bideau, and we are still in touch with both of them.
The opener of your third album Miami is not exactly the perfect soundtrack for sensitive souls with winter blues. Where does this slightly stoic and hypnotic melancholia that suffuses quite a few of your tracks come from?
Daniel: Yes, the track is probably more for people who love to wallow in winter blues (laughs).
Paul: It was a very intuitive process. When we started writing the album, i.e. in February of last year, we had just come out of a tough US tour and were all feeling a little worse for wear.
Daniel: Also, we would get up late, head for the studio sometime in the afternoon and then work until the early morning hours. So it was dark pretty much all of the time and that left its mark on the recordings.
Well, the subsequent Ocean Drive is decidedly more uplifting. How did the studio sessions for that track go?
Daniel: Well, we didn’t write that one in winter – the weather had already improved by then (laughs).
Paul: We try to approach the songs differently every time – both in terms of concept and improvisation. Sometimes it will start with a beat by Daniel that sparks some ideas, sometimes a track starts with a piano or synthesiser. And a lot of the time we simply listen to other people’s music together, getting new ideas.
Daniel: We’re really just looking to recreate other people’s music and never quite manage to get it right, so this is what we end up with (everyone laughs).
Describe your own sound in three words.
Do you have any recurring rituals when it comes to making music?
Paul: They’re not really fit for sharing with the public.
Okay, you probably start it all off with a nice, healthy bowl of fruit, right?
Daniel: That’s right – we polish off a bowl of fruit and it immediately puts us in a great mood.
Jan: And let’s not forget our yoga teacher, we take him everywhere we go (everyone laughs).
How important is jazz in your music?
Paul: When it comes to aspects like “acoustic instruments“ and “groovy music” we certainly have a lot in common. And taking some liberties when it comes to sounds also lends us a jazzy touch.
On this note, could you name five jazz albums that have left their mark on your music?
Paul: Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Daniel: Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters
Jan: John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Daniel: Mathew Herbert Big Band – Goodbye Swingtime and The Golden Age of Apocalypse by Thundercat
How did this collaboration with Jamie Lidell come about?
Paul: Jamie Lidell had always been right at the top of our guest singer wish list. So we simply asked him, he knew our music and – fortunately for us – felt like working on something together. We first got in touch via Skype as he now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a lot of back and forth later on with the actual recordings.
Could you tell us about an up-and-coming trend in electronic music in 2013?
Daniel: Now that the boundaries between house and UK bass are breaking down, more and more people are exploring this hybrid. Even in Germany, people are starting to realise that a 4/4 bass drum isn’t everything.
Paul: very kinky.
Any recommendations on artists to watch?
Daniel: Thundercat from Los Angeles is a crazy jazz bassist who often tours with Flying Lotus or Erykah Badu and played a lot on both of our records.
Paul: And then there is Dollkraut from the Netherlands …
Jan: He is on The Gym label. A truly interesting guy who produces pretty much anything from house and Italo disco all the way to crazy pop.
Music is …?
Daniel: Music can be anything. And music is definitely very important (chuckles all round).
Brandt Brauer Frick Miami is set for release on 11 March 2013 on !K7 Records.
Further information on the artists: www.brandtbrauerfrick.de
Brandt Brauer Frick – Broken Pieces feat. Jamie Lidell