After working in the pioneering electronic collab called Evol Intent with current EDM producers Treasure Fingers and Computer Club, Bro Safari struck out on his own, several years ago. Initially guided by the siren song of moombahton, Bro Safari's productions draw from many influences such as his affinity for drum and bass. We caught up with the producer prior to his show in St. Louis Friday night to talk about how he got to this point, a possible book career and the Austin food truck scene.
Evan Jones: After taking a break from Evol Intent, what inspired the Bro Safari moniker and project?
Bro Safari: With Evol Intent, I wouldn't say we took a break. Around that time period, around 2008-2009, we all just got a bit burnt out for a lot of different reasons. We didn't make a decision to take a break. Around that time, I just felt like doing some solo projects. I've always been in collaborative groups and wanted to try my hand at doing some stuff by myself. I heard moombahton, which kinda started the Bro Safari thing. I heard some moombahton and felt like it was a new genre that I was into. I like the tempo. I started making moombahton songs and needed a moniker for it. I had the Bro Safari name just laying around and had started it years before for no real purpose. If I ever did any solo material, I'd use that name. So I just kinda resurrected it. There's no real meaning behind Bro Safari, which people have asked me before. I don't even remember how I came up with the name, to be honest. Probably around 2010 is when I really kickstarted the project.
You just released an album with UFO called "Animal." How did that project come about?
I've known UFO for a long time, when I first started playing drum and bass in the late 90's. He was already established in the US as a pioneer of drum and bass. I've always had respect for his music. We just lost touch for years and years. Around the time I started making moombahton, we caught up and did an EP together of fresh moombahton stuff. The EP was one of my first releases as Bro Safari. We stayed in touch and started passing project files back and forth online and decided instead of releasing songs here and there like we had been doing, we'd go all in and make an album. We pretty much did the entire thing online, passing files back and forth. Two different times he flew out to Austin and we worked on it together to finalize mixes. I've known the guy for a long time, and we've always respected each other's work. We just work really well together. We each know our place. We know our strengths and weaknesses. There's no real ego involved in it. He does his thing, I do mine and if one of us doesn't like something, the other person is fine striking it from the song. It's a good genuine collaborative effort.
Moombahton has kind of taken a back seat to the trap bass style music that's been more prevalent recently. Where's moombahton headed as a genre?
On the album that UFO and I just did, we did three or four moombahton songs on there. We tried to push it in a different direction, bringing in elements from genres that haven't previously been infused with moombahton, things like drum and bass. Pulling from our older influences and implementing them into new songs. Trying to take the sound of moombahton, not away from its roots, but guiding it in a new direction. Altering drum patterns so it wasn't the typical moombahton drum pattern. Doing certain songs double time so it appears faster.
I think moombahton has a lot of room to grow in general. It's my second favorite genre besides drum and bass. Trap music came along and it blew up. I can see how people can say moombahton took a backseat to the current styles out there. At the same time, a lot of people even recently have taken the trap style and slowed it down to moombahton tempo and calling it twerk. It's roughly the same BPM, around 100-110. It's strange. From where I'm standing, everything is starting to blend together. All these DJ's are playing multi-genre sets, which is awesome because I think that's how it should be. I think it's good that people are taking risks and making new things as opposed to just sticking to the formula. Between moombahton and trap and everything, it's all starting to evolve quickly. I'm excited about where it's going.
On your Twitter feed, you sometimes drop some very introspective thoughts on a music producer's thought process. How do rants come about? Have you ever considered writing a book?
When I go on these little rants from time to time...first off, I've tried to pull back on doing those. I felt like they came across as negative and I don't wanna push that persona on people. A lot of it stems from reading the internet, reading other people's Twitter and Facebook accounts. I feel a lot of people who often complain or get down about their status about where they are. Or they get down on themselves for not being more successful than they are. That usually is what triggers me to think about the steps I took to get to where I am now. It always comes down to doing the work. A lot of people just want instant gratification.
When I started taking Bro Safari seriously, you mentioned it earlier...I was at a point where I wanted to quit and I felt like I owed it to myself to give it one more shot. I looked at my peers around me who were really successful at the time, people like Kill the Noise, Feed Me, 12th Planet...these are all people who I had been really close friends with before they took off. I've watched them blow up and watch their trajectory just continue to go. I took a lot from it, and it's all about doing the work and staying positive and being patient and not expecting people to hand you opportunities. My rants are based around that, trying to remind people that you can't just think of something and get it immediately. You really have to give it your all.
As far as writing a book, funny enough...I've actually talked about that with my fiance and my parents have tried to give me a shot. I've thought about it. I think it'd be fun but I have no schooling in the process of writing a book. I wouldn't even know where to start, except writing stuff down. And I feel like that's not the most efficient way to put a book together. But who knows, maybe.
You live in Austin, and they're known for their food truck scene down there. The city of St. Louis has had the food truck scene come up in the last few years, but still occasionally has some issues with legalities. As someone who lives in Austin, what is the case for the food trucks?
Convenience, I think. I used to live a lot closer to downtown Austin last year, and we ate at the food trucks constantly. Having the option for variety is a main cause for trying them out. You feel like you're supporting a local business. You are getting, most likely, fresh produce, fresh whatever they're serving, locally sourced ingredients. And your'e getting food from someone who, in my opinion, has a vision and a dream. It's not easy to start up a food truck and start selling food. It's people, probably independent chefs who are out of work and really want to push their unique style of cooking. It's a cool concept.
Unfortunately where I live now, there aren't quite as many so I don't go to them quite as often. It's a great thing with supporting your local community.
Friday, June 7, 8 p.m. Dirtyphonics with Bro Safari, Filibusta, Basscrooks, Jaizen, Hendrix vs Bommer, Jon Dent, Brothers in Arms and Nick Costa @ 2720 Cherokee (Tickets: $30) (18+)