Already spinning the heads of purists Anton Zap, Delano Smith and Giles Smith, Brawther is one of the most forthright talents to emerge onto the French electronic scene in recent times. Taking his cues from the heads that have stayed true to the original ideas of house – from Larry Heard to Nottingham’s DIY collective – the principles of forward thinking yet timeless dance floor adventures run deep in him.
A true devotee to the endless possibilities of dance floor music and looking to put his own stamp on the genre, the young Parisian can also call upon his Izmo alias to expand his impact. Strongly influenced by the sound of Warp and ambient electronica emerging from Germany & England, the Frenchman’s first productions began emerging at age 15. Nearly a decade later he is an accomplished DJ and producer after absorbing as much of the true garage and deep house from the UK, Chicago, Detroit and New Jersey as well as his native France.
How are you? How has the year been so far?
I am doing fine thank you! 2021 has been quite the emotional rollercoaster, mainly due to adjusting our lives to the various lockdowns and having my kids on and off school at home has been challenging. It’s also been very fulfilling and now that some gigs have started to pop up again, things are looking a bit more bright!
Was there a time were you felt really down during covid? Was music therapeutic for you during this time or were you not in the mood to hit the studio?
Yeah there were definitely some lows, especially when schools got shut down and we were in locked up with my young kids, it’s a huge challenge. I also didn’t benefit from any government help here in Portugal so it’s been an uphill battle since Covid started really. It took me a few months before i could go back to the studio but after that i’ve just been pretty much non stop! Although i haven’t bought records for so long, i’m still hunting for those gems regularly and my wish list is ever increasing. I’ hope to be able to get back into it as soon as possible 🙂
Have you been back in the club yet? How has it been?
I actually had my first weekend of gig at the beginning of September and also caught Covid there, which is a real tragedy. You live secluded for months and can’t perform while most people have been back at their regular jobs very quickly, and the first weekend i get to play i catch it! The gigs themselves were great, i played as Dungeon meat with my partner Tristan Da Cunha who i hadn’t seen since 0 B.C. (before covid!). It felt great to be free and enjoy moments i had forgotten existed if i;m honest. A moment of freedom before 8 days of heavy fever,,! Luckily for me life goes on! I also just returned from ADE where i played a solo gig at Into the Woods festival and then the legendary Slapfunk Marathon on the Monday as Dungeon Meat, it was seriously good!! The energy is always incredible and i got to hear amazing music all day and i can’t wait to get back writing more music now!
I wanted to ask about your Patreon project. Tell us about what makes it special, why you set it up etc?
I discovered Patreon during the first lockdown in march 2020 and i started researching it thoroughly until i launched it in June 2020. At first it was more meant for me to share my process, podcasts and basically monetise it. I was never really sharing anything on social media and the Patreon platform seemed like the right place for me to start doing that. But as the amount of Patrons (members) has grown, it started turning into a community and i gradually started to shift my focus towards content that caters to the community and involves them. I have been running productions compeittions, created the Interweaved label to sign music from members, host regular webinar with some industry friends like Chez Damier to inspire the community and involve them furthermore. It’s the BEST thing that happened to me out of the drama of Covid, i’m so grateful for the members and their support, i can be an artist without having to only rely on dj gigs, it’s the future.
Do you think other artists have been slow to being proactive to getting over the pandemic?
I think that a lot of my dj friends in France, UK, Germany, Netherlands etc, basically wealthy European countries, have been on the drip, with money injected to keep them afloat. For some it’s been more of a waiting game but not so much a financial struggle. I think that if you aren’t feeling the struggle then it’s not as urgent and important. On one hand i wish i had the financial support, but really i am more grateful for the life lesson and becoming resourceful, digging deep and finding more meaning in my life and how i can use my skills beyond playing records in clubs. Who knows how long Covid will last, all i know is that there is a lot of talented people who could be putting their voices and skills to good use.
You’re also renowned for not exactly embracing social media. Has the Patreon scheme made you step out of your shell in this regard? Or is this something else entirely do you think?
Before Covid i was thinking of deleting my social media accounts, i hated my voice and looks and would never make selfies or videos. But i soon realised that all my career had been possible thanks to social media networking all the way to starting a myspace page in the mid 00’s. There are old friends and fans that i just could not reach if it wasn’t for social media. So i decided to flip the script and start using it and owning my own space regardless of what people thought. In the end it was an insecurity thing, the fear of being judged, Haters don’t pay my bills, so i don’t care about the outside judgment, If you don’t change what you do, you see the same results. I had to challenge myself and do what was necessary to connect with an audience i had somehow abandoned. I still don’t love what Social media is doing to our society, but in terms of Artist promotion and networking, it’s powerful.
Can you tell us about other artists who are doing Bandcamp, Patreon etc well? What do you think makes there profiles so enticing? And are you conscious that you need to offer people something different to stand out in a crowded marketplace?
Desert Sound Colony had a Patreon and then basically moved it to his own website, he is always doing tutorials and sharing techniques. He is a very talented producer and basically sharing his entire work process. There are a lot of producers who are looking for more than youtube tutorials and learning directly form their favourite artists. I don’t feel like there’s any competition or a crowded marketplace as such. It’s more about connecting with our fans and our community, or even creating new ones. I didn’t think i could have had my own community until i created the space for people to come. It’s great to see Bandcamp offer subscriptions too. I think they could do great but it’s not as flexible and customisable as a Patreon for example. Overall i think we are only at the beginning of the era of direct artist to fan relationship. i really like this model.
We’re really honoured to have you on our podcast series. Can you tell us a bit about the mix that you have delivered for us?
Thank you for having me! It was recorded on a standard setup of 2x technics turntables and a vestax pmc 250 mix. I wanted it to comprise a mix of some favourite cuts and various styles of house music, from more minimal jams, deeper and hypnotic tracks all the way to broken beat. That’s just how the programming evolved as i was piecing it together. I like to cross over styles when it’s coherent, for me they are like brothers and cousins of each other, i just hear house music in all of these.
With gigs now back in most countries, I wanted to ask if you felt this has changed the scene for the better? And what else would you like changed?
Well i don’t feel like anything has changed right now, the same “ticket selling DJs” are still the norm in most clubs. What i would like to see is more culture, more community and less bookings based on how many tickets a dj can help sell. The role of the dj is to play and entertain the crowd and not to promote the event and help sell tickets. That’s the job of the promoters. We need more venues and events that don’t need a big booking, more crews that can play really good music and nurture their audience. Then only after book an out of town / country DJ that will fit with your party and what you have created.The dj brings the music, but who brings the community and keeps our culture blooming?
You’ve worked with some of house music’s most respected names, from Jeremy Underground to Chez Damier, to labels like Sushitech, Secretsundaze and more. Do you make goals for yourself as a musician? How would you like to see the next ten years pan out, for example?
I had never made goals until a year or two ago (mostly went went down the drain with Covid lol). I never believed i would turn my hobby into a profession, so i didn’t have specific goals to be honest. Now i have goals mainly to keep myself driven and creative as well as productive. I definitely have goals in terms of improving my skills too. In terms of a 10 years plan, i would like to still be relevant as a performing artist, DJ and Live, as well as having grown as a community leader and teacher, still dedicated to the culture of underground dance music.
We read that you were “dipping your toe into podcasting” which sounds exciting to us. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes I actually started a podcast series entitled “A Deeper Network” ( https://soundcloud.com/brawther/sets/a-deeper-network-podcast ) where i invite artists from my musical network in a one hour interview format. It’s been pretty well received but I lost my momentum and been needing to get back to it. I feel like podcasting, like blogging before, is a way to take control of the narrative of our culture rather than leaving it to journalists in bigger publications which often doesn’t represents us well enough. I want to be able to go a bit deeper than a traditional interview and the fact that i’m friends with my guests gives the interview a different, more sincere tone.
Finally, can you tell us about a few pieces of music or literature which you have taken solace in over the past while?
I’m a huge fan of Lonnie Listbon Smith and i’ve discovered a little known new version of “Garden Of Peace” which was sampled by Jay-z in his Dead Presidents anthem. In this video you can hear the original tune played by Lonnie himself, followed by the new version, which is more uplifting and “cosmic” as he likes to describe it. The new version starts at 1min 24. Enjoy!
Listen to Brawther’s mix recorded exclusively for us on our channels.