The 340th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer GBrown.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
– I’m 41 years old and currently reside in Hammond, Louisiana. It’s located about 50 miles north of New Orleans La. I’ve been producing for 19 years and DJing professionally for about 25 years.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
– My musical roots mainly come from 80’s and 90’s underground dance music. My first memories of electronic music is Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder “I feel love”, Giorgio Moroder “Midnight Express”, Kraftwerk and Nucleus .
Producing came later in life but I knew that I wanted to DJ for a career when I was 12 years old. I started DJing playing tapes with my parents stereo system. When I was 13 years old a childhood friend “Miles Golden” was a DJ and started bringing mix-tapes to my school. During that time “The Hackley Boyz”, longtime friend Jeff Bridevaux and Clay Magee were also Djs in my area. They played a lot of underground dance records at our local teen club. It was the era when I first started hearing a lot of music like “New York, New York” by Microchip League, Front 242 and basically all 80’s club music. I learned a thing or two and realized that this was the future of what I wanted to pursue. I had an ear and vibe for the best of it. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a DJ.
When I was 16 years old I met my friend Doni Lovetro. We became friends and decided to start DJing together. We started buying records and professional equipment. We practiced as much as possible and accepted any and all gigs. I earned a job DJing at a teen club playing 80’s 90’s club/dance music. By the time I turned 17 years old everything started to change. I started going to the record stores in New Olreans, Louisiana and that’s where I met names like Albert Rowan – DJ Biz, Mike Gibbs – DJ Spice and others in the production scene.
At 17 years old I somehow entered the clubs and ended up in the DJ booths where I felt at home. During this time, I met friend Thomas Beaslie aka DJ Tobo, of Palladium/Aliens/The Riviera/Bayou Mamas, New Orleans. He taught me many things that I needed to know to become a better DJ. I felt honored to DJ next to him. I learned what was happening in the late night club scene in New Orleans, La.
On my 18th birthday my friend DJ Chris Latte and bar manager Jason Kararick came to my house to wish me a Happy Birthday and offered me a DJ residency at The Library in Hammond, La. I was honored to accept and excited!
The Library was a hotspot, college bar in the area. That’s when I finally showcased my craft and stepped into the real life as a professional DJ.
As I was building my name in the scene I met friend Joseph Sousa aka DJ Dr. Souss. He was playing the hottest clubs in Louisiana and many other areas. I was amazed by his style and music selection. He was considered by far the leading DJ of New Olreans at the time.
At 19 my DJ life changed forever when I met friend John Corhan aka DJ2C. DJ2C was the resident DJ at The Chronic. The Chronic was Fri and Sat nights at the legendary Escapades nightclub. It was John and the rest of the Liquid Sound and light DJ crew, friends Mike Gibbs aka Dj Spice aka Mike Spice and Timothy Michael aka DJ Techno Tim.
I went to theThe Chronic one night and had the best time hanging with DJ2C. At the end of the night we drove down the street to hear DJ Souss rock the house. Before we made it out of the car DJ2C asked who made this tape? I told him I did. He ask.. Do you want to spin we me at the Chronic? I said yes and then I was officially part of what I always wanted. I had to prove myself so I did. After a great run of unforgettable nights DJ2C decided to retire from DJing and I became the headlining resident at Escapades night club “New Orleans/Metairie,La.” It was another era in my life that proved to me that this is what I was born to do.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self-taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
– It was extremely difficult. I bought a Ensonic ASR 10 and I had no idea how to use it. The manual was complicated but I eventually learned how to navigate and work my way around the board. I had no other studio gear so that was all I used in the beginning.
I taught myself for months and made phone calls daily to Michael Scott Baldenhofer aka DJ Demonixx “Black Magic records, New Orleans,La.” He was always willing to help and he helped me with any questions that I had about production.
In 2004 I earned an internship position at Festival Recording Studios owned by the late Rick Nasier, Chief Engineer “R.I.P.”. Soon after, I was doing hands on training with the man himself and the brilliant mind of Scott Campbell “Engineer, Producer, Musician”.
For 3 or 4 nights a week I would sit in on sessions. I studied as much as possible to sharpen my production skills. I took note of Scott’s every move in the studio. It helped me a lot. Months later I was producing more and more tracks. Not only was I producing but I was using my engineering skills as well.
I took advice from many but the one that always stuck with me as a producer was from Chris Fisher from The Underground Sound, San Antonio, Tx. in 1999. I was trying to figure out what I should write and he told me to always write what you feel. The best advice I ever got, hands down. Also that year, Chris Fortier of Fade Records told me that it doesn’t matter how old a song is, what matters is how good it is. Great advice! I always stayed focused on the brand new releases and would sometimes forget about some of the great songs that I was playing months or years before until then.As a DJ/producer it’s important to create your own style and write what you believe in.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
– It’s never the same for me. What can be difficult in one song can be very easy in another. However, writing seems to be harder for me than a mix down. At one time it was the other way around. Engineering/mixing a song is routine knowledge. I always incorporate this aspect while I’m working on a new track. I really believe it makes the final mix sound amazing. A proper mix down is key, especially for dance music.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
– Most of my days consist of a drive to New Orleans, then a walk to the club where I play for 8 to 9 hours. If I’m not playing at the club, I’m usually in my studio. That’s my job. When I’m not working on music I enjoy spending time at home with family. I’m way overdue with traveling and seeing the world. I think its time.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favorite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
– There’s not many genres I don’t listen to one way or the other now days. When I started producing I didn’t want to hear anything that wasn’t the style that I wanted to write but that changed over time. Outside of electronic music some of my favorite artist are Robert Plant, Natalie Merchant, Eddie Vedder and Rob Thomas. There’s many more.. So many talented artists out there… And yes, any song well recorded I separate every detail that my ears hear and it helps me with my own tracks.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
– The first would prob be Michael Jackson, Thriller on 8 track. And the last would be a Vinyl purchase of progressive house..
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
– By the time I was 23 years old I had become leading DJ of the New Orleans. nightclub scene. I was headlining Escapades nightclub. One night I was introduced to a young DJ Indieo. I think it was Indieo’s first year in college. We became friends almost overnight. After hearing him mix his music I became his mentor. Months later DJ Indieo became my opening act. After a few years Indieo became leading DJ of New Orleans, La. He later moved to Los Angeles Ca. and eventually became leading DJ of L.A. He’s been DJing and producing In L.A. for many years now under his birth name Trent Cantrelle.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
– I don’t keep up with the tons of talent that is out there like I use to. And for most I really don’t know their career status. Therefore I don’t know who gets overlooked. However, I would always like to see huge success from DJ Who, Noel Sanger, Brad Smith, Chris Domingo and Michael Minjares. They have always produced great tracks and deserve tons of recognition for their work.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
– Definitely John Digweed, Hot Since 82, Maceo Plex, Pete Oak and too many others to list for sure but for the last few years most of my inspiration has come from learning things I never knew were possible. Learning about myself and everyone else. If you listen to some of my current music it’s pretty obvious. It’s important to believe in yourself first. If you do this, your music becomes better and better.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
– Don’t try to write like anyone else. Learn tricks of the trade but write what you feel. Learn as much as possible about frequency and sound. Learn everything about your DAW. The capabilities will become endless. Sooner or later your own sound/style will come together.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
– My last track would be my own – THIS IS WHO WE ARE.
I would like to say thanks to you for this opportunity. I want people to know where the real GBrown comes from. I also want to thank my family, friends and fans that have supported me throughout my life and career. I really appreciate it.
‘Open’ EP is out now on Suffused Music, you can purchase the release: here