With his debut album approaching rapidly, scheduled for release on the 18th of December, we had a little chat with Brainzaps about his background and what drove the inspiration behind 'ill'.
G: What brought about the making of this album and what were your main inspirations?
B: I think through lockdown a lot of us were just grinding away on our own projects, finding inspiration from all the small things we often overlook. For me, I came straight out of a pretty intense and isolated few years ready to spring back into the world and then lockdown hit. This album came about from the tracks that followed, with the goal of connecting people through music while also purging my own emotions. It's a collaborative album in my eyes.
G: Do you have a particularly method of creativity or is it all random?
B: Random, I think. Pure expression. I just can't make music over longer periods of time. I just lose connection to that piece and it's game over. I usually get an idea, write and record it within a matter of hours and then adjust it slightly over time but can never really hone in and perfect shit. It's just the way it goes for me I suppose. Pure expression of what i'm feeling that minute, hour, or day and I like the looser, unrefined production to hold some of that (without it sounding dreadful I guess).
G: Do you start at certain place when producing your music?
B: Yeah, usually i'll be singing a melody in gibberish throughout the day, and if it sticks I try and formulate a track around that. Usually get a beat going to dictate the pace then go from there, solving the puzzle of how I'm supposed to fit my melody in there. Also, I get an artist in mind and think fuck, how can I best represent the way I interpret them on my project?
G: Where are you from and has it had an impact on your art?
B: Born in Newport, brought up in the Cwm (AKA Cwm Gwendraeth). Used to be a beautiful rural wasteland, now it's just a concrete wasteland. Grew up around a lot of substances and mental instability. Definitely inspired my art. I've always seen myself as weird and odd, and not in a cool way; other people didn't have a problem with that observation anyway. In most of my music there's usually a reference to my own mental instability, past substance issues and hometown.
G: Have any artists in particular inspired you more than others?
B: Too many but a few things pop up; Trip Hop + Electronica. Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Portishead, Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, even more modern soulful artists like Green Tea Peng. Shoegaze artists, My Bloody Valentine, Bowery Electric. 90s NY Hip Hop, Mobb Deep, Company Flow. Modern Emo Hip Hop artists, Lil Peep, Wicca Phase etc.
I like to not just take influence from these different sources but try and combine them. The result is the album I suppose.
Lil Ugly Mane, probably my favorite artist out of them all. Just pure, uncensored and unaltered genius. Guys a fucking madman at the desk.
G: What’s next?
B: Got a follow-up EP in the works already. It's like the darker, more pissed off cousin to 'ill'. I'm super excited about it, it's nasty!
On ‘ill’, Brainzaps takes us on a psychedelic journey through freedom, expression, mental health & much more with added input from artists such as Zhubat, Po Griff, Squires Da Gem, China Mugs & Cai Lock. Combining elements of hip hop, electronic, funk & world music into the sonic landscape for this brilliant self produced debut album. The first single "Psychedelia Smith" is out now
Full Album - Out 18th December, on Winger Records.