A Sit Down With DJ Bro Safari
Over the years, technology has transitioned from samplers to multiple instances of digital judder, but Weillers appetite for the sonic fringes is no less voracious. His pitch-bent sound design has established him as a forward-thinking producer of cathartic, harmonics-enriched bangers, while his dynamic sets have made him a North American mainstage mainstay.
If I could say one thing, I would say dont look at the status quo and think that thats what you need to be".
Can you tell me a little bit about your musical background before you started as Bro Safari?
I started DJing and producing around 1998 or 1999 and I was in a group called Evol Intent and we made drum n bass with two other guys and Im still a part of that group actually. Thats what I mainly did leading up to launching Bro Safari. Before that, growing up, I mainly played in bands. I played guitar, bass guitar, and drums growing up.
How do you balance all of these projects and not get stuck with a bunch of half-finished ideas?
I just try to keep things moving. I cant say that Im afraid of a song not getting finished; I have thousands of unfinished songs on my various hard drives from over the years. Sometimes, you have to scratch away the dirt on the surface to find something valuable. If that means that I have to make 173 terrible track ideas just to make one that turns into an actual song, then thats fine with me. I know other producers that absolutely must finish everything they start, and I admire that. For me, that just doesnt work. I am constantly changing my workflow, and its always a party for me in the studio. As far as balancing everything? WORK HARD. Simple answer.
Do you have any standout moments?
Theres always those shows that will really surprise you. Last weekend we were in Grand Rapids, up in Michigan, and none of us really knew what to expect having never played there before. Maybe because its up near where Electric Forest is and theres just a lot of people into that music out there, but it was just a completely packed house and a really great show with excellent promoters. Just everything across the line was awesome at that show.
When producing, do you spend much time considering live sets and crowds?
I spent a lot of time thinking about the crowd too much, to the point I felt I lost sight of what I was doing for a while: Was I trying to please myself, my fans, my peers, or just trying to become a better producer? Now that I had the realization Ive put that aside and made very intentional tones and sounds to inject in my songs.
What do you find hard about collaborating with other people?
Not doing it in the same room is always weird. I think when youre in the room with somebody, you have a good idea and you can bounce it off of them a lot quicker. Right now, Party Favor and I are trying to get a collab going, but we havent quite hit it yet because were all set on an idea and hes like, yea thats cool, but then without being in the same room together, its just kind of hard to brainstorm around the original concept. So its basically up to one of us to kick it all off and then we can go from there. Thats probably the hardest part.
Do you think it`s different perfoming for a solely colledge-based crowd?
For a college-based crowd, its definitely different. Everyone is there to party, thats just the nature. On top of that, the venue is typically smaller, which I love. I love to perform in 200-300 [person] capped rooms. Its fun because its more like a house party. Its also refreshing coming off of festivals. Its a completely different experience because of the massive crowds. Its difficult to connect because you cant see if everyone is into [the show] because its intimidatingly large. I definitely like smaller shows and college towns.
You were talking about Evol Intent How do you keep up with that project and simultaneously maintain your very busy solo career?
The best way to do it is to not play the shows. I dont really play the gigs, but I work on the music because drum n bass is just something I cant stop working on.
What tracks and artists are the current weapons of choice?
Id say Dion Timmer is a sick producer, and we have a collaboration on my EP. His production reflects his sensibility of catchy, off-kilter, heavy, dubstep-trap hybrids. Barely Alive is another set of versatile producers with technical abilities that are amazing. And another Id shout out is Tisokihe has an interesting vibe and is a technically gifted producer.
Do you see the bubble of electronic music bursting or do you see it continuing to rise?
I honestly have no idea. Its a movement in its own and it seems to have already lasted longer than most fads in the music industry going back to the 90s with grunge which as an example was huge for a time but than slowly petered off. Now you have artists like Skrillex who have been relevant for 5-6 years and have been making it happen for themselves consistently staying as big as he was. Obviously, if the music stays stagnant, the genre is going to die. However, like we were just talking about, people are really pushing the boundaries right now and whether the fans will follow and get a little more weird with us remains to be seen at the moment.
Any advice for up-and-coming producers?
Dont look at your favorite artist and say, I want to be them, and then follow their path and think thats gonna get you there. The only thing thats going to bring you success as a producer is sticking to your guns and making the songs you want to make If you start thinking, Its about branding, its about this, its about my merch, its about how I interact on social media, Youre fucked. You want to make sure that youre always making the music that you want to make and playing the DJ sets you want to play, or else whats the point? Are you just doing it to be popular? My point is to assess where youre at and think about what you want. Do you want to be a producer who has longevity? Do you want to be a DJ whos popular? You know what I mean? Because now being a producer means being a producer/DJ if you really want to make it big. One thing that I can say for sure is that, if you dont keep it up and if you dont keep putting out original music that youre really proud of, its gonna go away, it will disappear, and you wont have anything left. Its important to be humble, be good to the people who book you to play shows, who want to work with you Just be good to everyone around you, stick to your guns, and focus on making good music.
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