A Sit Down With DJ Brillz

14:11 Jan/26/2018

In just a few years, Brillz has seen two albums break the top 10 on iTunes’ Dance Chart, issued releases on the likes of OWSLA, Mad Decent, and Slow Roast, and unleashed madhouse sets upon some of the biggest festivals nationwide—including this year’s Ultra Music Festival which featured a Big Sean X Bowie mashup. Collaborations with the likes of Diploand airtime on BBC’s Radio 1Xtra have also contributed to Brillz’s reputation for prolific trap-flavored bass productions. We caught the man himself during the Smog vs Firepower showcase at MEKKA Miami just before a grimy, trap set that put him on the decks with fellow Twonk Teammembers and a special cameo from Snails.


"I don’t know what the solution is. The solution is to tell the homies ‘watch your homies’ backs."


You produce a wide variety of Bass music. Do you have a favourite?
I don’t really separate it like that. I just like making music, but I keep myself excited by switching it up a lot. All of 2012 trap was really my sh*t, but I’ve got all of January blocked off, so I’m gonna get in the studio–no rules, no agenda. I’m just gonna go in, clean slate, and it’s hard for me to predict what I’m going to make, so I just start doin’ it. It’s kinda like a ball of clay, and I just start mushing it together, and I’m all “oh, it looks like something now.” That’s what I mean, I guess.

What do you usually incorporate that you want to be remembered by?

I incorporate more of a live performance atmosphere. Super twonked out crazy vibes. There are never rehearsals. It’s more memorable and adds extra secret sauce to a DJ set. Gotta have secret sauce.

Where do you find music? You sample a lot of diverse tracks?

So, Snails and I did the “Crazy” bootleg, which is a Lil Boosie song. We just did that, because we aren’t going to sell it. We just wanted to do it and play it in our sets and give it out for free. If they contacted us and were like “You need to take that down,” we would and we’d just play it out live. But we’re kind of in different worlds, so we’re off their radar and we aren’t sitting here making bank of it. I don’t really sample other people’s music. I create everything myself. I create all my sounds and if I do use a sample, it’s something I’m allowed to sample through creative commons.

You have spread the TWONK brand far and wide within the past 2 years, playing over 150 shows, including sets at Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo, EDC Vegas, EDC Orlando, and Nocturnal Wonderland. What was your favorite club show and what was your favorite festival set that you performed and why?

EDC Vegas was epic last year, the production was a full on Sci-Fi film. We flew in on a helicopter. Def one of the biggest crowds I ever got to play for. As far as clubs go, I met Jake, Kill The Noise, at Webster Hall in ’09 and he was one of the biggest inspirations for me, so when we sold out Webster Hall on this tour, I was able to really feel the journey and remember when the dream was born.

You have a wide background of music history, where do you draw the influence of electronic dance music?

I draw a lot of influence from emotions. When I play a show, or I'm at a show, and a certain song will come on - whether I'm playing in the audience ... "and I kind of just try to capture that feeling in that moment. So, when I'm in the studio, I'm not necessarily like going, "I'm really into this kind of music, I wanna make this kind of song ..." just ask myself is it rich in emotion? If I wanna make something that's hype, how do I feel when I'm making it? And then I'll listen to more hype shit and I'm like, "is that more hype than what I'm doing or is not this hype enough?" or genre just happen in the moment.

You were in the dance industry at some point, apart of a dance group.

I came up as a raver on the East Coast and I was heavily influenced by the dance part of the culture. And also being a hip-hop kid, I was very influenced by breakdancing and popping. I was on a street dance team and we traveled all up and down the East Coast and we’d show up to events. You know, it was different back then. There was a lot more hip-hop culture in the dance element of raves. There would be like circles and a lot of b-boys. I need to do something to bring that back because I miss that.

What's it like working with Craze and Kill The Noise?

Both of those guys are champions, you know? That championship mentality that’s like, “I’m going to fucking kill it, this shit is mine, this is a home run, I will WIN” but there’s no arrogance to it. It’s just passion. It’s a competitive passion, it’s the failure is not an option attitude. That is an inspiring thing to be around. There’s a fine line between ego and confidence. Some successful people blur that line and come off an egomaniac pricks, and you wonder if that’s how you have to be sometimes to make it to the top? I look at Craze, Kill The Noise, and guys like Bro Safari and Skrillex for the answer to that. Ultimately I think it comes down to an obsession and a goal, and I think you can still be humble and down to earth and still project greatness.

Who is your best friend?

Clancy. He’s not a DJ but I love him and am glad to see him. He’s my number one. You know what, I’d probably be doing something in music, but I wouldn’t be sitting in this specific spot right now without this guy right here. It’s the honest truth. The real story is that before I ever DJ-ed a day in my life, this guy called me up and said come down to the agency because I want to do something with you. I’d still never played and they believed in me.

If you could do a collab with any artist who would it be?

Let’s see… I was thinking about this the other day, Missy Elliot, Flava Flav, Baauer, Skrillex.

What`s your favourite quality in a talented, up-and-coming producer?
The emotional quality, behind the noises, behind the [stage] production, you know? like, the heart, the soul. It’s like, yeah make some crazy music, but I don’t want to just hear it with my ears. I want to feel it inside. The idea behind all the noises and all the sounds–that’s what I look for.

What’s the best thing about living the life on the road?

Endless jokes. We make fun of each other constantly. It feels like a family now. Were having a blast filming these tour videos.



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