I always cringe when someone tells me a DJ should 'play to what the crowd wants'. That's because most of them are insinuating that the DJ should rely on the Beatport Top 100 tracks, as if it is the New Testament and we are in service. There is however, an evolving community of Electronic music producers and DJ's (I refuse to use the term EDM) who support each other's creativity as sub-genres find their formation. For example, Moombahton and Trap.
One of these fellows, Nick Weiller, has seemed to have found his portion of this demographic of listeners under his progressing moniker, Bro Safari. I was able to catch the man, who in a strange way hides behind a a logo of buck teeth and oversized glasses, when he came to the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. So join us as we chat about running the trap, hunting ravers, and myspace.
INTO THE AM: So you were singing the praise of Jake Stanczak (Kill The Noise) and his new EP on your facebook this week. Now I know that you guys are very close friends and together were Ludachrist. I was wondering how that came to be as well as your personal beginnings into this world?
Bro Safari: As you may know, Ludachrist wasn't my first thing in electronic music since I actually began with the trio Evol Intent. And it was through Evol Intent that we met Jake, who was producing Drum and Bass under the name Ewun. And we worked with him for years and became really good friends. I don't know whether it was him or me who initiated it, but we started Ludachrist as a joke with a file that was a three minute mashup, and it was the beginning of our or first mixtape. We just thought it was funny and to go with it.
ITAM: Going off of that, what sparked the shift from Ludachrist to individual projects?
Bro Safari: Well, the thing is, Ludachrist died. Jake started focusing on Kill The Noise and Evol Intent was still going on for me. It was about that time that I had a kid. So I had a big financial burden since I had to take in mind taking care of the family. I thought about going back to school because I was getting pretty frustrated at the time and I wasn’t making enough money. But I had a moment where the artist within me pushed me to go all out and give it everything I have, and if I fail, I know I tried. So I re-learned all my programs and went off to do my solo project so that I was only accountable to myself.
ITAM: So as cliché as it is, where did you get the name Bro Safari?
Bro Safari: I have been asked this before and I’m just pissed that I don’t have a cool story behind it. I officially started Bro Safari 4 years ago, but didn’t do anything with it until a year and a half or two years ago. I don’t remember the joke that started it since it was so long ago. What I do remember is when I started a Myspace page a while back and read it and thought it was fucking hilarious. I know I just name-dropped…. but it’s all good
ITAM: If you could go on a big game safari hunt, what would you hunt?
Bro Safari: Well I don’t want to sound like an asshole and kill and elephant or something. I guess I would hunt ravers?
ITAM: So going from mash-ups and electro into more moombahton and trapstyle productions, what drew you to shift to two genres that are very interesting at the moment?
Bro Safari: Well the mash ups, as I said, were just fun and making the mixes was the most enjoyable part for us. I was listening to everything that was being put out. At the time, moombahton was just breaking the surface with guys like Munchi and Nadastrom getting recognition. And I genuinely liked it, which made it easy to produce for me. If I’m going to produce it, I have to enjoy it. I’m not going to produce some generic stuff just to pump it out. So for moombahton it clicked for me when I started setting my tempo to 110. The first song I ever made, ‘Da Worm’ that I released on Mad Decent, got a lot of support which was really encouraging for me.
As far as trap goes, it’s tricky to talk about. A lot of kids are talking about ‘run the trap!’ without really knowing what it is they are talking about. I grew up in Atlanta and, before I left the city, trap was already established. I just think people need to educate themselves on what trap is because in some ways it has become glorified even though, when you look at the core of trap, it has some qualities that shouldn’t exactly be celebrated. But nonetheless the music is awesome. I grew up listening to 808 drum sets and dudes like NWA and Eazy E. Working with 808’s, I was happy to do that.
ITAM: How would you explain trap now and how does it compare to the version you came up with? And where is it heading?
Bro Safari: Well nowadays the producer is simply dropping the MC is the way I would explain it. And I know some people have said that trap, in a way, is ‘dumbed down’ and this and that. But you know what? If something comes over the soundsystem and makes you move impulsively, then it’s good. That is part of the purpose of music.
ITAM: I’ve heard people talk like Moombahton and Trap are a phase, what are your thoughts? Are they here to stay?
Bro Safari: Moombahton is definitely here to stay. In fact, I think with the creative community of artists we have it will continue to evolve. All the artists that I have met are supportive of one another and very forward thinking.
For trap, it’s going to evolve but I also don’t want to turn into a ‘Dubstep 2.0’. And that’s nothing against dubstep because I love and produce dubstep. But I just want it to evolve in a tasteful way. I mean, so many elements are already being taken from dubstep, I just want to see us pull in elements and influences from different genres.
For me personally, it’s scary because I don’t want to align myself with any one specific genre or one scene. In the studio at home I’m working on everything: house, electro house, drum and bass, moombahton, trap… everything. I always feel compelled to convey that when talking about this for the sake of artists. So if you are listening to a Bro Safari track, you know that I enjoy where it is that the track is coming from.
ITAM: So my last question… the logo… does NOT look like you at all. Where did it come from?
Bro Safari: Well originated with my buddy Dan who has been changing his artist name around a ton, but his most recent being HVG2000. He’s worked with us at Evol Intent, Kill The Noise, 12th Planet, guys like that. And he had used the face on a t shirt he had made a long time ago.
When I asked him if he could help me in making some artwork for Bro Safari, he sent me a few things including a rhinoceros wearing a bear helmet and that face with a target on it. It wasn’t like an epiphany kind of thing, but when it came around to the second round of artwork, we decided to use the same face but in a sombrero or something.
So now it has become this character I can use. I actually even dressed up as the character for HARD Day of The Dead simply by buying a pair of buckteeth, some big glasses, and a safari hat. I’ve thought about continuing the costume and varying the wardrobe a bit to keep people involved. It’s something I want to develop.
ITAM: Would you ever get a Bro Safari tat?
Bro Safari: Ya definitely. I mean, even if I decided to stop doing Bro Safari tomorrow its been a part of my life I’m really proud of.
Once we were sharing some extraneous thoughts as well as some drinks after the interview, it seemed necesarry to go outside the green room and investigate what exactly was happening on stage. Red Bull's Play & Destroy competition was going down which to me seemed like a Gladiator event in the form of one college bro's iPod versus the other. With various themes of song, such as booty bouncing jams and 80's classics, each playlist gladiator had 30 seconds to convince the crowd that their iPod was superior to their opponent's.
Though this competition seemed to be a bit comical, it was actually quite fun and some of the songs really took me back to high school and middle school days; whether I wanted to go back or not. Once 'Mr. Bisque' was dubbed the sole highlander of the iPods, Bro Safari was finally able to turn on the cdj's discard the iPods and rock Paradise.
After watching the Play & Destroy competition, I was anxious as to how Bro Safari would be received by such a crowd that had decided the guy who played "California Girls" was the winner (Mr. Bisque, if you are reading this, I voted for you too). However, I was proven very wrong as right off the bat it was evident that Bro Safari had the crowd in complete command. The high energy crowd was only more animated by the heavy hitting set Nick was providing.
Some of the highlights opening with his orignal "That A$$", and later on "Suspects", as well as Jay Fay's remix of Bro Safari's original, "Uncrushable". Ending on his trap record "Scumbag" that samples Notorious B.I.G.'s classic "Suicidal Thoughts" seemed only fitting to what was surely one of the better gigs that has gone down in Paradise Rock Club in a long time. After giving our adieux's, I couldn't help myself in the taxi from playing some old school hip hop with 808 breaks.
For the love of God! Show this man some love!