[Interview] A Chat With Spencer Brown

Spencer Brown

I had the pleasure of interviewing Spencer Brown during the Anjunabeats tour stop in Montreal merely a few weeks since covering the one year anniversary of his ‘Illusion of Perfection’ album. The prodigious artist newly released a collaborative EP with Qrion titled ‘Sapporo’ which is currently up on Anjunadeep. Furthermore, you can find his music popping up on Mau5trap such as ‘Star Allies‘ with Raito.

Hi Spencer, hope you’re doing well, I’m a big fan of your most recent release, Sapporo. I’ve been listening to it non-stop since the release.

Awesome, Thank You!

I recently saw you tweet your many tour stops and the amount of countries you’re travelling to which seems very hectic. How would you describe your relationship with touring?

Well…I honestly love touring because I think I write so much music in the studio, like when I’m in hotels or at home wherever I am. I think it’s a great way to test out how the music is. To test out the mixdown, the vibe, like if people are dancing really hard on one section and they’re not dancing as hard on the other section, I need to know whether to go back to my hotel and tweak some of the sections. It’s a really nice feedback loop for production.

Also I’ve been DJing since I was like 12 years old or 11 years old, so, I just love DJing at the end of the day. I know some producers don’t really like to DJ but personally, I love DJing. It’s been a passion for me for 13 or 14 years, and I’m happy to do it for a living. I’m so grateful and it means the world to me that people actually come to hear my music and shows because…this is something that I started doing when I was 12 years old just for fun…to make a little extra cash or whatever. It was more passion based, but, you know it’s cool when a passion becomes a job.

Do You Think there’s a difference between having music on Anjuna or Mau5trap? If you do, why so?

I think from me, when I’m in the club or something for a longer set like a 3 hour, well, even shorter sets; but for a longer set I like to start a bit deeper like play a bit more chill stuff for the first bit, and move the energy up as the night goes on. So I like to release a bit of the darker and more slamming kind of techno stuff on Mau5trap, and then on Anjunabeats I like to release a little more the higher energy kind of more melodic stuff. Then on Anjunadeep I like to release some of the more…beginning of my set stuff. I don’t really like to stay boxed into a certain genre or style. I like to make all sorts of stuff so I can take people on a journey that has a proper beginning, middle, climax and end.

You tend to release a lot of music, so from all of your bodies of work, is there anything that you’re particularly attached to?

I would say my album and my next album. My last album called ‘Illusion of Perfection’, I put a lot of work into that. It took a couple years of work. It’s a mix album so it’s something to listen to from start to finish. It’s 58 minutes and some change. So it’s something like, you know, sit down, do some work, go on a drive, hike or walk maybe.

I have a second album coming soon, probably end of this year I would say, and it’s similar, it’s a mix album, so it’s a start to finish album as well and I’m very very proud of it so far. I’m just getting the final touches down and it’s a little bit more chill than my first album, but it’s mixed even better. So, like, It’s really hard to tell when one song is ending and one song is starting. It’s a fluid probably 55 minutes of music. I’m really really pumped about that.

Somewhat of like a holistic experience?

ya, I prefer to give the whole experience when I make my music because I think our generation has moved into a kind of radio-edit generation which is cool you know. I understand peoples’ attention spans are shorter, but for me, I like to connect to people through giving them the whole experience. Like, if you go to a super nice Michelin-star restaurant, you expect to have a really nice starter, maybe a salad, and then the main course and the side, and then a really nice desert. I try to do that with my music too. I like to give a full experience from start-to-finish with varying elements through.

What is an aspect of the creative process that you would hope fans knew or understood more?

I take my personal experiences and put it in the music, so whether its taking a beautiful hike somewhere and I’m very inspired by the hike, or sometimes a person inspires me. Like, I meet someone who I really vibe with and they inspire a track or you’re in a relationship and that person inspires some music, I want fans to know it’s my life being applied. Sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m happy, those are natural human emotions.

When the fan is consuming the music, it’s supposed to help them out of whatever they’re going through. Some people tell me they’re going through a really hard time in their life, so and so, this and that happened, and my music helped them out of that time. That’s the goal, it’s to help people as much as they can, or, to highlight the really positive experiences. I think it’s really important to bring the most positivity, and the most…the presence, like living in the moment, out of life. That’s what I try to make my music to.

Have you ever felt restricted by fan expectations of what your music should sound like? How do you conduct yourself based on that?

To be honest, fan restrictions only exist in my head is what I found because I feel in my head I’m like; oh, if I put out a hard techno track, or if I put out a really chilled deep track, people are gonna not like it as much. But you know what, at the end of the day, maybe a couple people don’t like it or whatever, but I make the music for myself and I make the music for my sets, and I think it shows where I’ll play it on the dance floor, and whatever I’m playing, people dance. It’s a wonderful thing and I’m very grateful for it. The expectation thing is all in my head. I can literally play anything.

Let me back-track a little…in my sets I really only play my music these days. Like even in a 3 hour set, it’s my music from start-to-finish, and I think my fans have really picked up on that, and I’m very appreciative for that. They’re so open minded and I’ll take this moment to give a shout-out to everybody who’s supported me along the way. I can play the deep stuff, I can play the techno stuff, I could play the trance stuff, I can play the progressive stuff, whatever it may be, people are very open minded and I want to give my full appreciation to everyone. It let’s my creativity really go free.

To end it, who would you like to collaborate with in the future, or is there a specific collaboration which you learned a lot from?

Well I work with…I think I’m very grateful to be in a position making all sorts of music. I work with all sorts of people. I work with people in the deep house space; like Ben Böhmer, we have a couple of tracks together, who I’m a huge fan of, and then he became my friend. We’re just working as friends. He stayed at my place in San Francisco for a bit, and then when I was in Berlin, we hung out for many days together. We made some cool music together. Then like, Raito in the techno scene he’s very really big in the techno scene right now, and I got to work with him on a couple tracks so that’s really cool. I got to work with Above & Beyond, obviously in the trance space and that’s really cool so, I think it’s cool and I feel so grateful to work with all sorts of artists in all sorts of spaces. Yotto and I are about to start a project together, he’s in the more deep space. I like making all sorts of styles. I don’t really like to restrict cause in my sets I like playing all sorts of styles.

Again, at the end of the day, I am so grateful to play all sorts of styles, make all sorts of styles, know people who make all sorts of styles. I learn a little bit from everyone and I; the thing about the collaborative process is, when I’m in the studio with someone, they show me some secrets that they know and I’m like; oh my god! That’s how you do so and so! Then I show them my secrets and I’m like; this is how I do this, and then some of my friends are like; oh my god, I never knew how to do that, thank you for telling me! So, I love sharing my secrets with my friends, and I love when my friends share their secrets with me cause I think it makes us both better. At the end of the day, I want my friends to succeed, and I want to succeed too. It’s great when we can all succeed.

Thank you for your time