Brenmar’s music fits perfectly in that middle ground between hip-hop, R’n'B, contemporary UK club fare and faster strains of Chicago house music that the likes of Ikonika and Girl Unit pursue. A former member of the group These Are Powers, he’s built a reputation beyond the States in the last couple of years on the strength of his remixes of Aaliyah, Teengirl Fantasy and more, and is poised to kick down the door with his original productions in 2011.
Hey Brenmar, introduce yourself.
“What up, I produce and DJ under the name Brenmar. My young brother gave me the name when he was 2 years old due to a speech impediment. I make clubs shake.”
What’s your story to date? You’re originally from Chicago, right?
“Born and raised in Chicago, lived there till I was 21 then I moved to NYC. Been here now for about three years.”
Were you making music back then? And if so, what kind of stuff was it?
“I’ve been playing with samplers since I was 15. I hustled hard to buy an MPC 2000XL. From 15 to 17 I made weird hip-hop beats sampling off of shitty dollar store records and found sounds. I started getting into ‘live’ music around 18. Sampling really opened me up to other types of music besides hip-hop and ghetto house which is pretty much all I heard in my neighborhood. I got into IDM, rock, noise, ambient, and jazz. The music I made from 18-21 was all over the place… I didn’t really have any direction, I did whatever I wanted. Pop one moment, straight up free jazz noise the next. It was wonderful creatively but it was very hard to define myself and to establish a solid fanbase.”
When did you relocate to New York? Was that when you started taking music more seriously?
“I’ve been taking music seriously since I started, this is all I do every day. No joke, I’m still chasing the same dreams I had when I was a kid in high school.
“I originally moved to NYC because I joined the band These Are Powers. I was in the band for about 3 years.”
There seems to be kind of a parallel scene growing in the US to what we have in the UK right now – artists like you, Nzugunguzu, Dubbel Dutch. Obviously Kingdom’s been a link between NY and the UK for a while now. Is that fair?
“Yeah, they’re all friends and I love the music they’re making. It’s an exciting time right now because both the US and the UK are borrowing from each other a lot. We all know the UK has a very progressive dance scene but for the first time in a while the US is holding it down too.”
What’s in the pipeline for you this year?
“My next official release will be a two track 12″ for Ikonika and Optimum’s label Hum & Buzz. A music video for my last single ‘Taking It Down’ is in the works, that’ll be out in Feb. Working on a collab EP with Nguzunguzu that’ll be out sooner rather than later, and I’m also working on a single for Sinden’s Grizzly label, it’ll be released late Spring/early Summer. Also planning an NYC edition of So Bones, finding the right space at the moment, got a couple friends helping out, sure we’ll find something soon. Then a lot of touring here in the US and abroad – fingers crossed. I’m also in talks with producing for some other artists, more within the hip-hop and RnB vein.”
1. Rihanna – What’s My Name (Brenmar Club Mix)
2. Brenmar – Tasting
3. Brenmar – Be The One
4. Brenmar – Ball The Fuck Out
5. Brenmar – Done (Don’t Luv Me No More)