Mixpak Interview Series: Brenmar

Brenmar mixes hip-hop and R&B with an addictive pop sensibility that appeals to the savvy house-heads and casual club-goers alike. His string of EPs and collaborations have been garnering some serious attention and now he’s bringing his forward-thinking ear and approach to house music to the Mixpak family. I caught up with Brenmar to talk about his upcoming release, his approach and opinion of mainstream music and what puts him in a creative state of mind.

So what takes you out to LA?

Living, working, trying to connect with others. Just switching up the vibez a lil’ bit. There’s a lot going on right now out here, it’s dope!

You’ve talked a little about the Chicago scene being hard to make it big in, or maybe “make it out of” is a better way to put it. Can you describe the electronic scene the way it was when you were still living here? Also, did you have much contact with other big Illinoisans like Kid Sister and Flosstradamus or The Cool Kids?

Yea Chicago is hard to get respect in, it’s not just Chicago though, the same could be said for most other cities. You don’t get respect until you leave and “make it” somewhere else. Sad that it’s like that in Chicago because there’s a lot of talent in the city that’s not appreciated like it should be. I know Kid Sis, Flosstradamus and the Cool Kids, they all homies, most of them have left the city too. I ain’t forgot about Chicago though, never will, it made me who I am. I rep Chicago all the time, everywhere I go.


Chief Boima – Decalator

Chief Boima is deeply interested in African music as enjoyed by the people who created it and the context of its development. He travels to various countries there frequently and has helped artists bring their sound to the rest of the world. But as a producer and DJ himself, he often helps introduce that music to Western audiences by blending such distant styles with those more familiar to crowds in the Bay Area or Brooklyn. Hence “Decalator,” a Coupe Decale version of one of the most remixed tracks of all time, Cajmere‘s “Coffee Pot (It’s Time for the Percolator)“. He takes those bubbling synths and Chi Town sensibilities and draws parallels to the highly syncopated shuffle of the Ivorian beats. Coupe Decale was originally created by Ivorians in Paris, and then spread to Cote D’Ivoire, and subsequently to most of Francophone Africa. Maybe we’ll call this one “African in Chicago” since it comes along the same week Boima dropped his new EP for Brooklyn-based Dutty Artz, African In New York. Show some love and pick that up too.

Chief Boima – “Decalator” [Exclusive!]

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DJ Earl – Troubles Away

DJ Earl can definitely flip a soul sample on a footwork track. His more recent work may be marked by a notable use of synth driven melodies, but he never gave up the dusty crate digs entirely. Here the Chi native chops up some Gil Scott-Heron work over intricate drums with bubbling kicks, shifting roboclaps, and a number of beat switch ups. Balancing that Earthly emotion with otherworldly tek moves. Towards the end you even get a glimpse of star scaling snynth work. He laced us with this unreleased download as an exclusive, but he also recently dropped an EP called the Deejay Earl EP. So cop that. (Artwork by Sofia Ajram.)

DJ Earl – Troubles Away [exclusive!]

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Jack To Juke Documentary

Sonali Aggarwal has made this great hour-long documentary on the different mutations of ghetto house in the past 25 years, from B-More to Detroit Techno. Find out where the word juke came from from the men that coined it…

[via Mad Decent]

Chandeliers on Giant System

Chandeliers is a hardware driven electronic band based out of Chicago. The group’s dark grooves and creeping synth lines have a Gary Numan feel but they come across sounding anything but retro. This session was recorded by Giant System, which is a project that was launched to document groups playing their own tunes in their own spaces. Chandeliers is part of a burgeoning, electronic scene in Chicago, along with LAZERCRYSTAL, Mahjongg, Mr. 666 and Gatekeeper, and part of a bigger trend towards more hardware based electronic music.

Dubbel Dutch in Chicago 12/29

Dubbel Dutch will be up in Chicago this Thursday, December 29th, for a brand new night named Signal. Check out the full details on the Facebook event page here.