With releases on staple electronic labels including OWSLA and Mad Decent, as well as two Top 10 albums on the iTunes dance charts—all within the span of a year—Brillz can rightfully lay claim to the title of Rookie of the Year in the bass music game. He continues to turn heads with his trapped-out sound, fusing hip-hop and EDM into a hell of a good time.
We caught up with the TWONK master himself in advance of his July 29th show in Brooklyn, where he’ll throw down alongside Excision and Ghastly.
Growing up in New Jersey, were you involved in parts of the local music scene? How did that shape your style in music production?
I was in hardcore and metal bands in high school, but I was also bumpin’ Wu Tang, Biggie, Gravediggaz, and west coast gangsta rap at the same time. The final puzzle piece was when I religiously started going to raves in NYC. When I moved from live music into music production /drum machines / etc., the result was inevitably a combination of those influences.
How would you explain trap music to someone who didn’t know what it was? What is it to you?
One word: Google (laughs). All genres end up having this vague, weak identifier. Ten years ago trap music was dirty south, hip-hop beats with raps about slanging and hustling. Today, trap can can also be an instrumental track with high-pitched bleepy noises and zero lyrics.
The meanings of genres and their labels change with the evolution of music. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, electro was Afrika Bambaataa and Cybertron. To me though, trap music is a feeling. It’s a vibe. It’s about goin’ hard; it’s about being bad. It has this ignorant intelligence that just feels right. You’re bumpin’ it with your friends, and y’all thinking, “We the baddest. We the dopest. Sqquuuaaaadddd!”
The TSIS secret set at Electric Forest this year was the talk of the weekend. How did that b2b2b2b with Mija,12th Planet, & NGHTMRE come together? What’s been your favorite festival play this summer?
This Song Is Sick hosted the B2B at Electric Forest. They do a “secret b2b” set every year, so the stage was already packed an hour before we went on; everyone already knew something crazy was about to happen. I’ve probably watched the video [I posted on Facebook] from that set 30 times.
As far as my fave festival play – I’d have to go with EDC. If you told me one day I’d be riding a helicopter to a stage that looked a sci-fi movie with flame throwers and fireworks, I would have looked at you weird and asked if I could have some of whatever you were having.
The TWONK clothing line designs push the envelope. What designers do you work with to create the apparel collections?
We only have 1 designer and his name is Oz. He is the supreme human weirdo.
And what inspires the stylistic choices?
We communicate with a multidimensional intelligence and manifest the inspiration in our style.
What’s your favorite track to play live right now?
I have an official remix coming out for “Need You” by Dillon Francis and NGHTMRE, and it’s been goin’ off!!
While the remix hasn’t officially dropped, we did manage to find a short clip of Dillon playing the remix at Hollywood Palladium a couple weeks ago. And it’s fire.
You can catch this innovative performer live in concert on July 29 alongisde the likes of Excision, Ghastly, and more at Jukely Sound Projects. Tickets are on sale now.