The West Coast music scene is thriving, and one of LA’s most coveted parties is changing the “underground” scene. Brownies & Lemonade has grown from just being roommates throwing college parties to hosting stages at major festivals such as EDC, Coachella, and HARD Summer.
We spoke to Los Angeles taste makers Brownies & Lemonade’s events producer Chad Kenney and operations director Alai Tseggai about their journey and view on the music scene today.
Favorite and least favorite “industry” term at the moment?
Chad: Not sure if there is a favorite “industry” term, but I’ve always liked when people call us “underground” because it’s such a blanket term that is used to describe what we do, even though I don’t believe we’re truly underground anymore. Still, I see it more as a term of endearment.
My least favorite is definitely “all access” because it’s the one I get asked about the most.
Best memories from the early days and what were some of the biggest challenges?
Alai: Best memories that stick out are when we introduced the Moving Castle family to LA back in 2014 and our show at a tiny art gallery with Mija, when Skrillex dropped a surprise set for the first time at B&L. These two events served as a great snapshot of what B&L is about, introducing audiences to new sounds at one end while also working with some of our idols and pioneers of music on the other end.
The biggest challenges were definitely the set up that went into the early events. From the random locations (Burner party warehouses, an actual restaurant in Thai Town), lugging around equipment, running bar and door, and the dreadful post-party clean up. That being said, even if some of those early events might not have had the biggest of crowds, we always felt a great sense of accomplishment and looked forward to the next event.
What separates Brownies & Lemonade from the rest?
Chad: The variety of musical styles represented in our lineups is probably the easiest answer to give, but I would go further and say the variety and diversity of the people that come to our shows is even more indicative.
Within the music spectrum here in SoCal we are fortunate to have people from all walks of life, cultures, and parts of the region represented at our shows. And although SoCal is known for diversity, you are not seeing this kind of passion for the music represented by all groups in attendance at most clubs/events.
I guess one thing we all have in common is that we love Kendrick Lamar.
How did you achieve that variety?
Alai: Two things:
- Having a great team comprised of people from many different backgrounds that are passionate about music and know how to delegate responsibilities to make sure that our events run as smoothly as possible.
- Staying engaged with the people who come to our events to make sure that they are having a good time.
We love getting feedback, either by talking to people at our shows or communicating directly through our socials. If there is ever any sort of issue that comes up, we try to address it as quickly as possible so that a positive experience is had in the future.
Do you have a dream lineup?
Chad: In hip-hop you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more beloved than Chance The Rapper, so incorporating him into some transformative event would be incredible for us, alongside some of our friends like Brasstracks who won two Grammys for production on [Chance’s] single “No Problems.”
My favorite artist of all-time is probably Justice, so for me personally doing some sort of “Ed Banger x B&L” collaborative event would just be too good to be true. But I can dream, can’t I?
Why is B&L essential to the LA scene?
Alai: Simply put, we’re about the music and the experience. We understand how important this city is in shaping the musical landscape across the world, and we want B&L to continue to provide a unique platform to both up-and-coming and established artists to help shape that culture.
Do you think the United States’ current political state is affecting the industry? As a part of the music community, do you think it’s your responsibility to do something about it?
Chad: Oh absolutely, I think that the volatile nature of today’s world has created an opportunity for music to be a respite and and release from the madness, as it has been in generations past. However while I think that it’s fine to dabble in escapism and go to clubs/festivals and let loose, music has the power to address the ills of the world and actually help us break past certain barriers through awareness.
One thing that I’ve loved about the last 10-12 months is that the LP has made a really strong comeback and we’re seeing some of the best voices utilize themselves in long-form narratives as opposed to just a couple conjoined singles with filler (although sure, that still exists too). From this tumultuous time in US politics and society you’re going to see some of the best art and music of this generation rise up as a direct response, and B&L definitely wants to showcase that.
Jimi Hendrix once said “Music is my religion.” If you were to have a famous quote, what would you want it to be?
“Whenever I feel like life can’t get any better, I need to start working harder.”
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