Brenton Duvall Talks Bonnaroo, EDM, OnCue, and Music (VTT Interview)
When did you start producing music? Can you remember the first track you ever made?
I started playing guitar when I was like 10 or 12. It all kinda coincided with the Apple come up I guess. Once I figured out what GarageBand was, I started learning about recording, taught myself to play piano and shit, rarely for making beats but like little 8 track demos with guitars and bass and piano. The demos were way shitty but it taught me alot. I guess I started making beats when I was like 15.
When we talked on the phone the other day you mentioned you live right outside of DC. Has that influenced your sound at all?
I’d say so, but not too much. DC isn’t really known for too much musically aside from Go Go music, which I love but I’m not very inspired by. I’m from the suburbs…I think I was just inspired by obsessively listening to and playing music.
You also mentioned Neon Gold Records and the party’s they throw in the area. What kind of scene is popping off in DC?
Them and All Things Go are two amazing blogs that are even more amazing at bringing a live show together. All Things Go is based out of DC, and I love those guys. Both of them throw small shows in NYC and DC every month, and they are always so fun, best crowds, best bands, and everyone is so nice. That’s what I’m in to. There is such a good vibe with that scene.
We got to catch a few of your sets down at SXSW 2012 including one with the homie Cue. How was your week down there? Hitting it again next year?
I wasn’t 21 yet, so I had some trouble getting into shows, even my own. Aside from that, it was amazing. I had never been, I barely knew what it was. You literally are walking around passing your heroes, and then across the street are your friends you play music with. I mean, one night I was hanging out with Cue and like 10 minutes later I was at Morton’s with him and Just Blaze and I’m cutting up records on the dinner table. SXSW was so surreal. I can’t wait for next year.
The 2 Drake tracks you released are definitely a step in a different direction. What went into making those tracks creatively?
I’ve been dealing alot with like perfection and stuff like that. I’ve been stuck in my head and overthinking alot of stuff. So it’s alot of just being like “I don’t care what people think, listen to these little silly flips.” I was worried about the reception but then I decided it doesn’t matter because I have fans that are going to listen, and people are going to like it. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Not to sound like a pretentious dick.
Do you feel like your sound is growing and developing?
Yeah. I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started. It was kinda like “Oh weird, people are listening to this shit, maybe they’ll listen to this other shit.” But at a certain point you wanna make what YOU want. Even if other people don’t love it like they loved another song of yours. I’m always trying to develop, and I have to realize that I just turned 21 so there is plenty of time to progress. I’m just looking forward to that.
I’m always listening to everything all the time. Being friends with someone like OnCue, I listen to him all the time. He’s going to be so big, and it’s so amazing watching his come up. I’m sitting next to him right now actually. Other than him, another friend with that potential is Skizzy Mars. I’ll listen to anything Benny Blanco or Diplo produces, anything Kanye has any hand in, and same with Taylor Swift. That’s not being corny she’s a genius and I’ll say it in every interview I do.
Do you have any special announcements or releases coming for 2012?
Lots of new music. Just got to announce I’m playing Bonnaroo, which is fucking ill. 2012 is going to be the calm before the storm I think. I’m so excited. i think I’m almost where I want to be right now, and I just wanna be creative and prolific. I have been holding music back for a long time and I’m ready to release shit. I have like 15 songs that nobody has ever heard.
What do you think of the growing EDM scene? I love that artists have new platforms to build creatively, but some of it is way over done. Do you miss the era when Dj’s would play pop-up party’s and more of an underground scene?
Personally, I like the music, and I fucking hate the lifestyle. I hate 15 year old girls going to see Avicii and doing ecstasy because they think it’s cool, and I hate that I assume that will be the ultimate downfall of EDM. In 20 years we’re gonna all be like “Remember EDM? Gosh, we were so silly.” It’s gonna be disco. Not because of the music, because of the fans. EDM has become about drugs and telling everyone what show you went to last night. That’s sad and pathetic and it’s detrimental to DJ’s and dance music in general.
You sample tons of different artists. That Gucci Mane track was crazy. What did you grow up listening to?
From the time I was 14 til 16 or 17 I pretty much exclusively listened to Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their guitar player John Frusciante. I learned everything about music from listening to him. Straight up. I’ve always been really into shitty pop music and I got into hip hop like MF Doom and J. Dilla in high school. I prided myself on being that asshole that knew every song in the world. I literally listened to everything.
What song do you feel like really broke you as an up and coming producer?
Well probably the Taylor Swift Wiz Khalifa edit I did. Mean Planes and Taylor Gangs. That song is huge with or without my name attached. The people that did know I made it I’m sure would say the Gucci “That’s All” remix. I’m proud of that song and the flip that’s in there. The thing I want people to know though is that I haven’t broke yet. Those stupid songs aren’t what I’m about, though I do like them. The stuff that’s coming is what I’m hoping starts to be my sound.
What’s the ultimate goal for you. Where do you want to see yourself in the next few years?
I wanna just get better and more creative the next few years. And someday I think it isn’t hard to decide I just want to be the one of the best producers and I want to sell records and I want to make money and I want to do everything. Ultimately, the goal is never getting a real job. I mean, if I can just do that, I’m fuckin golden.