Followed the rapidly advancing career of Bill Salas, professionally known as Brenmar, the most noteworthy thing about this producers take on making big, bad bass for the modern clubber, is how the wider world of dance/r’n’b that has swept the charts of late is crying out for a fresh and innovative take on accessible bass music. Juke, house and hip-hop are all present throughout Brenmar’s tracks, reflecting his Chicago-born but New York-residing status, and these themes are now common in the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.
Last year he released a 6-track EP entitled ‘At It Again’ (think Martelo, Roska and DJ Blaqstarr rolled into one) on Discobelle Records, and put together two colossal mixes for Fact Magazine and The Fader. Now he’s getting ready to drop a new EP later this summer on Ikonika and Optimum’s label, Hum and Buzz.
Nick-named by his then two year old brother, Brenmar is hoping to reach The Neptunes-like status in the producer world, with his Aaliyah, Cassie and Jamie Foxxx-sampled tracks. His ‘Let Me Know’ EP, released earlier this month on Sinden’s label Grizzly imprint, is a four-track exhibition of his talent and love for all things bass featuring three originals songs and one remix from Austin-based producer, Dubbel Dutch.
Describing the UK as the host of “many of my best shows”, Brenmar is currently on a tour across Europe, equipped with an array of his own tracks and remixes of the sexy r&b tunes David Guetta hasn’t got to yet.
We emailed the young producer and DJ to discuss the future, Ciara and the UK’s helthy dance music scene.
Interview: Elissa Bradley
Can you talk us through the music that gave you the intial thirst to produce, and how your musical palette developed from there?
Hip-hop is the first music I fell in love with. Alot of Gangstarr, Wu-Tang, Jeru, Nas, No-Limit. Mid-to-late 90’s stuff basically. I purchased a pair of turntables at 14 and started buying records around that same time. Hip-hop was pretty much all I listened to ’till about 17 or so, then a friend introduced me to Boards of Canada and Autechre and I started really following the Warp Records catalog – it was something new to me yet familiar. I’ve gone through my fair share of musical phases – free jazz, noise, ambient, a bit of punk – I’ve tasted them all for months or years at a time.
Do you have aims to produce for mainstream hip-hop and r&b artists – anything in the pipeline?
Yes, working with vocalists is very high on my agenda, it’s definitely something i’m striving for. I want to write hits, just on my own terms, just like Timbaland and The Neptunes did. I’m working on it!
Having sampled the likes of Cassie, Ashanti and Aaliyah – can you tell us who would be your all time r’n’b star and why?
Ciara! Love her so much. I really like strong women who exude confidence, that know what they want and aren’t afraid to work for it. Ciara is the epitome of that for me, she’s not the only one of course but she’s my favourite.
‘So High’ by Brenmar
You’re new EP ‘Let Me Know’ is out on Sinden’s label Grizzly, how did you first hook-up with Sinden?Could you name drop some UK artists you’re feeling at the moment?
T. Williams, Funkystepz, Dark Sky, Optimum and DJ Champion.
Chicago or New York?
Nice try, love ’em both!
How have you found the response to your music in the UK?
Wonderful! The UK has been amazing, many of my best shows on this last tour were in the UK. Usually the weirder I get with it the better the response! Can’t say that about too many places.
You’re in the middle of a fairly extensive European tour at the minute – which city has the wildest crowds?
Leeds, London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Amsterdam were all very lively, some of the best shows for sure.
Your music seems relentlessly club-based – what music does Brenmar make when he’s not tearing down clubs?
What have you got coming up next release-wise?
Another 3 track EP on Ikonika and Optimum’s label Hum and Buzz should be out this summer.
‘Let Me Know’ EP is released via Grizzly Records on June 20 – buy it in full here.