Coast to Coast: Bobby B

Bobby B, aka Andre Ferreira is probably best know as Bobby Browser having issued two shimmering EP’s for Los Angle’s 100% Silk imprint under that name in recent years. A long-time staple of the Oakland scene, Bobby has recently relocated to Brooklyn for a change in smells and to explore different avenues in music.

His latest endeavour, the “History / Untrue” EP on Icee Hot finds the artist exploring deeper territories than before. Channeling the energy of Detroit, Bobby takes us for a ride with two soulful House cuts featuring strong remixes from Barcelona’s man of the moment John Talabot and San Francisco’s Ghost’s On Tape. We got in touch with Bobby to find out how the tech boom has affected artists in San Francisco,  the omnipresent smell of rotten trash in NYC and grand visions of Moodymann’s fro…


You’ve recently relocated from Oakland to Brooklyn, can you describe for us this transition period and how it has affected you?

Fortunately, I already knew a lot of super cool people when I got here. That made it so much easier to get set up and going. I can’t thank them enough. NY is also a big place and I’m brand new to all the scenes here. It’s pretty humbling on one hand, but at the same time, it’s a perfect opportunity to try out new stuff musically.

With the tech-boom, there’s constant reports of an exodus of musicians and artists leaving San Francisco and the Bay Area…What do you think lies in the future for the arts scene there?

Sometimes I jokingly tell people that’s the reason I left SF. From my experience, the tech boom has helped (DJs/electronic) musicians in the Bay Area. How do you have a thriving club (and vinyl) scene for such a small place without people willing to pay? Tech people work all week long at the their computers, so when the weekend hits, they are ready to eat, buy, rave and generally drop cash. That goes for restaurants, record stores, etc.

Now, while small/medium sized clubs might do well, there are not a lot of smaller bars where you can have your own little party. In addition, there are a shrinking number of warehouses or alternative venues, so I believe there is a widening divide between high and low, big and small. This is not different from what we hear from economists in the newspaper.

What’s different about life in NYC?

Not as much poop on the sidewalk. Weed smoke in the air is replaced by rotting trash smell. More work, more hectic pace.

What do you do outside of music? 

Event production and various odd jobs.

Can you describe a normal week in the life of Bobby B?

Monday – emails/e-business, grocery, cook, yoga, be outside, play with sampler
Tuesday – Work as production assistant, visit friends, online shopping
Wednesday – Work at vintage clothing store, dinner date, DJ at a bar
Thursday – Work as a “carpenter,” cook, go dancing
Friday – Work as a product rep, visit Guitar Center, play with sampler, DJ at a bar
Saturday – Work at vintage clothing store, dinner with friends, club dancing
Sunday – Chill brunch, afternoon party, cook dinner, play with keyboards

From looking at your YouTube Channel, it’s clear you’re into making home movies and video art. Is that just a passing hobby or would you ever like to work in film?

I’ve been into video/film since I was a kid. I’ve made a grip of skate videos in addition to sketch comedy type stuff. In college, I developed a bad attitude towards the industry and ended up liking the more independent nature of music. I hope to get back into it at some point soon and it will definitely be comedy.

This EP sounds different to your previous work, there’s a definite nod to the Detroit in your productions, who are your main influences?

I like the classics and some of the big names from the D, but I might feel different every time I go make a live set. These tracks were some of the ones I made for an Icee Hot party. With ‘History’ I had a really huge fro at the a time, and I thought it would be funny to do a sober, “this is real life” Moodymann or early Theo Parrish kind of vibe. I had this vision of being up there on stage with the fro and big sunglasses, drinking Hennessy, beating up the MPC haha. So that was kinda my influence for that one, but I sort of remixed it and made it a little more trippy. For “So True” I dunno, it’s more chill, the chords are similar to “Get Up” by Vincent Floyd, which I realised was subconsciously copied well after I made it. That one is a lot more like my releases on 100% Silk.

How did you get John Talabot & Ghosts on Tape to do the remixes?

I played the Icee Hot party a while back and decided the live set was going be my demo. They had never heard the tracks before that night, but they ended up picking the same two tracks i felt were the best. When Icee Hot approached Talabot to remix a track, he remembered “So True” from the live set, and agreed, so that was pretty cool. Ghosts on Tape and I have known each other from the scene in SF for a while, so it was only natural that he would do the other remix.

You have an evolving live set up, can you run me through what your currently using for your shows and to produce at home?

The first half of last year, I used two Yamaha SU700 samplers and a DJ mixer. If I couldn’t bring two of those, I would use a DJ looper called the Soundbite from Redsound and just one Yamaha. In the fall and winter, I used the Korg Volca trio synced to a Teenage Enginneering OP-1 and a mini mixer. It all fits in a laptop bag and is totally improvised every time. Very much a smaller venue, “show” (vs. club) kind of setup. For the recording, I usually take the live tracks I’m vibing with the most and remix them on my computer.

Are you going to be touring this Summer?

I have nothing planned but will probably do some domestic stuff.

Are you working on any other collaborations or projects?

I used to make music with Greg Z aka Hauser Quaid aka Eats Tapes as Wav Dwgs. He’s one of the main reasons I moved from SF, and at some point, we’ll probably do a live set together. Music for yoga practice has always interested me, so I hope I can continue to do that here in New York. I’d also like to help design some type of instrument in the future.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Get settled in a bit more with my space and pick up lots of work. I have two records I should probably finish. Maybe visit Europe in the fall or winter and play a bit.

History / Untrue is available to buy on vinyl now here.

Interview : Conor McTernan

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