In a galaxy of young influential labels, Bromance Records have established themselves as shooting stars, largely due to an unparalleled artist lineup including Brodinski, Myd & Canblaster, Gener8ion, Louisahhh, Myth Syzer, Ikaz Boi, Tommy Kruise et 8tm. Behind the scenes of the Parisian label, we find a creative and tight-knit crew. The label just celebrated their five year anniversary so we took the opportunity to hear their story, recent projects and vision through the tales of their AD Guillaume Berg, and artists Myd and Ikaz Boi.
Words: Nick Bridge
Interview: Guillaume Le Goff
Photo: Mpy Was Here
GUILLAUME BERG Bromance just celebrated five years. Congrats! What are the greatest achievements so far?
Thanks! The starting point for our beautiful history was unfortunately a very painful and sad event: the sudden and tragic death of DJ Mehdi. Then, the first founding moment that got us off the ground was the world tour of Brodinski and Gesaffelstein, which was accompanied by the release of our first EP. After that, it was the spring of 2012, which we spent in LA with Louis (Brodinski).
And your best memories?
The two impromptu parties we planned in 24 hours and threw two years apart in Palm Springs and Coachella. Unforgettable and truly something we hadn’t seen before.
Coming back to the label: what sparked the creation of Bromance and how did you build it?
The creation of the label came out of very human reasons, first and foremost. It was a group of friends with an idea and a need, who helped each other realise those things. It was Louis who was tired of waiting around forever to release his music, who saw talented people beside him and who wanted to get to know the world. The people beside him helped him build everything. These are people who share a certain taste and aesthetic, difficult to pin down and pretty vague but also pretty strong. Enter Surkin and Ikaz Boi, enter Louisahhh and Myth Syzer, and the red thread between them isn’t super obvious but when you listen and you look, you get the vibe. People often talk about a “Bromance sound”, but it was never really the intention.
Who do you work with to create your specific aesthetic visual language?
Again, it’s super natural, either because we work with our friends or people who think what we’re doing is cool! There aren’t any rules: a sound will make you think of a visual, a concept, a person. For each cover, you think of an artist, send him the sound, give him a blank slate and you’ll never end up disappointed! I designed the logo of the label on a balcony in L.A. at 5 in the morning, five months after the creation of the label, haha! I had this idea brewing in my head for a while which I couldn’t fully realise, so I called my buddy Hassan Rahim who helped round it out and finish the logo.
Tell us about the 5-year anniversary artist collaboration?
For our recent anniversary party in Paris on the 26th of November we made five different visuals, made by close friends who had been working with us on and off throughout the history of Bromance. Fafi, So_Me, our Swiss friends from Armes, our Japanese friend Kiri and myself worked on this. The strange thing was that no one really communicated with each other throughout the process—and we still got a common theme throughout each visual!
You mix a really eclectic crew of artists, and it also feels like a new generational approach. How would you describe Bromance’s contribution to music?
At the end of the day, we don’t really ask ourselves questions like that. We have our histories, cultures, influences which come out in what we make. But we never say, “Ok, we want to make something really unique today.” Maybe it’s because we make stuff without asking too many questions and just want to share the stuff we make that works. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys’ cause it’s not really for me to judge what’s our contribution to music, but I hope that it’s positive and constructive.
Can you tell us a little bit about your recent collaborations with young high profile US rappers?
We met all of them pretty organically. They have the same approach as we do: working with friends! All three of them are super sick collaborators, with their really different approaches which essentially just pull together. And they’re super resourceful: when we met Ikaz, he had already been collaborating with rappers from Toronto, Myth had made Bon Gamin, 8tm had already put out two EPs by himself on his coin. We loved everything they did and we needed to reach out to them. Brodi is spending a lot of time in Atlanta and has been working on a mixtape for a while with all the little proteges from Young Thug’s crew, YSL, produced by Brodi, Syzer, Ikaz, Myd, Ryan Hemsworth, Mister Tweeks. And there’s another project with 8tm that’s also in the pipeline.
You’re also a DJ, and linked to Virgil Abloh, who’s pretty connected to a solid international clique. What are the links between you two and why is it important for you to DJ as well?
I met Virgil when Louis and Mike worked on Yeezus and we clicked really quickly and became true buds. Everything that followed is the result of millions of text exchanges and dinners, haha. It’s important because the collaboration isn’t a business choice, it’s friends who let me discover, share, participate.
What are you next releases and projects with Bromance after these 5 years?
MYD Hello Myd. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Myd, I’m 29 years old and I come from Lille. I spent the last five years making music for myself and others, and with my band Club cheval. Club Cheval in particular is a band made up of four producers each of whom have different careers, tastes and projects. We met and studied together with the same goal of wanting to make creative music, something truly new and primarily based on emotions.
Today all of you work on your own projects, and I have the impression you’re all pretty free to do so. I particularly appreciated your new EP, No Bullshit, with Twice and Lil Patt. How did you get the idea for this trans-atlantic collaboration and how is this project significant in your career?
I spent many years working with Brodinski on the production of his album, Brava. He is a huge fan of hip hop and took me with him to Atlanta on an adventure that transformed my vision of rap. This is to say that in addition to having learned how to work with and for rappers, I discovered that this type of music spoke to me much more than I could have imagined. I knew that one day a track would be born out of Atlanta. I had made some beats for a singer who is a really good friend of mine. I had also sent that beat to Brodinski who had a studio over there, he sent me something back a day later and today that’s No Bullshit. That EP embodies a side of Atlanta that I love: luminous, creative and danceable. This project was the first step of decompartmentalising my career. Before that, I had the tendency to put aside certain projects or not sign to some at all. Today, I know that whatever leaves my studio is Myd, be it rap, techno or maybe even folk.
I get the feeling that you are a fan of rap but with this knowledge of, and affinity with, techno. I remember a discussion when I spoke about our mutual fascination with this new French rapper from Marseille named Sch. And you worked with him as well as DJ Kore, I believe.
I’m not a fan of rap. It’s more that rap is a style of music that excites me ‘cause it’s one of the more intuitive and creative types of music at the moment, while techno has a tendency to close in on itself. With Club cheval, we worked in DJ Kore’s studios the whole time we were writing our album, Discipline. Kore taught me to be confident in the accidents and mistakes that happen in the studio. As for Sch, it’s simply Kore who passed by chance at the exact moment when I was making a beat, and we finished it together to turn it into what’s now “Champs-Elysees”. Kore is truly someone who works hard to find those golden nuggets when it comes to beats.
Which other artists and producers do you think are important, regardless of their fields, in France and internationally?
There are those who I find important and those I find exciting. For important, I’d say Mike Will who surprises me with every new thing he puts out. For exciting, I really love Weyes Blood, an American singer who I find absolutely devastating.
And what about your other projects—either solo, with Club cheval or with Bromance?
We finished our tour with Club cheval last week, which means I can now get back into the studio 24/7. I’d love to quickly put out a new EP. With Club cheval, we’re itching to get started on a new album.
Myd « No Bullshit (feat. Twice & Lil Patt) » EP out now on Bromance
IKAZ BOI Hello! What should we know about you?
I’m Ikaz Boi, a producer and composer of electronic music and hip hop, I’m 26 years old and I’m part of the label and family Bromance records.
I told myself that I’d find a label with taste, a French one, with whom I could make something strong and long term. The only label that interested me in France was Bromance.
How did you get started producing tracks—and what pushed you to keep going with it?
I started to produce because I spent my nights waiting for the latest releases to come out and learning about producers and rappers. I’d go to the library in my city, rent CDs and burn them at home. Then one day, a friend from childhood introduced me to Ejay Groove which I could use to make a few beats. It’s a software that already comes with sounds so I started to learn the program. It was really easy to use and it let me use my hands as software. Then, I started to use Reason to compose with synths but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the results. And then, I came across Fruity Loops around 2011 and it was the big revelation of my life! I quickly got better with mixing and the technical stuff. I adore the interface and its software.
You’re signed to Bromance and the label just celebrated its five year anniversary. We discovered you and your collaborations with Myth Syzer, and then again recently with the banger “Cerebral”. What is your collective history and how do you work together on your mixes and tracks?
With Syzer, we’d known each other for ten years and started making music around the same time and in the same city, La Roche Sur Yon. We had friends in common who knew we each made music. They connected us and it just worked between us. It was cool to have a buddy in music, because honestly, to make friends in that group isn’t that easy. As for signing with Bromance, it had been over a year, I had taken a bit of a pause, I was tired of that music and that environment. I told myself that I’d find a label with taste, a French one, with whom I could make something strong and long term. The only label that interested me in France was Bromance.
At the same time, I started to DJ in clubs a bit thanks to “On set sur les nerfs” which I’d make for Joke. It was during this night, freeyourfunk, that I had the chance to meet Emmanuel Forlani, who told me he knows this label as well as Manu Barron, who is now my manager. Emmanuel sent my music to Manu and he loved it and showed it to Brodinski. Soon, I met them and we connected musically but also on a personal level. And the crazy thing is that they wanted to sign Myth Sizer at the same time. The idea to make an EP together then came kind of naturally. With Myth Syzer, we had already produced the tracks “Funeral” and “have u eva” with the Chicago rappers Leather Corduroy and Vic Mensa, which worked pretty well online. We don’t really have a way of working on our tracks, we can work on them apart or in the studio. With all the tracks we made together, we’ve each done about 50% of the work, that’s truly the pattern between us two.
Your artist image and style are well executed (just like the rest of the Bromance crew). How did you put your personal touch on this and to what extent is it important for you to separate your image from the other artists in the scene?
The image of an artist is super important, in society as well as for your actual life. If you don’t have a distinct style and you’re a DJ, it’s not so good. Even though these days we say people look to your general vibe and will automatically follow you on social networks, if you have a true image, it makes a big difference. Just look at how many rappers and producers today also work in fashion. These are two worlds that have been linked for a long time. Of course, it’s not only about the external image, it’s about the overall image of a project, the art direction. Bromance has a killer image and have always been set on making a difference. That’s also what I liked in the label.
What are your new projects and how will you roll them out in 2017?
I’m working a lot with Brodinski. He’s charged with connecting my production to rappers he knowns and that’s worked really well for us up until now. He knows where I want to go so we continue to work in that direction. Now, I’m about to finish my first solo EP. I don’t know yet how I’m going to release it nor through which label, but it’s truly a project that’s close to my heart. I think it’ll be really important for my musical career.