WORDS BY: JAMES JOHNSON
It’s always quite refreshing to connect with artists who have truly done their homework in the industry, and have a clear idea of what they’re doing as artists. You often get people who are so naive as to what really happens behind the scenes, and what it takes to become a success. They’re often so jaded in their thinking as far as the things they should be handling for themselves as an artist, or assisting with, and they’re looking for an individual or team who is going to do it all.
So is not the case with Brook Brovaz. These fellas have most definitely done their research, and they have carefully guided themselves around the common pitfalls of the industry to become a true success story. Launching their careers as producers, they meticulously worked to build their reputation as solid craftsmen in the business of music, and soon built their clientele and resumes in the process. In less than ten years, they’ve become a dominant force in music production, film, and television. They now have their sights set on becoming the next big force in hip-hop. Honestly, when you hear their first two singles, it becomes pretty evident that it’s certainly going to happen for them. Their style is like no other, and heads are already turning. Fans are already begging for more, so they’re clearly on the right track.
We had a moment to catch up with group members Shak-Trauma and Silver to talk about their journey as producers, and how their dominance thus far is set to propel them to even greater heights as they prepare the release of their debut album, "The Producer's Perspective". . Check out the exclusive below!
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s pretty dope connecting with you guys today. Thanks a lot for your time for the feature…
Brook Brovaz: Thank you. It’s our pleasure.
U.G. Digital Mag: One of the more interesting things about you fellas is that while in many ways you’re looked at as being new to this, you’ve been instrumental in the success of so many artists as producers. Before we talk about your music, talk about how you two fell off into production and ultimately came together?
Brook Brovaz (Shak-Trauma): Music is always something I’ve been in love with, growing up and hearing many genres played by my parents. With my Caribbean roots and being born in Brooklyn, my parents got me into piano lessons. I later got into DJ’ing, and it progressed from there. I eventually was able to get into the business and get to a point of being deep in songwriting. I’ve always wanted to do this since I was 5 years old.
Brook Brovaz (Silver): The same thing with me, I knew early-on that I wanted to be a musician and be successful. Growing up within different cultures, we’ve heard everything from different genres with dancehall, reggae, soul, the 50s and 40s, and I knew very early that when I was introduced to hip-hop in 1995, 1997, I wanted to be an impactful producer and artist in the industry. We founded Brook Brovaz in 2009. There were three of us, and then our manager, Cloe Luv, came into the picture around 2010 to help us get established. We got our production company in 2011, and she built a studio for us. At that point, we were able to start working on a commercial level.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s really dope. You speak about the different genres that you were introduced to as children, and it’s ironic because that’s one of the first things that’s very noticeable with your music. Even being categorized or considered as reggae artists, there’s a heavy hip-hop influence in the overall vibe. It’s not the same as Reggae and Reggaeton artists of the past who have worked with hip-hop luminaries to broaden their range. It’s more organic here and natural for you. Talk about your style and what you wanted to present, whether as an artist or producing?
Brook Brovaz: To be honest, the funny thing is we were producers first. It was kind of a role that was forced upon us, or like we had to do it for a lack of other artists’ commitment and over-standing of the industry. We were put in a position to show the world how we needed things to be done. We pretty much assumed the roles now as artists following the trials and tribulations of dealing with some others. We’re really just producers who said let’s put the project together from our perspective to show the world. We can do everything in-house. That was the purpose; giving our perspective on how we translated music.
U.G. Digital Mag: That would have been my next question about the fact that you were producers first, and then transitioned to being artists. Most artists are looking to eventually progress and begin producing, directing, and so on. You guys are seemingly going the opposite direction.
Brook Brovaz: Correct. That’s definitely right. I feel like it’s beautiful and organic, and it made us better musicians to tap into the artistic side. We can expand our imagination in how we approach records and compose. We can expand on our ideas and creativity. All great musicians dabble on both sides, so it’s a great thing.
U.G. Digital Mag: “Turn and Bubble” and “Get Low” are both really dope tracks and I can see why they are resonating with listeners. What’s next in terms of singles, and when can we look for the full length?
Brook Brovaz (Silver): Definitely. We pretty much had the album done because we were using songs that were originally going to be used for other artists. We had a catalog, and we’re upgrading, and reformatting them for ourselves. We don’t have a release date planned yet, but the next single is nearing completion, and it’s a completely different genre from what these two singles represent. The entire album is made up of different genres. We’re the commercial for our own company. The new song is actually a trap record. The first single was SOCA, the second was more tropical pop, and this one, titled "Activate", is more trap. It’s giving our perspective on how we create musically and artistically. The album will be called “The Producer’s Perspective”. Again, we don’t have a release date yet. The first two singles were to warm people up to our roots, and we pay respects to our background and let people understand organically that we are of Caribbean descent and now we’re moving more into what we really do, which is every other genre, including television and film. It’s a great journey. We’re excited to release this LP, but it’s about 90% done.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s really hot. When you look at past artists from the same background, even releasing similar music, you still don’t hear the diversity or the multi-genres. What you have is hot, and it will continue to resonate. What other things are going on musically? I would imagine you’re still producing for other artists at the same time.
Brook Brovaz: One of the main things we’re doing is scoring for television and film. We’ve had over 200 placements on network commercials, television, and film. We just scored a commercial for the ASICS campaign. We’re working on something else that’s pretty huge. We can’t put it out there just yet, but it’s coming. We’re definitely dominating in the television and film departments. In terms of artists, there’s an artist signed to Universal/Republic, who will be coming out third or fourth quarter, and we worked on his first single. We’re taking things as they come. Our project is the priority, but we’re working with others as well.
U.G. Digital Mag: This is so cool. Not a lot of artists come out now who are in the background and the forefront. It sets a precedent for what can be done in this industry. It’s only been since 2009, and you’re already embedded in all facets of the industry. Kudos to you for that…
Brook Brovaz: We definitely appreciate that.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s true though. I couldn’t imagine it’s been easy, just knowing how the industry works. What are some of the difficulties that you’ve experienced along the way?
Brook Brovaz: It’s a very tough industry, and you have to have tough skin. It’s so digital now, and a lot of it is dealing with people and artists who expect to be an overnight success. Social media has made people create fallacies and worlds that really don’t exist. When you have the authentic ones trying to sift through the cracks, that’s where the difficulties come in with people who don’t have an over-standing of the business. They think they can just come and rap on a song and it’s an instant success, or they don’t understand that it’s a process, and there’s a machine that helps out favorite stars make it. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes who help push these records. I don’t think the engineers and producers ever really get enough credit. These are a lot of the difficulties we deal with in terms of the business. We assumed the position as artists, bet on ourselves, and we knew we were great in production and knew the business. We bet on ourselves to avoid the down sides to the business.
U.G. Digital Mag: It’s such a good thing, the way you’ve come in and dominated in everything you’ve worked on. As artists, you can do so much better because of all you know. It’s sets the stage for those who will inevitably come behind you, and opens up minds in terms of what can be accomplished. In terms of keeping up with you and all you have going on, where can readers and fans find you online?
Brook Brovaz: We’re at www.brookbrovaz.com, and our site has all of our social media handles, Our main use of social media is probably Instagram. Our handle on everything is @brookbrovaz.
U.G. Digital Mag: Again, I love both tracks, and I’m looking forward to hearing more. Thank you guys again, so much.
Brook Brovaz: Most definitely. Thanks again for having us.