Brass Knuckles Talk EDM Culture, Best Advice and “Water Gun”
Miami trio Brass Knuckles are quickly becoming rising stars in dance music. With tracks like “Crack” with The Cataracs, their original single “Bad Habits” and their latest remix of Dada Life‘s “One Smile,” their discography shows time and time again that they know how to produce music that will make you move.
We got a chance to catch up with Brass Knuckles as they prepped for their new release “Water Gun,” which became one of the first dance music tracks to premiere on Beats Music and is out now on all digital retailers through Ultra Music. Take a listen to the first episode of their Fight Club podcast as you read our exclusive interview below!
OTB: Tell us about your daily routine. How often are you producing? Walk us through your creative process, as well as what you like to do to burn off some steam.
Brass Knuckles: Amongst the 3 of us, we touch on most areas of Brass Knuckles throughout the day. Some days are focused more on one thing than the other. When we’re not doing shows, a normal day might consist of working on podcasts, video ideas and graphic design, then hitting the studio to work on production. As far as the creative process, creativity can come at any time. Something usually sparks an idea and we’ll start a session on ableton and then hopefully finish it! To burn off steam and clean our minds, we’ll go on hikes around LA, take a day off every now and then, and making and playing music!
OTB: I saw you like to use the phrase ‘Make Moves Monday’ on Twitter. What does Monday mean for producers like you that don’t have a set work schedule?
Make moves mondayyyyy
— Brass Knuckles (@Brass_Knuckles) August 11, 2014
Brass Knuckles: We may not have a “set” schedule – but the rest of the world does. Monday is the top of the week – and we like to hit the ground running. That’s when we follow up with the events from the past weekend and tackle the objectives for the week ahead. Monday = GAME TIME. If you don’t make those moves, someone else will.
OTB: How does your dynamic work when it comes to creating tracks? Are any of you better at one thing than the others?
Brass Knuckles: We have a pretty diverse musical taste amongst the group so we tend to produce in several different styles and genres. We’ll all throw ideas out there. Some will work for Brass Knuckles and others won’t so we’ll find another home for it. When a track fits the Brass Knuckles sound, we go in!
OTB: Describe your “sound” in 5 words or less.
Brass Knuckles: Aggressive, Melodic, Soulful, Rock, Energy
OTB: Which artists have had the biggest influence on your sound? Who would your ultimate dream collaboration be with (dead or alive)?
Brass Knuckles: We incorporate influences from of our musical tastes, which include Justice, Daft Punk, Jay – Z , Radiohead, Sam Smith, Steve Aoki, Diplo, Skrillex, and a whole lot more. We’d love to collaborate with any of those artists.
OTB: If you could make any other type of music, what would it be and why?
Brass Knuckles: Well, we do make a lot of different styles of music – from hip hop to deep, UK garage to straight up indie rock. When creativity hits, there’s no stopping us. Not everything is going to be “Brass Knuckles,” but the beauty of Brass Knuckles is that we can incorporate our love of all these eclectic genres into our sound. You can hear it in our music from old records of ours like “Lie To You” and “Bad Habits” to our upcoming single “Water Gun.”
OTB: Tell us about your upcoming release “Water Gun.” What was your inspiration? How did you come up with the name?
Brass Knuckles: First off – When working with John Ryan one thing is for certain, you never know what you’re going to get but it’s sure as hell going to be original and great. Things just come out of the blue; the spur of the moment. But when we came up with the melodies and concept, it just poured out like water (no pun intended). We definitely were inspired by the Gorrilaz on this one. We also wanted to incorporate our love for soul and organic instruments – hence the bright pianos.
OTB: What are some ways that your lives have changed since you started your music career?
Brass Knuckles: Being in the music business is like being married to a very needy wife. It’s very demanding, but when you come home – let’s say the payoff is great 😉 This industry really taught us the meaning of hustle. It keeps you on your feet, tests your creativity and never stops teaching you lessons – both in business and life. There is no business like show business.
OTB: What are 3 tracks that you love to play at the moment and why?
Brass Knuckles: We’re going to start with our single with the Cataracs called “Crack!” This track just works in all types of settings. If we play it in a club or at a festival and people are hearing it for the first time the reaction is always great.
ZHU – Faded (Steve James Remix) and the 100 percent vs Gecko (Cobra Bootleg) have both been great tracks to play because they take elements of deep house but display them in a big room format.
OTB: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Brass Knuckles: This may sound crazy to most – but one lesson that sticks out to us is to never fall too in love with a record. Many times young producers will make a record, fall in love with it and hold on to it to the point that it hinders their production flow. Producing records is like working out. The more records you produce, the better the results. You have to keep making music, keep moving. Not every record is going to see the light of day – but keep at it; keep firing.
OTB: What’s the number one question you get asked a lot that you wish you never again had to answer?
Brass Knuckles: I think it’s safe to say when people ask us how we came up with the name Brass Knuckles. We don’t mind answering the question but its like clockwork at this point haha.
OTB: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges that the dance music scene faces these days? How can we work to improve the culture?
Brass Knuckles: It seems like the dance scene has reached a cusp very similar to the early 90’s. Hair metal bands and pop rap (MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice) were on the way out. Grunge and Gangster Rap were on the way in. We feel the challenge right now is finding the next big thing that will resonate with the growing dance scene, but will also add substance and legitimacy to the art.
OTB: You guys say some pretty funny stuff on your Twitter. Do you have a joke or riddle you can share with our readers?
Brass Knuckles: We don’t have a joke or a riddle at the moment but we highly suggest watching the video where a man explains the Wife Zone Chart. It explains in detail how to find or pick the perfect gf/wife.
OTB: You describe yourselves as a band and not a DJ group. When people come to one of your shows what can they expect to see/hear? How do you combine the electronic and live aspects?
Brass Knuckles: We all encompass a lot of musical talent within the group. We incorporate Djing with live guitar and visuals that we control ourselves. Our sets are fun, and high energy. On a lot of our new productions we are blending Rock and Roll with electronic music. Get ready for phase two of Brass Knuckles.
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