Doc Brown have an honest and raising career. Their musical selection and good judgment has dared borders. Their productions are a powerful statement of their no holds barred musical approach. We had a chance to talk to him, so enjoy your reading our interview below to find out more about Brown’s work, wide-spanning influences and favourite music.
To be honest, I listened to some pop-dance & freestyle music when I was much younger, but it wasn’t until I moved to Miami that I got the full taste for club music and clubs in general. I actually got into mixing by watching battle DJs like Qbert, Craze and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz—I was inspired to go out and buy two 1200s and a battle mixer, but quickly found I was drawn more to the longer, more improvisational mixing of breakbeat and drum & bass records. From there it progressed to playing and listening to mostly house, tech-house & techno.
How did you decide to move into production?
I had messed around with sequencing MIDI and layering audio on the computer in high school and college, but producing tracks with the purpose of signing & releasing them commercially didn’t happen until much later…when I was regularly DJing in clubs. I realized that if I wanted to take my career to the next level, simply being a DJ was not going to get that done. Interestingly, I now enjoy the production much more as a creative endeavor. DJing is a lot of fun, but producing tracks is extremely challenging—from the process of writing & engineering to finding quality labels to sign them—so it’s extremely rewarding to find success with it.
You’re just about to launch a new label, Unlearn… what ’s the meaning behind the name and what can we expect from it?
The idea behind the word ‘unlearn’ is that we all have many learned behaviors we perform subconsciously all the time. Sometimes, we need to rethink how we do things—and even what we believe—in order to move forward. As far as Unlearn:Records, that means looking at the the label/artist relationship at its core. I feel too many labels have become simply a vehicle for artists to release music & nothing else. Investment in both artists & releases is essential for success—if more labels actually invested in their artists/releases, you would definitely see a rise in the quality and decrease in the quantity of signings. It’s more of a long-term thing & is something the most successful labels do well.
Will there be record just from yourself or other artists as well?
The first few releases will feature music from me as well as some collaborations and remixes, but heading into 2021 you will be seeing releases from a variety of artists. Sometimes I feel my music often sits just outside of the neat little bins we all like to define our genres by, and I’d like to think this will be a great creative outlet for artists that make amazing music that falls in those same spaces.
What is the first release?
The first release is a two-track EP of mine, featuring two songs I’ve been playing out for a while: “Voices In Yr Head” & “Connection”. Both tracks are tried-and-tested and I feel very strong about the release. I have gotten so many ID requests on the lead track over the past few months…and the flipside is a nice compliment for those that want something a little less-vocal driven. I’m really excited to finally get these out there!
Given that Covid has taken away pretty much all live shows, do you think there will be a real increase in the amount of new music and labels coming out soon? Surely that has to be a positive?
I’m not sure to be honest; I think in hearing from other artists…this has all affected them differently. For me, it’s been a great time of focused creativity and immense output. For others, it stifled their creativity and they’re only now just feeling like making music again. I definitely feel like this is the time for the ‘bedroom DJ/producer’ to shine, though. A lot of the systems that were in place before have all gone sideways; you’re seeing up-and-comers making noise on new platforms like Twitch, big labels are listening through demos & signing less-developed artists, and people are getting a much better sense of who is out there doing work and making it happen now that the smoke & mirrors have disappeared. From a creative standpoint, maybe this could be just the reset the dance world needed.
Could you recommend a set that you are especially proud of, and that we can see on your Soundcloud or on YouTube? What makes it stand out?
I have to say, one of my favorite sets I’ve played was on 2019’s Groove Cruise out of Miami. It was the Stereo Productions afterhours party, and on the boat the music plays 24 hours continuous…so all of the parties just kind of run together. I came on immediately following BlackGummy (whose sound is a bit of a departure from Chus & Ceballos) so it was a unique opportunity to play a real heads-down transitional set with some techno & dark and groovy tech house…eventually bringing the tempo down & working in some more house & bouncy stuff toward the end. The crowd was electric & I knew it was one of those special nights early in. The real icing on the cake was getting the love from Chus & Ceballos themselves, sharing it out with a message welcoming me to the Stereo family. All in all, it was pretty magical and, I think, one of my best-received sets of all time.
We don’t want to dwell on mistakes, but sometimes you can learn great things from doing things wrong or badly. Are there any instances of that in your career that you could tell us about?
Yikes. Mistakes? Who, me? Haha…yes, probably too many for me even to remember them all. I’ll be honest, I think the biggest one for me was learning not to have too many drinks before performing. And to be doubly honest, it took me a while to really come around on that. You want to think that you’re cool and can handle everything but the truth is—at least for me, personally—I’m more likely to make mechanical mistakes when I’m intoxicated. The flipside is that alcohol definitely loosens me up when I’m feeling tight and out of flow, but it’s a really fine line to walk…and not one I think a lot people do very well.
Where would you like to see yourself and the label in 5 years time?
Although 5 years is a bit ahead of the end goal, eventually what I’d like to have is a weekly party at a major club in Ibiza. To me, that is the pinnacle of success as a brand in our industry—and I don’t really see any point in aiming at anything less than the top of the mountain. Certainly within 5 years as an artist I want to be releasing regularly on the world’s best labels, and also to have the Unlearn:Records brand recognized worldwide. A solid foundation of success doing events locally is a key benchmark & hopefully we’ll be at the point where we are planning to take the brand & party itself on tour.
What can you tell us about the scene of your city? What would you improve?
Miami has an amazing scene for dance music; I’m very fortunate to live here. I’ve been able to regularly see & network with so many touring artists just because I’m in Miami—this is not only a regular tour stop, but it has multiple major festivals all throughout the year. I definitely have to attribute a lot of my success not only to that networking, but being able to play in front of the real superfans that travel the world for dance music events (and catching their ear). Locally, DJ competition is pretty fierce—but for as much competition as there is for underpaid opening slots, there should probably be more hustle applied in the studio. There are too many talented people here that know what works on the dancefloor; Miami should be known as one of the best cities in the world for dance musicians…not just partygoers!
Finally, what can you tell us about your future projects?
Aside from the label, I’ve just signed a new one of mine called “Twitch Chat” to Farris Wheel which I’m really excited about and will be coming out later this year. I’ve been saving so many demos in a potential pool for the label, I just in the past few weeks have started to send some around to labels again so that’s always fun…ermmmm… I’ve also got my monthly radio show Unlearn:Radio on Data Transmission and I started a new weekly Twitch show, Unlearn:Sundays, that has been going extremely well. It’s honestly a a blast, the real-time interaction with the people watching is really unique…I love it! In the end for me, it’s always been about connecting with people through music, so however I can continue to make that happen I will…