We had the opportunity to catch up with one of the Moombahton world’s biggest names when Bro Safari and Tittsworth came through New York City on June 8th to play at our favorite venue, Webster Hall, for their Bros Gone Wild Tour. We’d like to thank Bro Safari for taking a few minutes out of his pre-set preparations to sit down with us and answer a few questions that we’ve been dying to ask him…
TD: First, Bro Safari, can you tell us your real name, age, and where you are originally from as well as where you currently reside?
BS: My name is Nick Weiller, I’m 33 years old, I’m originally from Atlanta, and I live in Austin, Texas.
TD: How did you come up with your producer alias, “Bro Safari”?
BS: I have no idea. I mean, people have asked me that recently, and I don’t remember. I came up with it around 2008 and I really don’t remember the circumstances behind it. So there’s no secret meaning, I’m going to make something up for future interviews so that it sounds cooler. Often, people say, “call me brosef”, and I feel like that has something to do with it, there’s some sort of correlation there, brosef – Bro Safari, I’m sure that had something to do with it. I originally started the project as something different entirely, it was more dubstep, it was really a side project for what I was doing at the time, so I didn’t put much thought into it. It evolved, and it fits really well I think, I love it.
TD: Who instilled the love that you have for music? What did you grow up as a child listening to?
BS: The earliest music that I owned was punk rock stuff. My sister, who is five years older than me, when I was in 3rd or 4th grade (like nine or ten years old), she listened to Dead Kennedys, Misfits, you know, like typical, cliché, angsty, youth punk rock. My first cassette that I ever bought was “Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death” (Dead Kennedys) and my mom made me return it because she didn’t like the artwork on it. So I bought Guns n’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” in return, which is way worse as far as content. I’d say that’s what I listened to at a young age, punk rock, and then I got into like N.W.A. in middle school. I just really loved the drum work and old gangster hip hop.
TD: Do you play any musical instruments?
BS: I play guitar, that’s what I’m best at, not that I’m good at it, but that is what comes most naturally to me. I play bass, and I played the drums for a couple of bands when I was in high school.
TD: What career would you pursue if not music?
BS: I have no idea. I’m really into people, reading people, so I guess maybe some form of psychology.
TD: Tell us a little bit about Minus Music, your new project, and who is MK?
BS: MK is Matthew Kelly. Minus Music originally was myself and Jake, who now goes by Kill The Noise, and that was our project to do kind-of experimental glitch, IDM stuff, and then we just both stopped doing it. Years later, I met this vocalist, MK, and we put together a few songs, and we needed a name so, since I’ve always liked Minus Music as a name, I asked Jake if he minded, and he didn’t care. Now we’re using the name under a new context. MK used to sing for a band called The Autumns as well as for a band called The Sound of Animals Fighting. He’s super talented and an incredibly intelligent, sharp guy. He’s currently getting a Doctorate in Middle Eastern Studies, so he’s living in Jerusalem. It’s very difficult as far as collaborating, so it took this project three to four years to totally come to fruition. The four songs that we put on the EP, those date back three to four years. The newer stuff is more updated in terms of production, a little more “groove” oriented, for lack of a better term, like not dance music, but more drum loops as opposed to live drums. I want to continue playing guitar on it, too.
TD: How do you divide your time between all of the projects that you have going on? How do you decide what takes precedent and when?
BS: I work my ass off. I prioritize. Having all of these different projects, some have been around longer than others and have the ability to kind of stand on their own for a couple of months if they need to. Like Evol Intent, one of my other groups, I can leave that for a month or two without doing anything new, and it will stay afloat. So, as far as picking what is most important, I don’t know how, there’s no rhyme or reason really. I just kind of, whatever I’m really into, I tend to make a lot of that at the time and then I move onto the next thing, and I sit on it. Like right now, I have eight to ten Bro Safari tracks now at this point that I could release at once, but instead, I’ll hold them back and wait and release every once in a while. In the meantime, while I’m letting that stuff go, I’ll work on more Evol Intent or more Minus Music stuff or whatever it is.
TD: As Bro Safari, where do you see your sound progressing to in the future?
BS: That is totally open ended. Stylistically everything changes constantly. I mean, I started Bro Safari before I had even heard moombahton. When I started it, I was doing like glitch, weird, chopped-up dubstep, and then it turned into dancefloor moombahton, and now I’m doing like “dubstep moombahton”, kuduro, a bunch of different stuff now. So it’s definitely open ended. I have no specific vision, I’m just, not going to stop, see where the road takes me.
TD: There is a huge TRAP storm currently happening. Lots of producers are switching gears rapidly; jumping ship from moombahton and onto the new whirlwind of the trap scene. Are you into it?
BS: I love it, I love 808s [the backbone of trap music, the 808 drum kit]. Like I said earlier, N.W.A. was like my first love when it came to programming drums and 808s. I love it, like Flosstradamus, they’re fuckin’ awesome, like, let them do what they’re doing, and nobody needs to come along and think that they can do it better, because they can’t. You know what I mean? Like Baauer, that dude’s awesome, Flosstradamus, Heroes and Villains, there’s tons more, but I worry about people coming in and ruining the sound on something that’s really cool”
TD: Besides the trap epidemic, moombahton is still quite new for a lot of producers who are dabbling in the genre. What makes you stand out as a producer in such an oversaturated EDM world?
BS: I think that’s for someone else to give a real in-depth answer on because, for me, it’s as simple as, whatever I’m feeling when I’m in the studio, is what I work on. I don’t know how each individual perceives my music, you may hear a song, and it sounds a certain way to you, but it sounds completely different to me because I know what I did to make that sound a certain way. I try not to put too much thought into it, that’s the thing, I try to let go of all that shit and just make whatever comes naturally. You know, just load up my sequencer, and whatever I’ve been into for that last 24 hour period kind of just spills out, well, my version of it.
TD: As far as the “Bros Gone Wild” tour, what has been your favorite moment/show? What are you most looking forward to?
BS: Tonight is what I’ve been looking forward to the most, Webster Hall. So far, before tonight, our biggest crowd was San Francisco; it was a really good show. LA, the first show of the tour, was really energetic, so that was memorable. Vancouver was really good. I have to be diplomatic about it in a sense and mention everyone, but so far the tour has gone really well. I’ve enjoyed traveling with these guys a lot. In particular, Tittsworth, who is such a unique dude. He eats like, raw octopus and shit. I mean, I don’t know anybody like that, so traveling with him is cool. It’s nice to have these guys around because they complement my personality. Like I could be seriously a control freak and sort of rigid, I don’t want to say uptight, but I can be uptight about shit that’s not going how it’s supposed to be, and then Jesse [Tittsworth] comes along and he’s super easy-going, and it rubs off on me.
TD: What is your favorite track at the moment (not your own)?
BS: None of my tracks would ever be my “favorite track”, that would be incredibly narcissistic. This is so hard, I have a few people that, whenever they send me something new, no matter what it is, I love. Kill The Noise is one of those people, some of his new stuff is amazing, and Feed Me as well. “Lana’s Theme” by Flosstradamus I think is fuckin’ cool, and I’ve only heard it for the first time a few days ago.
TD: Since you dedicate a majority of your time to music in some way, shape, or form, on almost a daily basis, and mix this with being out of town on tour a lot, how do you balance your family life and career?
BS: It’s always more home than tour life. With the agency that I work with, I am super focused on making sure that I have more time at home than on the road. I have a one-year-old kid, and I don’t want to miss any of it. I know that when I’m an old man, I will look back on my music stuff, and say, “Wow, that was cool”, but I know what’s more important. And to me, family is more important so, I balance it by keeping that in mind always.
TD: Is there one track that you drop in every single live set? What is it? If not, what is your “go-to” track to get a live crowd started?
BS: Yes, there are a lot of them actually. A lot of Jay Fay’s tunes, crowds always love his tunes, and Valentino Khan as well. His “Coolie Fruit” remix I love. And then Flosstradamus, their “Original Don” remix, you can play that anywhere and people love it. I’ll play it tonight, I’m sure.
TD: What would be your dream collaboration?
BS: I would love to work with people outside of dance music, like Tom York, I don’t even know what I would do if I was in the studio with him, but I’d love it.