Don't Fear the Vibe
Mixing is so much more than a simple step-by-step arranging process—it’s an experience. What always interested me (circa 2014) with mixes and song “mashups” was the ability for a bunch of different songs and sounds to create an energy. A vibe, if you will. This, to me, allowed me to feel the impact of music on an entirely new level. Despite my prior identity as a dedicated athlete, I was also someone who turned to music for most of my mental and emotional needs. Whether it was getting focused to some motivating hip-hop before a basketball game, feeling understood by the comforting flows of Lauryn Hill, or taking a nostalgic trip back in time to my childhood with groups like A Tribe Called Quest, the benefit of music for me was not just listening but feeling. I was especially fascinated by mixes that captured a specific theme to me. I felt like it gave even more substance to a mix rather than simply being a track list of popular songs people might enjoy. This is when I knew I wanted to start making my own. It seemed easy to just bring together popular or exclusive songs and blend them together well, but the idea of putting together my own arrangement of different vibe-creating sounds to create an experience opened up my mind to an endless realm of song/artist/genre options, themes, and ideas.
My main mission is to share the experience of being able to not only feel personally but to connect others collectively as they listen along to a mutual vibe. I truly just wanted to provide the experience of hearing a mix to be more than singing along to your favorite hits every single song.
Becoming entranced with listening to and exploring different sounds, I’ve developed not only a crave for finding new or underground talent but a true newfound respect for so many young, inspiring artists and the power of music itself. I find inspiration through both everywhere I go and everything I feel now. In fact, the “idea-mapping” process for me has so far been almost serendipitous every time. I would start by hearing a song that almost instantly projects a specific vibe, theme or message to me. Then almost as if my mind were a Pandora-styled vault, any songs that gave me a strong similar feeling would start to automatically list in my head. With such a wide variety of options now sound-wise it kind of amazed me how naturally I could compose a working tracklist in my head. I was almost certain that I could string together tracks that flowed with each other and maintain the same vibe.
In making “DON'T FEAR THE VIBE”, I wanted to challenge myself by exploring electric/house/noir type of vibes. Many of which I originally never even listened to prior to. It really amazed me how many multifaceted black artists and creatives I found, and that felt powerful. This idea of multiplicity perfectly aligns with what Brainwash represents. To me this mix is representation in a way that does not imitate but enhances these genres and styles by the artists making them their own. To me this mix is a showcase of talented instrumental musicianship, production, and overall song/vibe-creating skills in a different style that we often rule out as being meant for us to excel in, let alone allow ourselves to enjoy. This mix was me showing that we as not only artists but creatives have no true boundaries. Don’t fear it.