Name: Brandon Coleman
Occupation: Keyboarder, vocalist, composer, producer, arranger, astral traveler
Recent release: Brandon Coleman's Interstellar Black Space is out via Brainfeeder.
Recommendations: There’s a really good book entitled The 1619 project by Nikole Hannah-Jones.
Another good book is Woke Racism by John McWhorter.
If you enjoyed this interview with Brandon Coleman and would like to find out more about his work, visit him on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started writing and producing in my 20s. I was constantly working with different vocalist in myriads of bands that I played in around town and writing and arranging songs for their projects.
I technically started playing drums at about the age of 12, when I attended Colburn school of the performing arts. I wanted to be a jazz bebop drummer!! I was emphatically drawn to my big brother (Marcus Coleman) and his love for music. He played piano, bass and saxophone!!
Not to mention I have early memories of him cramming his big band in our living room and rehearsing Duke Ellington and Count Basie tunes!
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
When I listen to music I feel a connection to my ancestors. I can visually see the lineage of which it’s derived. It’s an extremely spiritual encounter, that I do not take for granted.
This surreal experience drastically reflects my artistic approach. I’m always connecting with the higher power so I can transcend the moment and react.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
Well, I definitely didn’t set out to be in artist. I think artistry finds you when you’re applicable.
I’ve been a sideline musician for the last 20 plus years performing with several acts and artists. I think once you feel like you have something to say to the world, that’s when you’re acknowledging your inner voice. And for me cultivating and developing that voice has been an absolute thrill.
Because essentially you just have to be authentic to yourself and your voice magnifies and becomes greater. And setting my intentions was absolutely necessary! I want to spread love.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
Well I’ve always wanted to create music that was centered around love and peaceful intentions. I only really allow these type of frequencies into my space.
And because I’ve taken such a bold step in that direction I only attract the music that I need to survive. I’m a huge proponent on manifesting what I want.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I’d say spirituality, persistence and paying homage. Not to mention the funk! Very important element.
I have so much respect for the people who’ve paved the way for us to explore such a vast canvas to pull from. I hold these elements at the helm of what I do.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I’m a huge proponent of upholding tradition and also the exploration of the future. Originality, innovation and tradition, all work together for me. I like to use my imagination and tie in traditional elements that keep the music and lineage present. But also pushing the boundaries as artists is what we’re here to do. Also reflecting the times we’re living is essential.
It’s definitely a huge task but as a jazz musician at heart, I’m up for the challenges.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
By far analog synthesizers and the latest technology. I think by having these technological advances makes it extremely easy to not only document what you're envisioning but to explore more depth of an original concept. Analog synthesizers bring my music alive, also my signature vocoder sound.
Personally I like to record all of my ideas for a song and go back and carve something that wasn’t the original concept. That way it’s truly original and the idea gets two births, if you will.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I usually start off journaling, even if I just jot down a few words. Then I have to play an instrument. That usually gets my brain flowing.
Every day is different, most of my mornings I have to answer emails, sometimes I have to do more production work in my studio.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My creative process is very organic. But yet at times spontaneous.
Particularly I like to meditate in the woods, clear my mind. And let the natural frequencies coagulate.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Well, particularly I like to work alone.
I certainly don’t mind collaborating with other creatives. Having other energy in your space can be tricky because in order to create true magic you all have to be completely in sync. So because of this, I’m all I need.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
It’s a spiritual thing, I can feel what people are feeling and I transcend that energy into creative endeavors.
I think music should be a reflection of life. I strive to create music that pushes the boundaries of sonic capability to physical emotions.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I’ve always been fascinated with how some patterns exactly replicate the ancient sacred geometry patterns and how music is completely relative to vibrations and frequency.
“Music is science and science is music.”
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I think once you’ve tapped into your creative feng shui, you’re tapped in.
Because I reached such a high level in my creative practices, I can do anything exceptionally well, be it cooking, craftsman‘s work, or even sex.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Music is sacred. Every rhythm has a story and every melody has a tale. If the two are brought together intentionally, a transmission is created.