BangOn!NYC parties constantly instill a lasting impression on those who attend with their unique visual aspects and atypical way of doing things. Creatures of the Night brought an outdoor silent disco, a zip line, a floating interactive UFO, and 3D projection mapping by Rhizome NYC on 3 giant animal skulls. It’s important to the founders to bring in artists and DJ’s who match this creative energy, making the event the most out-of-this-world experience that it can be. It’s easy to see why the brought SNBRN in for the occasion. He erupted in the scene with his signature blend of house, hip hop, rock, progressive, and indie, self-proclaiming his sound as sunset house. Before his set we got the chance to sit down with this native Cali boy to find out about how he hit the spotlight, his smash hit ‘Raindrops‘, and what the world is eager to hear about: his future.
DB: So how did you start your music career? Were you in any bands growing up?
I started in bands in high school and around 2008 I was in an electro alias and kind of just did that for 4 years; a couple of different ones and more of your mainstream EDM market. Then, just this past year I got really tired of it and just decided that I was going to do something for me and see what happens. I was doing both projects and then I fell in love with it because I was doing what I wanted to do. I found my manager now and we built this whole project and have just done whatever we wanted to do. Its been a blast; I’ve had more fun producing and touring than I have in my entire life.
DB: Do you play any instruments?
I play guitar, drums, piano, and trumpet. I was in a Jazz band when I was in middle school.
DB: Ever think of incorporating those instruments into your music and playing a live set?
That’s what we’re doing tonight. We have a saxophone player; I’ll introduce you.
DB: What about you, personally?
Maybe. I’m working on the live show for eventually, down the road, and bringing out what I can do. Because I can play the keys but not on the spot really well; that’s not my forte. But stuff like Gorgon [City] and Disclosure do with all the re-triggering and launch pads, be more interactive, almost like remixing your own songs on the fly. But it’s like, you have to be able to do that to your own songs. And now I’m getting to a point where I have enough to do a full hour and a half set of my own music.
DB: I don’t know if you’re one of those “Fuck genres” kind of guys but how would describe your style?
It’s so difficult; I think that’s a really good thing. If you can categorize what do so easily, you’re doing something that everyone else is already doing. For me it’s like, it’s not deep, it’s not disco, it’s kind of indie, it kind of has main room elements. It’s just a big mix of progressive, melodic, deep, indie, dance.
DB: And this is where people come up with their own genres.
Yeah, like Sunset House.
DB: Sunset House?
Yeah, that’s one that me and my manager came up with because everyone categorizes and thinks I’m going to be like Thomas Jack, like it’s this mellow set and then at the end everyone is like, ‘Whoa. That’s a lot different than I thought it was going to be.’ Classic records throwing in hip hop, throwing in rock. Just playing what I want to play and keeping… for me it’s all about the energy. I don’t know, people think I’m going to have this really tropical, mellow vibe. I’m the guy that’s on the DJ booth spraying people with champagne, just raging. I grew up in a club environment and it’s like house records is what I play, with some deep. I love Gorgon City and Dusky and some of those other dudes and will mix that in along with keeping it super house-y. BUT, it’s the energy; you’re a headliner and you’re playing really slow, tropical music. I would be bored if I went to that show.
DB: I saw you were at Winter Music Conference/Miami Music Week and played a ton of different parties. How was that for you and what did you gain from the experience?
It was the best networking experience. I finally got to meet so many people that I’ve been talking to online for like a year. Finally got to meet Sam Feldt, my agent, and hang out with everybody. Then just played so much music and so much collaborative stuff. I did a back to back with Shaun Frank and I did a bunch of live stuff with violinists and saxophone players; played day parties, night parties. I came out really inspired and tired but it was fun.
DB: ‘Raindrops’ absolutely blew up during CRSSD Fest. Did you ever expect that going into it?
No. I thought it was going to do really well but the reception and how quickly…there was a moment I called my mom and was like, ‘What the fuck is going on right now?’ When you’re on the radio… I remember the exact moment: I was in an Uber, getting a ride back to my house and it came on and I was like, ‘This is surreal.’ I didn’t think it would… it just had a mind of its own. Me and Kerli…. she’s just amazing. She worked so hard on her vocals and did all the processing that it made my job so easy. We came together and spent so much time… we came together at the beginning and then she went her way and did all the vocals while I was writing the track. Then she sent everything back and we just had two pieces of the puzzle. We put them together and then we all sat down and had lunch and like, ‘I think we got something here.’ We were vibing really hard to it and we knew we had it and it was going to be great but we had no idea it was going to be as big as it is.
DB: How did you guys come together for the track?
Warner put us in contact and just threw us in the studio in Venice Beach and we were both like, ‘Uhhh what do we do?’ And just got to know each other and talked about life and came up with the idea of what we wanted to do. Then we went our separate ways and worked it out in our own space and she did such a great job, I can’t tell you. Her part just made it so easy; she just killed it.
DB: When you guys vibe together, that’s so important.
Oh we vibed and that was so important because there are so many tracks that will have an instrumental and I’ll get sent an acapella, this and that. This is.. everything was done from scratch. It just makes it so much more special.
DB: What’s your and Dr. Fresch’s relationship like? I hear you guys are like the dynamic duo.
It’s actually a really crazy story. He taught me how to DJ almost 5 years ago. I needed to learn CDJs and I ended up at a frat house at USC and Dr. Fresch taught me how to DJ, and this was before we were friends or anything. We reconnected in Miami 2 years ago and slowly became really close friends. He introduced me to my manager now and we just built this whole family together. We always DJ together and we vibe so hard and help each other with music. It’s cool to be able to fly to the other side of the country with your best friend and play a warehouse party.
DB: You’re from Cali so how is it to be out here in New York?
It’s so awesome. I fuckin’ love it! Me and him are like, ‘We need to move out here for at least 6 months and do some writing.’
DB: You should! I did it and now I’ve been here for over 5 years. So, what’s the rest of your year look like? I know you’re playing a bunch of festivals.
I’m playing so many festivals. Yeah, a lot of really cool collabs; I can’t say much now. Just signing tracks; I can’t say anything. All I can say is keep your eyes out. Lots of big originals and official remixes coming out very very soon.
DB: No plans for an album or EP yet?
No album right now, just working on singles and an EP. And really just trying to make… ya know, I spent so much time on trying to be unique and different, something that I’m really really proud of, instead of trying to get as much content out as possible. I want to really step back and make sure everything is something that I’m going to be proud of in 10 years.
Photo by Sara Wass Photo