The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble has got more than enough on their plate right now, as they continue to tour through the fall, work on yet another album after contributing to a compilation album this past June, as well as find time to jam together. What kind of music does this trio from Germany make? Why, emotional body music, of course.
“Hehe, it was more of a joke, but then again it reflects better what we want to do than any common existing style,” says the group. “As we don’t think we fit into anything and also don’t wanna limit the sounds with words, we just never really had an answer when people asked us what we do… Music for the unification of body and mind basically.”
What they do is collaborate with other musicians and DJs to create sounds and music that can’t be placed in one genre, like on Modeselektion Vol. 3, a compilation album released June 27th, by Monkeytown Records. “For Modeselektors compilation we just contributed one song, that we made with Om’Mas Keith and Vic Mensa. In general, we definitely layer a lot of elements that we recorded one after the other. But the tendency lately is to record more things at once. Which usually means jamming all three together.”
Brandt Brauer Frick worked with Om’Mas Keith on another project as well – the music video for “Plastic Like Your Mother,” which you can watch on FDRMX below. Daniel Brandt and the dancer and choreographer Kiani del Valle came up with the idea for the video which features camera-box-head dancers. We had to ask them if the costume prop had some deep symbolic meaning. “[They don’t] exactly symbolize, but yes, we liked the switch of perspective. They look kind of blank and watching the video, you can for moments ‘be’ one of them. And also the unclear spectators relationship: do we watch them or do they watch us?”
The trio isn’t afraid to explore other themes and styles either. In fact, they really can’t be pinned down at all, whether into one genre or one music video style. In their music video for “Pretend” featuring Emika, there’s a lot going on. In their words, it’s “Apocalypse basically! Decadence and deadly sins will always stay relevant…” Also featured on the Encyclopedia of Music, the music video has sort of nostalgic 1920’s-30’s thing going on in it, a look that often carries over to the band image. The appeal of this era to the band is the romance of it. “In Berlin, like in some other places, the 20s are still seen as a Golden age,” Brandt Brauer Frick say. “The city had 1 million more inhabitants than nowadays, before Nazis, the second world war and separation came. Pictures from the 20s usually look very classy and elegant, and they relate to a big cultural opening in that time. Probably it is also far away enough for us to project things into it.”
Whether they’re projecting into this Golden age or not, the band and their video do indeed look classy. Actually, their music stems from classical origins, and each member learned how to play instruments from childhood on. Dan Brandt studied drums and piano, Jan Brauer learned keyboard, and Paul Frick the piano and guitar. Not only classical, but jazz and rock as well. Actually, Jan and Daniel met playing top 40 songs in their school band. They go as far back as that, and they’re showing no signs of stopping. They’ve got a gig coming up – the Beethovenfest at the Telekom Forum on September 13th. And after? “We’re working big time on our next album, together with the Montreal based singer Beaver Sheppard,” Frick says. “Also finishing some music for a movie soundtrack and several remixes. And we go to play a few concerts in Asia in October.”
Although the group started out with just E-drums, keyboards and a Groovebox (making their tracks prime for remixes), Brandt Brauer Frick have also evolved enough to play with a ten-piece backing ensemble (hence the “Ensemble” part of their name). This wasn’t a one-time thing, either. “We still play with our ensemble! It’s become a bit less right now, but gonna get more active again soon,” Frick insists. “As a trio, Daniel plays actually an acoustic drumset since two years ago, and a bit of Nord drums,” he says. “The trio is much more about rocking energy and about jamming, whereas the Ensemble music sounds mostly a bit more delicate, and everything is rather fixed, so it doesn’t fall apart,” he explains. “The feelings are always different, that’s why we never got tired of it so far!”
After all their hard work, it’s nice to sometimes take a breather, sit back for a moment and re-coop, especially with a refreshing beverage in hand. Their drink of choice?
“Mezcal Sour is one of our favourites! Without egg. In Mexico we discovered that Mezcal is pretty much the most psychedelic alcohol available,” says Frick. “It seems to do something else with you than other booze. And now a bar next to our studio does it amazingly well. On tour we definitely like to check out local stuff of the place we’re at.” Frick adds these words of wisdom, “And well, at home it’s also important to not always drink haha…”