Over a month ago, Trap Lord Brillz released his recent collaborations with Ghastly and Laxx on his “Geekin EP” via Mad Decent. The Twonk originator has inked a deal with Diplo’s record label and will be showcasing his new material on his 40-plus date Twonk Di Nation Tour. This tour is massive, as he is accompanied by his homies Party Favor, Ghastly, Laxx (both of whom were featured on the “Geekin EP”), Dotcom, Dr. Fresch, Jackal, Willy Joy and Kayzo, amongst others. Before his Philadelphia show, I sat down with Brillz and got to talk to him about his roots, TWONK and his upcoming album.
The Triangle: You’ve been around bass music for a while, so just tell us a bit about how you got here.
Brillz: When I was a junior in high school, I went to my first rave and that was a life changing experience because I was weird and the rave scene was very welcoming. I kept going to raves, but after some time I started doing other stuff like playing in a band, but I got back into the electronic scene in 2006 when I moved back to Los Angeles. I met this kid Jake, who is Kill the Noise, and we started hanging out and producing electronic music that was going around then which was block house. But since then I’ve been discovering myself and my contribution to electronic music.
TT: So going off that, what was the difference between the rave scene then and now?
Brillz: Main difference is, well, I wouldn’t say festivals because there wasn’t really much back then, but the main difference is the shows. Shows today are your typical concerts, but back then it was a hangout. You would walk around the club, dance, see your friends and have interactions while the DJ and music was the soundtrack to that. But one thing that has remained constant over the years is the energy.
TT: Take us through the past year, some highlights and some challenges you faced so far.
Brillz: I started out the year in writing mode where I wrote a few songs for the EP. The first half of the year was great and inspiring because I played a bunch of festivals and tours. In early October I put out my EP and started planning and playing the tour. We have an amazing lineup with artists I truly admire and respect. I am stoked to spend time with them, collaborate and share experiences. So far it’s probably been one of my best years.
TT: What’s it like working with artists such as Ghastly and Kill the Noise?
Brillz: They are all great. I love getting in the studio and working with producers I admire. There is a lot of energy as we bounce ideas back and forth, like two minds create a third mind when the ideas come together—I know this sounds weird—but that’s really exciting.
TT: Who are some favorite up and coming artists?
Brillz: Oh man, let me think for a minute. Well I’m inclined to give Ghastly a shoutout. In the past—well, not even a year because I met him right before Miami Music Week in March but in that time—I got to know him and understand the depth of him as a human. His creativity and passion for what he is doing is insane. He does this cool thing on instagram called Deleting Random Fact where he shares some very personal incident, and I think that is very dope when an artist does that. I know he’s going to crush it.
TT: So you’ve been to Philly a couple times now and we obviously love trap, how do you like playing here?
Brillz: Last year when we played here it was one of my favorite shows on the tour because it was so electrifying. When I found out we were doing to do a show here I was really thrilled. I did Hyperglow a few months ago and it was a sold out all ages show so that was really ratchet. But Soundgarden Hall is next level, if you mention Philly to any artists in LA they immediately talk about how Soundgarden Hall is a dope venue.
TT: So how did TWONK come to be and what does it mean to you?
Brillz: TWONK is multi-dimensional intelligence and it just came one day and I can’t explain it and I f-ck with it (laughs). Good answer right? But on a serious note it’s about being weird and being unique. We all have our personal relationship with music and art and with TWONK it means whatever it means to you. When you listen to our music and you vibe with it you could use TWONK to describe how you feel.
TT: A few years ago, I read your Facebook post about your opinion on drugs and I respected that. Sadly, kids still experiment with drugs, so if there was a piece of advice you could give them what would it be?
Brillz: You got to stay true to yourself: there is that little voice in the back of your head that tells you the good sh-t and you have to listen to it. It’s tough trying to fit in, it’s a part of human nature. I’ve been sober now, but I have a lot of homies who don’t call or hang out with me anymore because of this but you have to trust yourself and know that those who don’t want to hang out with you cause you don’t do drugs, never really cared about you. The bottom line is that the music is still incredible so you don’t need that. It’s sad when you hear a story about some girl dying at a rave, especially when you are playing a set and you find out someone is dying, due to a lack of education or mature mindset. I know my music is turn up music: that’s the kind of stuff that makes me dance. But I think there is a balance. At some point, addiction becomes a problem and I’ve struggled with it, but if I can reach out to those kids and get them to have fun at a rave and just enjoy the music without them relying on drugs, I know I’ve done my part.
TT: Finally, what is the strangest message/comment you’ve received on social media?
Brillz: I got one it’s not creepy, but it was funny. Last week, it was the first or second show, but this girl sent me a direct message and said, “Brillz that was my first time seeing you and I went into the mosh pit and I got punched in the face and elbowed in the nose and my nose started to bleed but I’m f-cking stoked, it was the best time ever,” and I was like damn, she’s hard core.
You can catch Brillz on the Twonk Di Nation tour, but if you missed it, you can still listen to his EP via Mad Decent.