TomorrowWorld Artist Spotlight: Michael Brun
Before TomorrowWorld officially kicks off its three day reign of Chattahoochee Hills, the festival will commence at DreamVille with its opening party known as The Gathering. The ceremony draws from Tomorrowland and will similarly have Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike headlining with artists such as TJR and Walden in support. Celebrating the American inauguration in true Phazing style, Michael Brun will take to The Gathering fresh off the release of his Gravity EP, three of the most anticipated tracks of his young career. Get to know Michael Brun before “Halfway” blows minds at TomorrowWorld in just over one week.
What was the music culture like growing up in Haiti?
It has changed a lot over the last 10 years. I remember when I was younger, American pop hits, dancehall, rap, and a genre of Haitian music called konpa were basically all you would ever hear on the radio, but now electronic music has become pretty dominant. Even the big events throughout the year are now EDM focused.
My parents had a big influence on what I listened to as well. They had pretty eclectic tastes but especially enjoyed music from the 70s and 80s so I learned to love that stuff. Earth Wind and Fire are still one of my favorite bands.
How did you connect with Dirty South and eventually become signed to Phazing?
January last year I got an email from Phazing and Dragan about signing a track (which ended up being Rise). I remember thinking that it was a fake message but it ended up being the real deal. A few weeks later he invited me down to play 2 shows with him at WMC and Ultra and we just kept in touch since then. He’s been a great mentor and I’m really thankful for the push he’s given me.
What have you learned from Dragan from being part of his label and how much has that affiliation impacted what you do both in the studio and in live sets?
I’ve learned a lot from him about refining my productions but one of the most important lessons has been about the songwriting process. When you work on the same track for too long, sometimes you lose track of the feeling you had with the original idea, and it can make finishing the track a lot harder than it should be. It’s important to never lose track of that initial vibe and the best way to do that is to work quickly while still paying attention to detail.
What has it been like touring the US and what have been some of your favorite moments on the road and venues in the states?
Touring has been a really awesome experience. Being able to play out my tracks and getting a great reaction from the crowd is surreal.
My favorite show in the US so far was definitely Governors Island back in July with Dirty South and Maarcos. The crowd was so hyped and into the music. I remember playing Halfway and my remix of Thinking About You by Calvin Harris and seeing so many people singing along.
I also had a great time at Story in Miami a few weeks ago and did a really fun back to back with Dirty South at Provocateur in NYC for fashion week.
How did you come about remixing a track for Alicia Keys and did you go about producing that any differently than you normally would a remix?
I played a show in NYC a few months back and got to meet Maxwell, who featured on Alicia’s track ‘Fire We Make’. He really liked my music and asked if I would be interested in remixing their track. He’s a legend in the R&B scene so it was an honor to get the request directly from him.
I knew it was going to be challenging to remix the track because the original is a very soulful and sexy track, and much slower tempo than house music. I wanted to keep the emotion from the original intact but add some groove in the process and luckily I was able to come up with a concept that I liked and that Alicia and Maxwell approved.
Which track has been your favorite to produce? Which have you been most proud of producing?
That’s a tough one. Maybe Antares because the production was so quick on that one. Everything fell into place and I think I finished the entire track in like 2 or 3 days. And I think I’m most proud of the arp lead in Halfway. It’s a really dynamic sound and I think it brings a lot of energy to the track.
Can you tell us about your upcoming Gravity EP; the songs on that and the process between producing them, using them in live sets, and finally releasing them?
The EP was definitely the most comprehensive project I’ve ever worked on. I’ve been testing them out at every show this year and tweaking each track pretty much nonstop.
Gravity is the darkest track of the EP because of its chord progression and it’s kind of like a sequel to Rift in some ways. Halfway is actually my first ever vocal track and features the incredibly talented Zashanell. I wanted my first vocal track to be powerful and memorable and I think Zashanell nailed it with this track. Finally, Antares is the club track with a big emphasis on percussion and groove.
It took me close to a year to finish all the tracks and get them to a level that Dragan, my manager and I were happy with, but now I think it’s my best work yet and I can’t wait to hear what people think.
What material are you working on for the future and is there anyone you’re collaborating with or remixing for?
More originals and a some very special collaborations. I’m actually finishing up something with DubVision right now that we’re extremely excited about! Also doing a few more remixes that should be announced soon.
What are your thoughts on TomorrowWorld coming to the United States and what do you have in store for your set there?
It’s a really exciting move. Even though I’ve never been to Tomorrowland, I’ve followed it for years now and it just seems like one of the best electronic music focused festivals out there. I always said that I wanted to one day be able to play there so it’s a dream come true to be at TomorrowWorld this month. I’ll be playing at the Gathering on Thursday so hope to see you guys there!
Get a taste of Brun at his best with his Governors Island aftermovie: