10 Questions with ... SNBRN
January 5, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) How did you come up with the name SNBRN ... why no vowels ... what do your friends call you and where are you from?
That's a good question, I liked SNBRN with no U. It just doesn't look as good with the U, and I like it in all caps. My friends call me Kevin. I'm born and raised in Los Angeles.
2) Did you start DJing before you got into producing?
I was producing at a pretty early age, 16 or 17, but not necessarily making dance music. It wasn't until around 2008 that I really got into the whole scene. It kind of happened simultaneously. I wanted to learn how to DJ and also make music. I wanted to be able to do it all, so it happened simultaneously and things kind of progressed from there. My DJ skills got better and I switched from using a little controller in my house to actually using CDJs. The progression of the studio also went up.
3) Do you remember your first club gig and when you knew this was for you?
It was in Long Beach and I was opening for Designer Drugs. There were seven or eight openers who had 20 minute sets each and depending on how many tickets you sold was your set time, so everyone was trying to sell as many tickets as they possibly could. I was probably mid-tier on that and I said to myself, "I have to do this again, this is awesome!"
4) Your current single is "Beat The Sunrise" with Andrew Watt; how did this song come about?
I initially got the version that he had created and it was more of a rock song with guitars. It came into my lap and I immediately fell in love with it. A lot of people had told me that he had turned down five or six other versions that people had tried to do and that he was really picky, but I was determined. I wanted the song and I was going to make it happen. I had this idea and it was going to be great. So I sent it off to him and he loved it. Then we finally came together, put it out and performed it live. It was a huge accomplishment for me to be able to do a song with someone as talented as Andrew.
5) When I first started hearing about you, you had just done a song with Kerli "Raindrops." How many singles into your career was this?
I had done a couple of singles before that, more on the Deep House tip. This was back in 2012 or 2013, but "Raindrops" was my first actual song and not a track. "Raindrops" was really interesting as I was asked one day if I wanted to get in the studio with Kerli, and I had never worked with a vocalist before, so if anything I got scared to death. I was sitting in there when Don Diablo walks in and asks me, "So why are you so scared?" He helped me out and talked me through it. We did scratch vocals and stuff and then I went back and kind of did the whole arrangement. She just did an amazing job, recorded her own vocals, and did everything at her own house. She mixed her own vocals as well.
6) You had a song out recently "California" that Chris Lake remixed for you. What's your feeling on remixes?
I love when people remix my work. I got started by doing remixes. I think it's a huge part of dance music. Especially with "California" ... we didn't realize the nature of how big the song was going to be. The first time I heard it, I thought this is really cool because I initially did "California" with Kaleena Zanders as a cover and we put it out for free as it was the first song re-launching the SNBRN brand. Then a year later it was the same thing ... let's clear this, let's make this happen .... and everyone was like there's no way you are going to clear 2 Pac and a year later I got a phone from Chris saying, "Okay, we're doing this," and I'm going to remix it and I was, "Okay, let's do it." We released it and it's been doing fantastic ever since.
7) You have a lot of remixes up on your site including Marvin Gaye "Sexual Healing," 50 Cent "21 Questions" and Ace Of Base "All She Wants." What gets you into doing a remix of a song?
The original. I try and pick songs that no one has remixed; that's part of my thing. I don't want to remix something that's very popular and has a million remixes. I want to find the song that I love that no one has a remix of ... that people are looking for. I want to make the remix that I would want to play, because sometimes things get oversaturated and there are too many remixes of the same song -- but then there are those songs that need to be remixed.
8) On Facebook, you are very interactive with your fans. There was a photo during the holidays of you in a Santa mask with a dog and a pie. Is that your dog? I also I saw on your Facebook that you had posted, "Get ready for the hottest holiday mix tape of all time."
That's my sister's dog. There are a lot of Pugs in the family. I like to get goofy. Yes, there was a little caption about me saying I was about to drop the hottest holiday mix tape. It was me and my really close friend Dr. Fresh from Detroit. Everyone kept commenting that it was snowing and we were in the middle of street and it I was like, "What do we caption this?" So I said, "Let's drop a holiday album," so I used that, but then we started talking and we'll see if it happens, so maybe I'll do a super collaboration with a bunch of artists in L.A. and sing Christmas music for next year.
9) You are very much into Hip-Hop and Rap. You have a single coming out on Ultra called "Gangsta Walk." What can you tell us about it?
After I did my remix of 50 Cen,t I went to my manager and I said, "Find me somebody who sounds like 50 Cent or Nate Dogg." It's a certain type of rap style in the voice and in the style and it just works so well with my style of music. A year ago my manager comes back and says, "I have something even better. I have Nate Dogg's publisher and he has some unreleased stuff; do you want to sort through it?" I said "Absolutely." I got this track called "Gangsta Walk" that never really came out; I just wrote this whole new song and it took almost a year to clear this thing, fighting every day to get it done and get it out -- and finally it's coming out on January 22nd.
10) You are signed to Ultra and recently you played at Output in Brooklyn for the Ultra Music 20th Anniversary party. You were amongst DJ royalty when you played -- Louie Vega, Roger Sanchez, MK. How did it feel mixing with those guys?
I'm not going to lie; it was a little intimidating, especially for me as MK gets me every time as he is a huge inspiration for me and I'm a huge fan. I said to myself I have to make sure I kill it tonight, so I was on my best behavior.
Are you doing any touring?
I'm going to start touring again in mid-February.
Favorite City to DJ in?
I would have to say San Francisco. The fans are unbelievable there; they give me gifts and everybody gives me hugs. It's such an awesome experience as everyone there just loves it when I DJ.
Festival or club ... which one do you prefer?
Where are we going to get something good to eat in L.A.?
Sugarfish in downtown L.A. is my favorite spot; they have the best sushi -- but it you want something inexpensive, In-N-Out Burger.
If we were driving in your car somewhere and you put on some music what would your fans be surprised to hear you listening to?
What's one must-have travel item?
A 10-foot-long iPhone charger