Originally published on Myspace
Conjuring images of smoky discothèques, groovy roller discos and uninhibited dance-offs, this L.A. producer with a rich musical background creates undeniable boogie jams.
NAME: B. Bravo
HOMETOWN: Monterey, Calif.
HOMEBASE: Los Angeles, Calif.
B. Bravo's cosmic grooves and talk-box experimentation push the boundaries of funk while spreading the positive vibes of a far from gone genre. The LA based producer's natural progression toward intergalactic tunes was partly stimulated by the G-Funk sound of 90s rap and he continues to be inspired by the forefathers of funk. Bravo has graced Red Bull's Music Academy and he keeps busy working with production partner Teeko as well as playing sax and keys in San Francisco band Bayonics.
What drew you to funk music?
I remember going to the Monterey Jazz Festival when I was a kid in school and Tower of Power were playing there. The reason they stood out to me was that they were so different than all the other acts. Everybody was sitting down for the other performances. They [Tower of Power] were just like this powerhouse and they had this horn section with a driving beat. Everybody just jumped on their feet and started dancing. It was an instant reaction, everybody was dancing even like the security guard. I remember seeing my friend's dad just dancing and smiling. I was just like "wow what is this? This is crazy." I was like "what are these sounds?" Just the feeling and the energy they created was totally different so that was one of my first experiences seeing it live.
Have you played with any of your personal funk heroes?
Years ago, back in the Bay Area, my band Bayonics were playing on KPFA Radio in Berkeley. George Clinton came in the studio with his bass player named Thumpasauras Rex. We got a chance to meet George and talk with him, and we ended up jamming all together in the studio. That was pretty epic; this must have been in probably 2005. It was pretty crazy, the whole time we were kind of looking at each other like, "Woah man. This is insane." I remember he had the thickest, manliest hands I'd ever shook, it was like grabbing on a tree branch or something.
A large part of classic funk and soul music was related to the struggles of Black America. Did you find it hard to relate to that growing up?
Myself growing up, I wasn't necessarily from a poor family. My dad was actually from a really poor family in Japan, so he basically came to the States with nothing in the late 70s and so through his stories I've known a lot of that- the struggle of making your own way and being your own man. The area that I grew up in was definitely working class, but I think it's a universal message. Funk music was originally made by people in the struggle, whether it would be race, economics or class.
Do you see funk regaining the same relevance it had in the '70s and '80s?
I mean a lot of people are like, "Oh you guys are bringing back funk. It's a like dead genre." I don't really see that. It transcends through a lot of different genres to me. I don't know whether there's going to be top 40 funk songs or not. I'm not sure if that's where it's heading, but I don't think that's really the aim. The aim is to spread the message to people. We're not trying to make pop music. We're trying to make music that will touch people and uplift people, give them something they need in the world that they're not really getting from other sources.
You've collaborated with Salva and released music under his label, how did that happen?
He's the one that really got me started releasing music as a solo artist. We met at this regular job in software. This was in about 2007. He hired me to work for him and on my resume it said I had an interest in music and DJing. We got to talking and we were listening to each other's music. He was like, "I want to create a label and release some music; do you want to do something?" So I put together an EP and that was kind of my first solo release. That's what started everything for me. He's right here in L.A. so we've been working on stuff together and that's my main man.