She’s Not Just Another Name – An Interview w/ DJ Brazzabelle

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

The right amount of flair and a positive attitude blend together harmoniously. When a talented individual proudly represents the embodiment of this harmony, you have the makings of a star. Positivity and creativity do not necessarily go hand-in-hand, but the sky is the limit when they do. This artist uses numerous aspects of her personality to bridge the gap, that some dare not cross, from DJ to dynamic talent.

A lady who has as colorful a history as her name is just getting started. She is an overwhelming delight for the senses. When you combine high-energy beats, big house sound, and some idiosyncrasies that can only elicit a positive reaction, you have Brazzabelle. Always down for a joke, while still maintaining a strict level of professionalism, and letting her passion for the music be her guide. A sense of humor is very important in order to keep a level head and sometimes side projects evolve from simple distractions to core elements of the respective total package. She is attacking it from all angles, whether it be alter-egos or unique takes on particularly interesting concepts. All in all, an absolute delight.

A’Damaged Pro – Before we get started…where did the name come from?

Brazzabelle – Brazzabelle stems from “Brazzaville,” which is the capital of the Congo. It was made and kind of based on my friend’s name “Congorock.”

A’Damaged Pro – Where did you grow up?

Brazzabelle – I grew up in a town called Cave Creek, AZ.

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences and have those tastes evolved as you have matured?

Brazzabelle – I’ve been into music all of my life. I think I started much earlier than your average kid. My first CD was MC Hammer when I was like six. Then I started getting really into grunge rock, like Silverchair and Offspring. I started getting into ska as well. My first really definite dance albums that I bought were ATB and the Creamfields compilation. I didn’t really even know what they were. Music is always evolving so you have the “classic” tracks but my interests are changing and growing every day.

A’Damaged Pro – Did you play any instruments growing up?

Brazzabelle – I played piano. I also took basic guitar lessons. I played xylophone in band. I was never really super great at any of them. I got the basic framework for music and reading music but I was never really that great at anything musical until I started producing.

A’Damaged Pro – When did you realize that you wanted to start making music?

Brazzabelle – A friend showed me some production software when I was maybe like 13 or 14, and I was like, “this is really cool.” I was always more literate in computers. My hands were always too small for the guitar (I couldn’t help but laugh a little at this). It was easier for me to figure stuff out and teach myself. This is way better for me than playing an actual instrument and it was more challenging and a little more exciting as well. To make a full track you could just use your computer and not have to buy all of this equipment. It was very interesting to me.

A’Damaged Pro – What equipment did you start with?

Brazzabelle – It was called Dance DJ. It was a joke of a production program. It had preset loops so you could pretty much put anything together and it would sound good. It set the framework for my future with real production software.

A’Damaged Pro – Have you spent most of your life in Arizona?

Brazzabelle – I lived in Arizona until I was 18, and I’ve been in L.A. for around four years.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you feel that where you’ve lived has affected your style of music?

Brazzabelle – Not really because of the internet. You have access to every type of music. I did study abroad in Barcelona and that’s kind of when I started DJing, when you still didn’t really hear dance music in clubs stateside. The clubs in Barcelona really influenced me.

A’Damaged Pro – Who are some artists that inspire you?

Brazzabelle – This is a tough one. I can tell you some producers that I think are really killing it right now. I’m really into Mercer and DJ Snake, I really like. Astronomar. Sander van Doorn’s newer stuff has been really awesome lately.

A’Damaged Pro – What aspects of their music speak to you directly?

Brazzabelle – Anything that people are doing that is new and forward-thinking stands out to me. You have to keep the scene from sounding stale and stagnant. You have to keep things fresh if you want to keep things moving forward. I think you have to keep testing the boundaries.

A’Damaged Pro – How do approach a track that you want to remix? Does it have to be one that you already enjoy or sometimes do you seek to improve on something that might have needed a little something extra?

Brazzabelle – Personally when I do remixes, like my bootleg ones that I do for fun that aren’t for a label requesting me to do a remix, I pretty much have only used the vocals from them and then I’ve rewritten the melody and the midi and completely changed all the instruments. Usually, I’ll use the melody portion of the original to replace the breakdown and the drop will be a completely different song.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you enjoy producing or performing more?

Brazzabelle – They are both great. There are some times when I’m producing that I just want to quit and throw my computer out of the window, but when you finally get over the hurdle and you have a song that actually makes people want to dance, it’s a really satisfying feeling. I think the fact that you do have those hurdles and it is hard makes it even better when you come out with something good. Also, performing in an amazing experience and the biggest adrenaline rush ever. I think they both have their positive and negative moments.

A’Damaged Pro – I have to ask…DJ Svetlana…where did this come from?

Brazzabelle – It started because I was drunk in Vegas and forgot to bounce one of the tracks back properly to the guy who does the masters on my tracks. I was sending him drunk selfies. He’s in the studio all day….

It’s become a thing that when I send him tracks ready for mastering, I’ll send him a funny selfie, too. I just went into my closet one day and I had those sunglasses and that fur hat and it just happened. “I look like a rich Russian bitch.” I showed it to some friends and one thing led to another. The Olympics were on and we just made the video with DJ Svetlana. I’m a pretty funny person and me talking in accents on a regular basis is not out of the ordinary.

A’Damaged Pro – Can you walk me through how you came up with the Ravercise concept?

Brazzabelle – Yeah, that was just another pleasant accident. I was kind of the face of the advertising for Sol Republic new headphones, relays, which are active headphones. Everyone was making fun of me because they know I don’t work out. So I was watching the “Prancercise” video and ended up sending it to a friend. I thought it would be funny if I did a remake with me wearing the relays because I don’t work out. My roommate thought I should be “raving” in it. We put the whole thing together in like thirty minutes, originally as an inside joke, and sent it to Sol Republic. They actually liked it so we posted it. From that, I’m going to start a mix series called “Ravercise.”

A’Damaged Pro – You released your 50K Bootleg Pack, what did this milestone mean to you and what was your inspiration for this specific mix?

Brazzabelle – It is a collection of tracks that I really like and play often in my sets. Sometimes someone says that they really liked “that mix,” so it’s my way of saying thank you.

A’Damaged Pro – “The DJ List” named you one of their artists to watch in 2014. How does that make you feel and what kind of pressure do you think that adds to this year?

Brazzabelle – I was really shocked that I made their list. I try not to feel pressure. I try to just always do better. I want my productions to always just keep improving. I quit my full-time job last July and I think you can see the improvement in my tracks. Sometimes I look at old project files and I think, “What in the world was I doing?” I think if I keep on myself to get my tracks better and keep my mixing better, it will eventually work itself out.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your dream gig?

Brazzabelle – I really want to play EDC Las Vegas. I played EDC Puerto Rico, and it was amazing. I think of EDC Las Vegas as like “the” rave or festival of the year in the states.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you have any new projects that you’re working on now?

Brazzabelle – The label process has been a bit long for me, but I do have several unreleased originals, two of which I’ve added mixed tapes to, and a few other djs have been supporting them. A few other ones no one has ever heard. I’m steadily working on originals. I have some label meetings set up so hopefully the originals will be surfacing soon.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

To call her determined and positive would be a dramatic oversimplification. Saying she is primed to take her career to the next level would be simply stating the obvious. When you are as pleasant, creative, and as enthusiastic as Brazzabelle, there is no door that will remain closed for long. Take notes, folks, because this talented young lady is about to be a global phenomenon.

Connect with Brazzabelle  – Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Photo Credit: TLaynePhotography and Rukes