From the haunting-yet-beautiful production by Plex Luthor and Gianni Ca$h to the gentle melody from Bernz on the hook, “Brother” is one of the most touching songs to ever come out of the ¡MAYDAY! camp.
We talked to the personell involved to get their perspective on the song. Everything from the song’s meaning to the production behind it is explored in this exclusive Song Breakdown from Strange Music.
GIANNI It’s very personal to Bernz. The lyrics are self explanatory.
BERNZ I wrote a song for my siblings. They’re a big part of our lives and we wanted to express something to them. I have a sister that’s about ten years younger than me, so I think the sentiment of the song started out as trying to understand her a little bit, because my whole life I’ve been like a father figure instead of a brother figure, in a way. It was kind of like one of those kinds of things like “Alright, let’s try and be homies.” Or saying “Sorry that I wasn’t more of a homie.” That’s kind of the vibe. I was always the overprotective big brother.
WREKONIZE I think the bottom line about it all is communication. I think sibling relationships are often neglected, and it’s rare a lot of times when you meet the people with siblings that get along. There’s a lot of people I know that don’t fuck with their brother or sister, and sometimes those relationships could go sour.
I think it’s about communication and understanding the gaps in ages and the gaps in lifestyles and try to keep that communication open and that relation that you have with your parents. Nobody’s going to go through the same thing that you go through with your parents like your brother or sister, so it’s just a rebonding experience, because as you grow up those bonds separate a little bit because you both get your own life. You do your own job, you have your own husband or wife or whatever. You get a little separated. I think “Brother” is about trying to bridge that gap and restrengthen those bonds a little bit.
GIANNI Musically, that song was produced by Plex and myself. We’ve had that song in the chamber for awhile. We just needed to find a place for it. We felt that this song had a perfect place within the album for Future Vintage. We needed to hit that tone on this record.
Plex comes in sporadically, but he comes in. He’s still part of the crew. He’s still gets down. We still kind of make records.
WREK Plex has been a bit withdrawn because he’s been onto other avenues and doing other things, but he was like the 2Pac of producers in terms of that he had a huge catalogue on deck that we were able to pull from.
“Brother” was actually a track that was made, I think it was between Take Me To Your Leader and Believers. Bernz had already put down a verse and a hook on it and itjust kind of sat in purgatory for awhile. We dug it back out for this album and I was just like “Man, I just need to put some stuff on here, complete it and let’s throw this into the mix.” Because I always loved the track, it’s just never made it to the finalizing stage.
GIANNI: When Plex and I get together we make fire all the time. It’s easy to make songs with him because we just vibe out to one thing. He’ll get on a guitar and we’ll just start vibing out and boom a track is made. We could sit down and bang out four solid beat ideas. It’s very effortless when me and Plex get together and make music. It’s very cool. I kind of miss that.
BERNZ It’s a beautiful production, and Plex is like my brother, so it’s even more poetic in that sense. I just really love how airy it is. It’s just like a breath. That’s why it intrigued me as a beat.
GIANNI We wanted to make something that wasn’t very driven or rhythmic driven. We just wanted to have a heartbeat going through the track and that was the idea behind that track. It was like “Let’s make something emotional” and something that these guys could actually have an open canvas to really go in and do something, whether it be rapping or singing, and it kind of played out where these guys sang on it. Bernz starts off and sings his melody, and it’s kind of like rapping but it’s also like singing. It’s very catchy. The idea was executed kind of how we thought while we were making the beat. It worked out perfect.
BERNZ It’s been brewing. Those moments that you get alone are getting fewer and farther in between. Those are the kind of songs, they have to kind of start out to where you’re just kind of like alone and thinking about your life and where you’ve been. It’s special in that sense too. It’s not one of those songs that started with Wrekonize and I in a room talking about it. It started out with me, by myself, thinking about it. It was a personal kind of thing and then once Wrekonize heard it, he was like “Man, that’s really fresh, let me write a second verse from my perspective.” Boom.
WREK I just thought it was cool for me to jump on, because I think for a little while it was talked about for being a song on Bernz’s solo project. When we started talking about putting it on a ¡MAYDAY! album, it worked because we have the same number of siblings. He has a brother and sister and I have a brother and sister. I just felt like it’d be cool to get on the song and almost use his verse as a guide and only change minimal things about it, because I liked it so much. The lyrics could also relate to me personally as well. It worked out good in terms of our families being laid out in a similar manner.
GIANNI I loved what Bernz did. He usually doesn’t sing as much. He sings on hooks on a lot of the tracks as a layer, but for that one he was the lead and basically set a perfect example for what Wrek had to do on the second verse. It was very cool that he did something that sounded refreshing in that aspect of doing something different.
WREK Bernz’ got chops. It’s just about the frequency of it. When I first came into ¡MAYDAY!, we had the song “Keep Em On”. It was supposed to be on this project right before we signed to Strange and it ended up being on Take Me To Your Leader. To me, he was always killing those verses in there and I was like “We need to do more shit like that when possible.” He holds his chops down good as fuck on there, so it’s nice for people to be able to hear that, because it’s probably not as common as it should be.
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