Leading up to his debut album See You On The Other Side, we sat down with Bernz to give you an exclusive look into the creation of the album.
Check out what he had to say below!
What inspired or pushed you to do a solo project?
I cannot say that I pushed hard for it on my own. I always felt that ¡MAYDAY! was my brain child, it was my baby. I felt very fulfilled as an artist being in ¡MAYDAY!, because it just felt like mine. The fans have asked for it, but I was fulfilled with !MAYDAY!. So when I got the call from Travis and Dave it was really nice. That is when I realized, I do want to do it and just speak for the whole challenge of it all.
It is weird, a lot of people would be the other way around, they are in a group and they are always fighting to be a solo artist, where in my case I waited and it fell and came to me. It is my chance to express some things on my own.
Where did you get the project name See You On The Other Side?
I was searching for names when we were on the last ¡MAYDAY! North American tour. I had gotten the call and I knew that I wanted to do an album. We were going through names and one day we were at a show and usually before we go on stage we will say “hey man, I’ll see you on the other side” which means I will see you after the show. It also means that we are going to go through something together and then I will see you on the other side of it.
Right when I said it, I knew it was what the title should be. My take on it is, this is my turn to go out on stage by myself; “see you after this experience, see you after you experience this with me, see you on the other side.” On another level, it has a cool kind of spiritual and esoteric vibe which I feel is sometimes within my music. What ever is on the other side is up to your interpretation.
Was the creative process that you did for this album different from when you do your ¡MAYDAY! projects?
I can’t say that it is very different. Like I said, ¡MAYDAY! stuff is very near and dear to my heart and I think the difference is that I reached out to as many of my musician and producer friends that I could. Being that I am not a solo artist I can’t get the same features and big names that other people can get.
I had to rely more on trying to make the best music I could. I think that is really the difference between it. I reached out to a lot more people than I would usually, but at the end of the day, it is still my ideas, and Wrekonize and I working on songs together, trying to make something good.
I know that Wrekonize had a really big part in your project. What was his role?
Like in ¡MAYDAY!, Wrekonize is the one who does a lot of things for the follow through. He has a really great gift of that. It is one thing to have great ideas, it is another thing to actually make them happen. I think what was great about having Wrekonize there, was that it was like having a coach in my corner keeping me going throughout the process, because making an album in general is not an easy thing to do even in a group when you have people’s help.
It is especially not easy to do when you are by yourself. There were moments when it was just literally me by myself trying to figure out what to do. So, it was nice have him come in, help out, and add his touch to things. Oh, and another thing about Wrekonize is that I helped with his solo album as well, so I feel that it was retribution. We want to be involved in each other’s projects because we have so much invested in each other’s music.
Speaking of Strange’s artists, you seem to have a lot of them on this project. What do they add to the tracks that you feature them on?
Maybe it’s the producer in me, I try and pick tracks because I think that people really fit on them. In the case of “It Don’t Go”, from the second I heard it, I felt that CES Cru would kill it. “Quiet Place” was a track I knew needed somebody like Tech N9ne. He is the only person that could really take us somewhere that is so heavy and still keep the vibe of the track going. “Sunday Sin” with Krizz Kaliko, he is like our CeeLo – I felt that track went perfectly with him.
Thirstin Howl III has been someone who I have seen around the way, such a legend, and every time I saw him he would want to work with me. I always wanted to get something going and as soon as I found out I was getting a solo project, I had to make room for him. When I heard the beat for “Vicious”, I knew that was it. It is like classic hip hop, perfect for a guy like him who is a story teller kind of spitter. I think everybody kind of fit into what they had to do. There is nobody that sounds out of place in terms of the features.
You were talking about producers that you brought on and that you did bring a lot of producers that are friends. Who did you bring along for this project?
Number one I brought Infamous, who produced for Lil Wayne, 2Chainz, Yo Gotti, Gym Class Heroes, tons of people. He was another huge help to me. He is somebody that made me feel pretty comfortable in being a solo artist. There are a lot of beat makers out there, but there are not a lot of producers out there. It was really nice that he took the time to work with me and I want to say that he is a good friend at this point. He gave me that kind of confidence that you need. I have two amazing songs with him; “Smoke N’ Fuck” and “Came To Say Goodbye”. “Came To Say Goodbye” is an amazing song that encompasses the vibe of the album and that was one of the first songs I did on the whole album.
Other producers that I brought on was this amazing new group of producers coming out of Miami called the Pushers, a collective of producers like Justice League. Five guys that are really amazing. They came through and laced me up with 5 tracks. Some of those guys I have worked with before, we co-produced with them before. They come out of the musician scene of Miami, which is really rich. That is where they really united before my album. They really helped out as well.
I also have DaVincci and Brandon Toledo who are both Miami producers which is amazing. One is from a crew called Miami Beat Wave and the other is from a crew called the Guild. There are so many talented people in Miami that I felt like I did not have to go far. I just had to pick and choose the music I felt I needed. It was almost like I had to produce myself in that sense. Someone told me the other day how cohesive the album sounds and they did not even realize it comes from so many different producers, but I think at the end of the day when you are an artist and you are comfortable in your skin like that you are kind of self producing yourself in the way that you pick your music.
Also, Wrekonize gave me a beat that is amazing. Of course my ¡MAYDAY! homies contributed like crazy. Wrekonize did a beat for “Square One”, Plex did a beat for “2 Left Feet”, Gianni Ca$h produced some bangers on the album as well. One of them called “Call Me In The Morning”. Last but not least, on my birthday, I just happened to be in Vegas for the day. Kap Kallous called me and he was like “Yo, why don’t you hook up with my producer David Grants“. I ended up having a session on my birthday at his studio and ended up getting two great tracks for the album, one of which is the track I did with Jarren Benton called “Outta My Brain” and then the other one is the track that CES Cru called “It Don’t Go”, which are two really rad tracks.
I just met that dude that day so it is like the universe. It wasn’t that I was in Vegas, I am going to tell you the real story, it is not that I was in Vegas randomly. My mom is a witch, alright. She does stuff and sometimes she tells me she that I am going to be places at certain times, so I go and I do it. And then that is what happens, you know what I am saying? I ended up meeting this dude, he gave me some great tracks. You never know how the universe works, listen to your mom if she is a witch.