Being that the two have such great chemistry while laying down the vocals for ¡MAYDAY!, you can’t have a Bernz album rollout without an interview with Wrekonize. Working closely with Bernz on his debut album, Wrek had some great input about the project and the process behind it.
See what he has to say about Bernz’s style and See You On The Other Side!
So, Bernz’s new album See You On The Other Side, how long has this been coming? Bernz said he never really thought about going off on his own and doing a solo project, but did you see this coming? Did you have any part in pushing him towards this direction?
We have been talking about it low key for a few years at least. When I joined ¡MAYDAY! I was already a solo artist and it was already an understanding that I would be doing solo work. Bernz has always been in groups since he started. When ¡MAYDAY! first started, he was the only vocalist, but he still had a group mentality with that first album, so I feel like he always felt more comfortable in groups and did not have that desire to do a project on his own. After I put out The War Within we all started tossing around the idea that eventually it would only seem right for him to put out a project of his own as well. Even before he was expecting to put one out, we were all kind of egging him on.
When he finally started to take on the idea, Strange Music was ready to put out an album for him. He started some tracks, but then he kind of got side tracked from that when MURS came around and we started doing ¡MURSDAY!. We started calling Bernz’s album B-tox, as in it may never come out. It has been coming for a while and we were all thinking about it before Bernz was, because he is just so ride or die for ¡MAYDAY!. He and Plex started the group so they want to see the group do well, understandably. Bernz is the kind of guy who likes making music in a group. He is not the kind of guy who goes into a dark corner like I might do. He definitely finds the music making process more enjoyable when he has friends around.
I understand that you helped write a lot of songs, you produced a track “Square One”, you did some vocals. What kind of role did you play on the album as a whole?
I tried to keep available to help him, because he helped me on The War Within and we worked together so much for all of the ¡MAYDAY! stuff. I tried to be around and be helpful wherever I could be without being overbearing. I am a little bit of a control freak, having a tendency to want to take control of situations. So, I was trying to do my best to be available if he needed me and also know when to sit back or be away. I feel like we did a good job of balancing that out, I was there when he needed help with the writing and the concepts. I gave him some beats, but only one of them ended up blending with the project.
I know that you guys have been working together a long time with ¡MAYDAY! and your own solo projects. That chemistry definitely shows in both of your guys’ music. What is your mindset going into your solo project versus Bernz’s music versus ¡MAYDAY!?
I am more of a methodical, by the book, technical kind of artist, while Bernz is more go with the flow, fly by the seat of his pants, let it fall where it falls. I feel like when I go into a project I am more meticulous and he is more about the spur of the moment, picking up the vibe. He did not really have a set idea of concepts for the album. He really just had a vibe he wanted it to be. He wanted it to be quirky, smoked out, and vibey. They are both good techniques, just the process is a little bit different. Our processes work well. We’re almost yin and yang.
When I make music on my own I enjoy it because I made it on my own, but there is a lingering thought in the back of my mind where I think “If I did not work on this by myself, how much better would this be?” Most of the time it can only get better when you have someone else, especially if they have a different perspective or point of view. If you do things together you never think the opposite “if I would have done this on my own how much better would it be?” You never think that. I think that is why we always like to work with each other when it comes to solo projects. I am glad Bernz included me on this one. It has been a long time coming and I championed him doing it, along with everyone else as well. I was just happy to be apart of it in any way shape or form.
Speaking of solo stuff, I know that Sunny Winter II just came out this year. Do you have anything coming out later this year that you are working on?
I worked on an EP, called Pressure Point. It is ready to go. We are sorting out the release info. I thought we were going to put it out right before Bernz’s album but the scheduling did not end up working out. Now we’re just figuring out when that is going to be. I am really amped to do my next full length album and I am waiting to see when I can get that date. So, for me, it is either going to be an EP next or if the EP situation does not work out then I am going to shift a focus towards the album.
Awesome, definitely looking forward to that. I am sure you are getting focused on your upcoming ¡MAYDAY! shows this fall.
I am still kind of getting out of tour mentality from the Tech tour. This last month has really just been getting my feet back on solid ground, getting used to taking a shower like a normal human being. I just started doing the general pre-production, like we do when we are not focused on a project, we go in nine to five Monday through Friday and just work. We treat it like a normal office job, we just go right in and work for no focused deadline, no focused reason, just to gear up. We are doing the Gathering of the Juggalos, couple shows in Miami, and then we will set back out in September or October.
Speaking of Miami, I know Florida can be a tough scene as far as booking gigs. It definitely speaks to your guys’ character when you play for your hometown in Miami. What is that feeling like to play for all your fans that were there from day one?
Miami is always a fun vibe. The cool thing is that Miami is a party city so, even if our crowds happen to be floating around at that current point in time, the places that we play in Miami are geared up for a party so you are going to have a huge percentage of people that might not be not familiar with us, that just want to party. It is the kind of a city that it is. Normally we will do a Saturday night show at Blackbird and you will have people in there that are just there to party and want to hear music.
The cool part about Miami, a pro and a con, is that it is not really a live music kind of town. It is a DJ town; it is a club town. So when people do hear live music, they are thirsty for it. Some people do not even realize they are thirsty for it, but they are dying to hear live music. We get a good reaction when we play for people that have never heard us and since building our fan base with Strange, we have people traveling from all over Florida to come down to these Miami shows. We have had people travel from as far as Texas, Seattle, from across the country for our Miami shows, which I’m always amazed at.
I have been going around the whole country and we did not get to play Blackbird on the Independent Powerhouse Tour. So, it is nice to just play at home and have friends and family around. We cut our teeth at that club. We played at that club since before it was called Blackbird. It used to be called Transit Lounge. So we built up our audience since the first time ¡MAYDAY! played as a six-member band and nobody cared what we were doing. It is a cool place to play because there is a lot of history there.
I have to ask, because I am a huge James Brown fan. I saw a little snippet of your karaoke version of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and you crushed it. I can definitely hear that soul funk influence in your guys’ music. Is there ever going to be a James Brown cover song you do or any more karaoke in the future we can hear?
What is funny is I have not done karaoke in a long time. A lot of people think that karaoke is fun and I am like, “no its not”. To me it is not really fun. I never found it fun because it is just what we do normally. It feels weird for me personally, but when we went out that night, I had not done karaoke in almost ten years and Tech is always game for it. So he went up and did “Freebird” and I got hyped.
I was like “man let me try one, I have not done this in so long”. I had never attempted to do a James Brown song, that was like a first time. When I saw it it jumped off the page at me. It was fun man, I liked it. I feel like that was my first swing at it, I could have done it way better. People were hitting me up online like “yo, what is up with a cover.” I would love to try it. I feel like it is a tough voice, especially for my kind of voice to try to even emulate. A James Brown song is high on the difficulty scale. I definitely would say it is something I would like to try at some point.
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It is a tough voice, but you did well from what I heard so I would listen to any cover from that. I love James Brown.
I appreciate that. One of these days I definitely would not mind trying at least a track. We have some really good musicians in Miami so I feel like if we were to set up something with some live music for James Brown cover, I would be all for it because, I am an ultra James Brown fan for sure.
Awesome. That is all I have. Anything else you want say about Bernz’s album or anything you want get out there about stuff that you are doing?
Definitely look out for either this next EP or this album. This is the first year we did not do a ¡MAYDAY! album. Hopefully we will be back with another album next year. Check out See You On The Other Side and “Square One” produced by ya boy, and listen out for my ghost background vocals floating through the albums. Peace.
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