In July of last year, I was wrangling fresh blood in the form of local musos to showcase their tricks at The Goods, this new-age idea of bringing the artistic community in Auckland together. I’d been in touch with Soltree’s Solomon Bagely about performing after hearing his tracks on Soundcloud, and he asked me if he could bring along this rapper he’d been working with, a guy called Bryan Anderson, for a few tracks.
Bryan Anderson turned out to be a really quiet guy who was pretty tall, a bleached mop of hair sat atop the shaved sides of his head, arms patched in the tattoos. In the brief chance I got to talk to him before he and Sol’s set, I had to lean in to register his soft tone.
It then turned out Bryan had a clothing label (called You’re Welcome), and that he’d become one of the recurrent features at The Goods. We found out that he kept himself busy on the day to day by roasting beans and producing beautiful cups of coffee for Allpress. He kept making music, and with it square in our field of vision, we heard more and more of it, and came to realise the world needed to hear more of it.
A few weeks back, we booked him and beatmaker Hustle Profits to get our people jiving at Kingsland Block Party. That party is now tonight.
Cue the convo I had with Bryan over a nice cuppa.
Bryan Anderson in You're Welcome by Dexter Murray
How did you get into rap?
Well, I've always wanted to be a "rapper." Even when I was in a band at the beginning of high school, I was the outcast one listening to hip-hop. When I got seriously into skating, the band dreams slowly faded away and by the end of third form Nas, Mobb Deep And Gangstar became a big part of my life.
Fast forward to sixteen, after three years of going through the 90's hiphop phase and I remember recording myself rapping Bone Thug’s ‘Thugish Ruggish Bone’ and listening back to it. It was at that moment I came to terms with the fact I’d never be a rapper.
So I slept on the dream for a while, and one day came across a 'Dj Premier Type Beat' on YouTube. I sat down and battled out my verse, my homie Randall Bouveire who was the older "gangster" at the skate park hooked me up with some recording gear, and the dream was born again.
Why rap over any other musical endeavour?
I think I chose rap and hip hop over any other genre because it was the only musical art form I really felt resonated with me, and still to this date where I draw most of my inspiration from. I'm still to find another thing that can change my mood and make me as happy as hip hop always can.
I've always wanted to share that feeling with other people, someone with my music being the reason they feel like that.
What's your writing process?
I'm not the type of writer who just writes all the time and has 100 saved up 16s to spit on whatever beat comes their way.
I normally hear a beat which kind of speaks to me, and I apply the feelings it gives me back into lyrics. Sometimes I have a clear idea of a song I want to make, and just wait for the right instrumental to come my way. I'd also rather sit down with a producer and work on an actual song with them than pump out mediocre bars once a week.
For example, with the upcoming EP with Hustle Profits, we spent so much time finding our sound for the project and I knew what I was going to be talking about before I heard the beats - it was about recreating the feelings that made me want to write about those topics.
You also make streetwear, play with graphic design, and make a damn good coffee. Do you think your creative paths overlap at all?
I one hundred percent believe that cross pollination of different creative fields is the only way to progress as a creator.
Like I said, music is my biggest inspiration, and it influences my design style and the clothing I make in a huge way - and vise versa. Since I’ve been designing, it’s given me a different outlook on my music. The coffee helps me stay awake, but also gives new meaning to the word ‘job’, so I can work 40 hours a week and not hate my life at the end of it, which is a bonus.
Who do you make music for?
I make music for me at the end of the day. I’ve never put something out that was tailored solely for somebody to like it. I use my style, it’s for whoever understands it, likes it, and wants to hear it. I just want people to feel how I did when I wrote the song, at the end of the day.
What can people expect from a performance of yours?
Whether it’s with Soltree, Hustle Profits, or just me and myself, you can always expect a bit of energy. I’ll be out there looking like a 5 year old kid on Christmas with his bass-heavy rap bangers.