Interview by Melissa Kil | Photography by James Winterhalter
EDMLA’s Melissa Kil got a chance to sit down with Brillz in the Twonk bus minutes before his set for a sold out crowd at Hollywood’s Fonda Theater on Friday February 19th. Sami Diament, the mastermind behind the steadily growing Twonk empire, is currently touring the US on his first headlining bus tour, bringing it back to the City of Angels where it all began a decade ago. It is clear that a combination of tireless work, talent and the desire to create something original have resulted in Brillz’s immense popularity over the years. He has released two incredibly successful EPs and continues to create his signature Twonk sound which borrows elements from a wide variety of genres such as bass, hip-hop, electro and grime, to name a few. As a result of working non-stop to create music that is an expression of himself, his tour is a culmination of his journey from being essentially homeless to becoming a recognizable EDM household name. After 13 years of smoking weed, Brillz has committed to a life of sobriety inspired by David Bowie, Kendrick Lamar and others, he continues to grow and create in all facets of his life to bring the best performance and sounds to his hungry, dedicated fans.
EDMLA: What advice can you give to your fans who are also trying to make a career out of music? how did you overcome your hurdles and make a career out of music?
Brillz: There isn’t one piece of advice that sums it all up, but surround yourself with positive people that are winning and more importantly, people that want to see you win. Another thing is, you have to embrace your failures and be ready to overcome the negativity, haters, people crashing your dreams, and even your own worst enemy which is you. In the movie “Creed” there is a part where they are training in the mirror and Rocky tells him “see that guy in the mirror? That’s your only enemy. If you can beat that guy then you’ll win”. For creative people, that’s exactly it — if you figure out who you are and what makes you different and unique, and you figure out how to develop a good work ethic, and just overcome the things that make you procrastinate, then you’ll win. That’s it. It’s just a matter of hours after that.
What would you say are some of the events or people that inspired you to get to that point where you created your own very distinctive brand, image and career?
The things that contributed… was not following the pack and just doing something that I personally thought was interesting, not because someone else was successful at it. Also, synchronicity would just have it that the music I was inspired by — there were other producers kinda like all getting the same means and we all came out at the same time so it created a wave. But in terms of my brand and vibe, I think what contributed was just my love for cryptic symbols and weird, esoteric knowledge and maybe just a little bit of human psychology too. Our brains are built to analyze everything that we see and if you see something but you don’t really understand it, there is like an immediate interaction. That was a cool thing to put this concept out there that was a mystery and have people wonder about it but I never explain it — just that and the music and all the things that were happening just came together. It wasn’t something that I intentionally said that I was going to start a brand and a movement and a cult following — we just said that it was cool let’s just do this and it just flowed after that.
What have been the highlights of this tour so far?
A lot of sold out shows — tonight for example. The best part of the show is at the end when I invite all of the artists back out and we do this big house party set, everyone is taking turns playing songs, splashing water on each other. The energy at that part of the night has been really special and next level from a lot of the other shows that I’ve done.
What can fans expect to see from you in the future in terms of collaborations and new music?
I don’t like to talk about my collabs until they are completely done, but there are a lot of them in the works right now and hopefully some of them will see the light of day. But fans can expect me to keep pushing my boundaries and keep doing what I’m doing and evolve and make really hype music.