By Logan Bykofsky
We got lucky enough to interview some of the artists that will be performing at Brooklyn Comes Alive on the 23rd and 24th of September. The weekend event is in its third year and will showcase world-class musicians across venues in Williamsburg including Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Schimanski. We have interviewed Muzzy Bearr, Sunsquabi, Russ Liquid, KJ Sawka, Dave Harrington, The Crystal Method, and DJ Logic which you can find below.
Q: Will we get to see you perform with any other members of AGR this weekend as most fans are used to seeing you shredding on stage with GRiZ?
No plans as of yet but you never know what could happen!
Q: It’s been a few years since your last solo album, ‘Vintage Sutra.’ Can we expect to hear some new Muzzy originals during Saturday’s set?
Definitely have some new new in there! Recently switched up the DJ to less electronic and more live hip-hop vibes, and I have a lot of unreleased beats I’m excited to play for the NY peeps!
Q: You and GRiZ were recently in New York for the 2017 Elements Festival. What is your favorite part about coming back to New York?
THE DELI FOOD. And I always love immersing myself in the culture. NYC is so diverse there’s always somewhere new to see or something new to try.
Q: As this is your first time performing at Brooklyn Comes Alive, who are you most excited to see?
I’m super excited to see DJ Premier & The Badder Band, My AGR homies Russ Liquid, Sunsquabi, and Probcause, and Eric Krasno & Friends. All those sets are sure to crush!
SunSquabi answers from Kevin Donohue:
Q: SunSquabi is defined as a “hydro-funk” experience. Can you give us your take on what this term means?
The beauty in the word choice is that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. SunSquabi is an entirely unique word in itself. However, I usually like to describe “hydro-funk” as something we used to describe ourselves in the beginning. Funk-based influences with a fluid or liquid feel.
Q: SunSquabi is one of the first names that comes to mind when funk fans talk about the All Good Records crew. When did you guys first meet GRiZ and how has your creative process changed since becoming part of the AGR family?
We met GRiZ for the first time in 2012 – one of our very first big shows we got to play in Denver was a support slot at his Ogden Theatre show. 2 years go by, and we meet our friend Manic Focus through a few mutual friends and Chicago connections. He and I are watching GRiZ at Snowball in 2014, and we decide that we all needed to collaborate. So we hit the studio that night until about 4 am and wrote “Get Down” which would end up on GRiZ’s album ‘Say it Loud’ as a three-way collaboration. So this was sort of the beginning of All Good Records, and it remains the same concept. Just an awesome collection of friends and collaborators, a massive pool of talent and dedication that is hard to find in this life. So we all keep each other going and help out with projects. It’s a family if anything.
Q: Can we expect to see Russ Liquid on stage with you at any point throughout the weekend as we hope to hear some of the standout tracks from ‘Odyssey’?
I would hate to ruin any surprises! But Russ Liquid did just perform with us at North Coast in Chicago, and we love having him up whenever the opportunity arises, so keep an eye out for that for sure. We will be performing a set that probably spans 4 different releases as well as some improv but ‘Odyssey’ selections will definitely be peppered in there.
Q: As this year’s lineup differs from festivals fans have seen you play before (e.g., Electric Forest, Summer Camp, Camp Bisco), who are you most excited to see perform throughout the weekend that you haven’t seen live together before?
I think one of the best parts of Brooklyn Comes Alive is going to be the collaboration. So many artists and friends in one place – there’s going to be some serious jamming going down. DJ Premier band sounds exciting, the George Porter/Skerik/Mike Dillon combo will be incredible. I’ve never seen KJ Sawka do a solo set, but I was a huge fan of Pendulum for years when they had the live band – he is incredible (and his name’s Kevin). The Motet’s tribute to Jamiroquai should be amazing as well. We can’t wait honestly!
Q: Many of your fans know you as a solo artist before getting to know you as the face of the Russ Liquid Test. What’s been the most notable change in your experience as a performer since bringing Scott, Block and Trusclair on board?
I come from a background of playing music with other people, so basically I feel more at home musically having a band. Andrew is one of the tastiest guitar players I know, always coming up with the perfect part. Deven is a beast on the drums. Having the band is really helping my musical vision come to life.
Q: Obviously BCA is influenced heavily by New Orleans and Jazz Fest. As a New Orleans-based musician, what elements of New Orleans do you hope to bring to Brooklyn throughout the weekend?
Well, first and foremost we will bring the funk. We hope to bring the vibe of NOLA to NYC and I think BCA captures the feels of Jazz Fest by bringing in a variety of players that are eager to jump from stage to stage. Should be a lot of fun.
Q: As a large name within the All Good Records crew, should we expect to see you accompany Sunsquabi at any point during the festival?
We just played together at North Coast Music Festival in Chicago last weekend so if the stars align we might have something up our sleeves.
Q: There is a large All Good Records presence at this year’s BCA. Is there any potential for an entire AGR showcase?
Q: You are one of many multi-instrumentalists performing at this year’s Brooklyn Comes Alive. However, you may be the only artist known for your use of acoustic drums as opposed to a drum machine. Why is the use of acoustics important to you and your music?
I grew up playing the acoustic drums, they are “an extension of my limbs,” as Travis Barker would say. I feel the acoustic drums add impact like no other instrument. When I see a drummer playing just an electronic kit or no drummer on stage at all, it makes me sad. So, every show I try to bring the acoustics out in hopes of giving the crowd a more impactful and visual show like nothing they have ever seen.
Q: We’ve heard you’re a big fan of The Crystal Method. How has the duo influenced your growth as a musician? Is there potential for a collaboration between you two at any point during the festival?
Yes, a big fan of the Crystal Method. I heard them when I was 18 years old and they blew my mind. I still listen to their vinyl ‘Vegas’, many times a year. They were a huge inspiration on my musical journey through electronic music styles. I tried to re-create the beat sounds and patterns on my kit for years. They are still an influence today. I’m always down to collaborate, especially with legends in the game!
Q: New York is the birthplace of many artists performing this weekend. What is your favorite part about performing for this city?
The City is always booming and filled with life. Every time I have the pleasure of opening my hotel window, I hear music coming from the streets. There’s so much history with Hip-hop and electronic music. It’s a magical place for sure. My favorite thing was Club Love back in the day. It was home to some insane Drum n Bass nights. I played my first NYC gig there.
Q: As a Brooklynite, what does it mean to you to be performing at this year’s Brooklyn Comes Alive festival?
My favorite part about being a musician in New York is that events like this happen. It’s really incredible that such an eclectic 2 nights of programming can happen almost walking distance from my apartment. It’s one of the great privileges of playing music and living in this city.
Q: How did Brooklyn influence your start in music, specifically as you were a member of various BK based indie-rock bands?
When I got involved in the DIY scene and started playing in Brooklyn bands the most exciting thing for me was how open-eared and open-minded that scene felt to me. There was a real sense of inclusivity and potential. Strange experimental rock sharing a night with gentle songs or electronic music, it’s still the best part of the scene as far as I’m concerned. And some of the people I played with then, and the friends I’ve made who run venues and are promoters are still some of my closest collaborators to this day.
Q: Have any artists on this year’s lineup played an influence on your music and your improvisational approach?
YES! In fact, I’m lucky to be playing with one of them — Skerik. I’ve always loved his playing and his energy and the open and wild diversity of the projects he’s been a part of over the years. His ability to slip into all these different contexts while always remaining true to his own musical identity, and always sounding like no one else, is a real inspiration.
The Crystal Method:
Q: Two decades have passed since the release of your certified platinum album, Vegas. What are your thoughts on The Crystal Method still releasing music in 2037, two decades from now?
Haha! OK let’s start off with the mind F&@K question first 😉 I would love to be making music in 20 years either as TCM or that guy next door with the happy, healthy family who still enjoys twiddling his knobs.
Q: Since Vegas was created, has your definition of electronic music changed? Is this the term you would use to describe your music today?
The thing I love about the term electronic music is that it’s so vague and the styles and techniques explored by those who make it so vast, that it’s virtually impossible for someone not to find something that speaks to them.
Q: Among the massive names on this year’s Brooklyn Comes Alive lineup who are you most excited to see that you’ve never seen before?
The lineup is so eclectic! I love it! I hope to check out KJ Swaka, DJ Premier and the all-star tribute to The Allman Brothers Band just to name a few.
Q: Last time you performed at Brooklyn Comes Alive was in 2015. How does it feel to be back at this festival in your home state?
It feels great to be back! Especially with a full band this time. Daru Jones, MonoNeon and Marcus Machado are amazing musicians and I’m really excited to share this lineup with everyone.
Q: As a BK native, can you describe what you think New York brings to the music community?
It brings a whole lot of talent. There is a lot of music happening in Brooklyn right now. A lot of artists from different backgrounds and genres call it home, which allows for unique collaborations that transcend genres and introduce listeners to something new.
Q: Fans know you as a turntablist, musician and wax innovator among other things. How would you describe yourself to someone who’s never heard your music before?
I’m an eclectic performer. You never know what you’re going to get!
Q: Have any artists performing at the upcoming Brooklyn Comes Alive inspired you in either the jazz or hip-hop realm (or both), as you’re known for your innovation within both of these genres? Out of these artists who are you most excited to see on stage?
I’m excited to see all of the artists… or at least as many as I can when I’m not playing. I’m really looking forward to checking out DJ Premier & The Badder Band, Eric Krasno, and of course, George Porter Jr.
Q: Can you give any hint as to what the crowd can expect from your “DJ Logic & Friends” set with Daru Jones, MonoNeon and Marcus Machado?
We’re going to combine a little bit of everything — hip-hop, jazz, funk. You’ll just have to come out!
Thanks so much for reading, we hope this interview got you hyped up for Brooklyn Comes Alive! Check out the full lineup of awesome performances and get your tickets to the weekend event here. We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Brooklyn Comes Alive so you also can enjoy the music too! Head to our Facebook page to enter now.