Michael is a 21 year old DJ/Producer originally from Haiti and over the past year has garnered a lot of attention thanks to his beautifully constructed remixes and originals. Having already generated the foundations of an impressive discography with memorable tracks released first on Revealed and many on Dirty South's Phazing, Michael Brun is one to watch. So I hope you enjoy this following interview with a strong talent ready for the year to come, enjoy:
You have an interesting past, tell the readers about it.
Michael Brun: I started producing around 15-16 years old and I always loved house music. I was really into house music since I was about 10. It really appealed to me because it was melodic, very energetic, and it was one of the styles of music that made people want to move. It also wasn't that big at Haiti at that point and I started producing when I was living over there. I went online and joined forums to try to find as much information as possible about the music. That's how I found out about Ableton which is a program that I use now. I started playing piano when I was 6 and I also started playing guitar, violin, and I sang as well. So I have a musical background that was very useful when I started to produce. At around 16 years old I started to make bootlegs and mashups that were probably pretty bad. (laughs) But I kept on going and eventually got a lot of support from people I found online who were also producing so I met a lot of producers that way. The first track that got attention was my first single called “Dawn” which was signed on Revealed Recordings in December 2011. It just went from there.
What was the first house record that really got you hooked?
Michael Brun: The one that got me into house music in the first place was “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi, but the track that made me want to produce the Axwell remix of “2 Million Ways” by C-Mos. I just thought that it was so well done and it really appealed to me. I don't know how he did it but I wanted to find out and do it on my own.
Define the Michael Brun style
Michael Brun: I try to infuse as much melody as possible and keep the song writing aspect of production at the core. I feel like a lot of electronic music right now is focused on making it work in club or at a festival which is really loud and crazy – and I think that's cool. But for me I didn't really go to clubs when I was younger so I have a different approach from my instrumental background to listening to 80s music and rock that my parents listened to. My approach is always on getting the melody right. But I don't actively try to make a club song as I just try to make music that I like.
Do you always try to incorporate your instrumental background into your song making, especially with your piano work?
Michael Brun: Absolutely. I try to keep as many organic sounding instruments in the production. In some remixes that I've done, the piano has been the central element. Sometimes I get an original idea for a track from the guitar and then I transfer that into the program note by note. (laughs)
My studio setup is very simple, I didn't have a midi keyboard until 2 weeks ago. I was doing everything by just clicking on the computer with headphones. So it's been really really basic and that's what I've been doing. I'm comfortable with it and I do it really fast. I get an idea in my head and I just transfer it that way.
So you were very much a laptop producer until very recently?
Michael Brun: Yeah. I think the programs are so powerful and there's so much you can do with your laptop. Once you have a good processor, RAM, and you know your program – you can get a lot done. You can come up with melodies by only singing as I try to keep that stripped down element within my tracks.
Tell me about your relationship with Dirty South and Phazing Records.
Michael Brun: I got into contact with Phazing back in January 2012 and they signed my first track called “Rise”. Two months after they signed the track they invited me down to Ultra in Miami and I played two shows with Dirty South over there. That's where I met Dirty South for the first time as well as my manager. Looking back, it was a really important trip. They were really helpful in pushing my stuff and getting my music out to the wider public.
Have you found your own sound yet?
Michael Brun: I think it's an on going journey. I don't think you ever have a moment where you think that “I've got it”. My sound will continue evolving but I have a vision of where I want to go and what direction I want to go. So it's about working as hard as possible to go there while learning on the way.
Where's the big room sound heading in 2014?
Michael Brun: I think it's going to go back to more melodic stuff again. I really do. It seems over the last 2 years it's been all about the hardstyle, really clubby, raging music. Maybe the next big sound will come from deep house or nu-disco, more melodic stuff. It seems that everyone is trying to get back to something... They're looking back and trying to incorporate some stuff from the past to modern music. I really think the melodic stuff is coming back.
You have recently remixed Armin Van Buuren and Dash Berlin – do you have an affinity to remix trance tracks?
Michael Brun: I didn't actively try to remix trance tracks. It just so happens that these artists were into my music and let me remix them. It's been kind of crazy because I would have never imagined that all of these trance producers have been supporting my stuff. Above & Beyond has really pushed my music as well so it's been awesome. I'm so thankful for it. It came out of nowhere, I wasn't expecting it.
Just to be clear, they invited you to remix their tracks?
Michael Brun: Yes. I was contacted by Dash Berlin for that remix for “Steal You Away”, and because of that, that's how the Armin remix came along. With every remix that I've done, I've been able to get in touch with other artists who are also interested in remixes. My first big remix was the Dirty South remix of “Your Heart” which a lot of those guys were playing out, and then I did the one for Calvin Harris, Dash Berlin, Alicia Keys, Armin, and Tiesto.
Those are pretty big names
Michael Brun: Yeah, I'm still shocked. I'm very thankful for their support because I look up to all of them. I've been listening to their music for years and it's an honour to their get support and their faith to let me do a track for them.
You are about to play in Montreal at the New City Gas for the first time, what can fans expect from your Montreal debut?
Michael Brun: I'm super hyped for this. I've heard such good things about the club and the city in general. I'll be playing a lot of new material and I'm trying to get this track ready so I can debut it in Montreal. I'll also be playing some of my upcoming releases as well as my personal edits. I'm really excited to see the reaction from the crowd and I'm looking forward to the show.
2014 is here, do you have any big things in the works that you can talk about?
Michael Brun: There's so much happening this year. My manager and agent have been working really hard to get stuff ready but some of the big shows that I'll be playing is Coachella, which I can't believe I'll get to play this year. I'm also playing EDC Mexico and a lot more festivals this year, and those will be announced soon. As for the music, I'm really happy with the latest tracks that I've been making and I believe they are the best songs that I've ever made so far, so I cannot wait to get these out to the listeners. It's all for them and I enjoy making music so I can hear back from them.
Are these original tracks that you're talking about?
Michael Brun: Yeah it's a lot of originals actually.
So you're focusing more on originals this year rather than remixes?
Michael Brun: Yeah. Last year was all about remixes and this year it's all about originals.
Which labels will you be working under, still all at Phazing?
Michael Brun: It's actually a mix of labels. I don't have all of the details as to where and when but they're going to be out soon. The one that I'm able to talk about now is my track with Dubvision that's got such an amazing vocal and I really like it. Hopefully it will be out around March. I'll be playing it in Montreal though.
My special thanks to Michael Brun for this excellent interview.