For this special feature, we worked with musician and producer, Andrew Brazendale of Fauzi Productions. In response to the theme The F Word: fun and creativity, Andy created a musical piece titled, KULTURE KID. Ridiculously catchy, amazingly rich and complex, KULTURE KID is a track you’ll want to set to repeat and listen to all day long.
In fact, we highly recommend you do just that as you read through our interview with Andy about his creative process to make this deliciously fun song.
KULTURE KID | FAUZI PRODUCTIONS
KultureKid: Andy, thanks so much for an amazing track! Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve been involved with music either as an artist or producer for some years. What sparked and continued your interest in this area?
Andy: Thank you Vick for supporting me through-out my music endeavours! I’m mega stoked to officially be a Kulture Kid.
After I resisted an attempted sculpting by my music teacher to turn me into a classical guitar virtuoso, I joined a punk rock band at school which most angsty teenagers do right? After a while, I really wanted to record us playing but didn’t know how. So I borrowed my grandfather’s tape recorder and decided to just record us live. I have been fascinated with capturing sound ever since. Being somewhat technologically behind with the times, I owned a Fostex 4 track that I would spend hours recording in my bedroom. Really nonsense stuff but it gave me an idea on how to layer my music with limited resources. I caught up with the times and got into the digital side of audio editing. So there has always been a balance of being a songwriter and an engineer to my own music at the same time. I think it has always suited my songwriting style to write and record everything myself as the recording studio has essentially become an instrument and creative tool in itself.
Also, I am inherently a very private person with some experience having my music recorded in a studio by someone else and I just hated not having control behind the desk and the fact that someone could listen to my performance before it was edited. So I think continuing in this way inevitably led me to where I am now which is starting my own music production business so that I can partake in dipping my toes in all areas of music production and sound design which is what I find the most fun.
KultureKid: Over the years, how do you think your style has evolved?
Andy: As I played for various bands and got involved with different projects, I got an insight into a widely diverse range of creative processes as well as musical influences. I’ve been lucky to work closely with some extremely talented songwriters and artists and they have essentially shaped how I write music today. Wanting to get my hands on every single piece of music from the small crevices of the planet (a hopeless endeavour I have discovered) has also helped me stay afloat in a melting pot of musical flavours. I can’t say I have a style now. If I do, I certainly can’t pick up on it. I think I have common repetitions in terms of songwriting and I have always been easily influenced by artists that I listen to a lot of at the time of writing a song. It’s probably best for me not to be biased in terms of style as I am expected to write within boundaries of what is suitable to a particular brand. I’m not going to write a hip hop influenced track for a funeral company just like I’m not going to write a funk reggae tune for a seniors living residence.
KultureKid: We gave you a pretty broad theme to respond to. Can you talk us through a bit about your creative process to make a track like KULTURE KID?
Andy: The first few days of starting on your track, I said to myself, this is going to be a breeze. A couple of weeks in, I messaged you in a panic admitting that I had never written a song based around fun before! It certainly has been a great learning experience to step outside of what I am used to writing. As you had given me complete creative control, I really had to think about how I would approach the track. I wanted it to be really good too as I am a big fan of the KKD. So I thought about what is fun to me now in comparison to what was fun to me as a child, you know the time when you are meant to be having fun. I can honestly say not much has changed. I played by myself a lot. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends, but I just chose to be alone as my idea of playtime was different to my friends. I might not have liked a voice one of my friends used for a toy or I didn’t like the scene or the storyline of a game. So to avoid it, I would create my own. My toys are a lot more expensive now, but that’s essentially all they are and I’m always playing. So the idea of “making a space” to “set our minds alight” was me kind of speaking to my instruments as to say “let’s play” Being a kid, a big kid who is invested in culture, I can’t simply shape myself out of it even if I were to try. It’s who I am!
KultureKid: There’s a lot of layers and texture to the track. What actually goes into sampling and creating some of the unique sounds that feature in it?
Andy: I sampled some toy commercials from the 60’s. As it was a big time for space adventure then, all the toy companies were big on selling spaceman themed stuff. Something I would’ve probably loved as a kid. The companies were also setting the scene for playtime…who will be first to do it? Imagine if it was you!? There is a lot of percussion going on in the track and I have always loved Afro-Cuban music, particularly Mongo Santamaria’s album “Live at the Village Gate” and as that album is hideously fun to listen to, I wanted to emulate Mongo’s playing style throughout the tune.
There is a virtual piano that I created using the sound emulated from banging this pole at work with a mallet and it produces a lovely kind of vibraphone effect. The choir you hear in the mix are an African group who were singing this lovely tune and sadly I couldn’t dig deep enough into the internet to find out where it came from. I was also really loving the vocal work that the English composer John Powell did for a couple of films he worked on which incorporated putting a bunch of vocalists in a room and telling them to sound out the most ridiculous sounds they could which is what I did at the end of the song by overdubbing myself countless times either grunting, chanting, screaming, whining or gargling into the mic. Coincidently, I lost my voice the next day!
KultureKid: What has been your favourite part of creating the KULTURE KID track?
Andy: Just finding new ways of being creative. I loved turning myself into the singer who is essentially a character I created. Also telling a story about what it means to me to be a KULTURE KID.
KultureKid: What’s been the most challenging part of the KULTURE KID process for you?
Andy: Overcoming negativity and stepping into new territory of songwriting. An inevitable part of any song I write now is going through a stage of “Oh lord I am hopeless and I should never write another song again” which I bet a lot of others go through and not just in the musical format. As well as being like a free range chook in a creative way. I expect a huge amount of boundaries when writing a song based upon a theme or genre like, use this particular instrument or key or chord progression. Make it sound this way or that way. You let me loose without these boundaries and I ran around like a chicken with his head cut off! (a favourite expression for Vegetarians)
KultureKid: You’ve got an amazing company – Fauzi Productions – but you also work another job. How do you juggle both of these and does one ever influence the other?
Andy: Luckily there is a fair amount of downtime in my “daytime” job which is essentially what I use to fund Fauzi Productions at the moment, so in that time I am always marketing or looking for new technology to be able to offer more services for clientele. They don’t get in the way of each other that much. I am lucky there.
KultureKid: What’s next for you and Fauzi Productions?
Andy: Fauzi is just a baby at the moment but I hope to really kick off soon. At the moment I am in talks with an independent film producer for potentially scoring their short film. I am also talking to a rather large Hobart based company on potentially creating audio for their next batch of commercials and Facebook media too. I don’t want to jinx it though so I won’t say much about that! I’m also looking at drawing up some sort of tour for Fauzi for exposure but it’s difficult to find a purpose or even content for that outlet. A few other minor things like creating video content for Fauzi and press kits but also projects for much larger things that will take years to eventuate to a preproduction point I imagine. It’s all very exciting.
Andy, thank you so much for this amazing track and for sharing your process with us!
If you’d like to check out Fauzi Productions, head over to their website fauziproductions.com and also check out our Issue 3 contributors page to find out more about Andy.