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Bro Safari, otherwise known as Nick Weiller, has been around for quite some time. He’s slowly become one of EDM’s top artists, and has played for quite a few festivals, including this year’s Electric Forest.
I had the opportunity of being able to interview Bro Safari, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Check out the interview below to learn more about this stellar producer.
So you currently live in Austin?
Bro Safari: I do.
Are you involved in the local music scene in Austin at all?
Bro Safari: Not so much, I mean, I’d like to be more of a part of it, but I’m in and out of town so much that I don’t feel like I can contribute all that much. So, when I am home, a lot of my time is spent with my family, you know? Like I don’t go out and I don’t go drinking and partying. So, that being said, I’m not that much of a part of it, however, I would like to. I’m thinking about starting a bi-monthly event in Austin or something like that just to try and give some shine to the city. I sit in my studio all day and then I go to sleep. I’m asleep at like ten or eleven every night. I’m an old man.
You’ve done a lot of collaborations in the past. Whenever you do these collaborations, do you take learn anything from them? Or do you try and contribute your own twist?
Bro Safari: Yes. Yes. Well, both. I mean, obviously, in a collab, I’m putting my own little spin on everything, but I take away more from it than I put into it just because you get to watch a producer in their zone, working with whatever program they’re using (Ableton usually). And, that’s really cool because recently, I worked with Getter, and working with him, he was doing a couple things in Ableton, and I said, “Hey, what did you just do? How did you do that?” and then he told me, and I was like, “Oh, shit! Now I know.” So, it’s the same with most people I’ve produced with. Another one recently was 12th Planet. Same thing. He said, “Hey, why are you doing this? You’re taking twice as long as you need to. You could do this and it’ll cut your workflow in half.” So, yeah, you definitely take away a lot of technical know-how from collabs.
That’s super cool. Whenever you play a festival, I know some festivals have a huge stage where you play in front of millions of people, whereas a lot of other venues and festivals are a lot more intimate. What do you take away from those?
Bro Safari: Well, I mean, the bigger the stage, the harder it is as a DJ. Because the further you are away from the crowd, the more removed you are from the crowd, the harder it is to make that connection, and I think at its core, that’s what DJing is about, is connecting with an audience, kind of being a soundtrack for the night. But over the years, that’s been lost a little bit, you know, when DJing first started, that’s what it was, a hundred percent. There was a guy there, or a girl, to play music for the whole crowd. They need to make sure that the whole crowd likes it. You know, over enough years, as time passed, it’s more about everybody coming to see the artist and reacting to the artist as opposed to the other way around. So, you kinda gotta take both into account as a DJ. Like yes, I am a DJ, but I’m also a producer, so I can’t expect people to just allow me to play whatever I want to play. I can’t get up there and play disco house because that’s what I’m into that night, and because that’s not what I’m known for. Therefore, I think with a bigger stage, you’re just really far away from everybody, and it makes it a little more difficult to read the crowd, which makes you say, “Is this working? Is this falling on deaf ears?” But when you’re at a club and there are 500 people, you know if it’s working because the people are right there in front of you. You know what I mean?
Yeah, it sounds like it’s pretty tough trying to get used to your crowd.
Bro Safari: I don’t want to say it’s hard or anything because it’s awesome. Either way, I’m up there playing music, so there’s no way to say, “Aw man, this is really hard,” but, at the same time, if I’m going to really dissect it, yeah there’s definitely a big difference.
So, you just had a meet and greet earlier today. What’s the craziest fan experience that you’ve ever had?
At this point, Bro Safari leans back in his chair and sighs. He starts thinking, and there is a muted silence.
Bro Safari: Gosh, I don’t know! I’ve honestly never had an experience where a fan crossed the line or anything like that, that I can think of. You know, a lot of the time, everybody is really cool. I’m racking my brain trying to think of something that happened that made me say, “Oh my god, this is crazy!”
Like even during a set or –
Bro Safari: I mean, I’ve seen people jump on stage doing some crazy stuff or they’ve run up to me while I’m playing and things in that nature, and I guess it’s crazy but it’s not that crazy. People just get into it. Years ago, like when twerking first started, there were shows that I was played on a tour that I was on while that was happening, that girls would just rush the stage and twerk, and we weren’t really about that. If you guys want to do that, that’s cool, but I’m not the twerk DJ. I’m just trying to do my thing here. But honestly, I don’t have any crazy fan stories. Yeah, I don’t, unfortunately. God, I’m so boring!
Nah, you’re not! You’re a cool dude. So, originally, you used to produce drum and bass music but then you started transitioning to dubstep and trap. How did you decide that you wanted to switch genres?
Bro Safari: I started producing drum and bass in 1998 and committed my entire existence to it for years. And then, drum and bass just kind of died down a little bit in terms of popularity, and electro, dubstep, things like that just became really popular. I was living in LA at the time, and LA was the hot bed for all of that. So I was going out, and my friends, like Kill The Noise, he was a drum and bass guy before Kill The Noise. All of my friends were doing these awesome, big things with their projects, and I was like, “Man, I’m missing out,” but I wasn’t into it. I wasn’t into electro. I liked dubstep, but my version of dubstep that I was making at the time was like glitch, weird stuff. So, I just kind of hesitated for a while, and then eventually, I heard moombahton, which was a genre of music that I had never heard of. I didn’t know what it was about. I had never heard anything like it! So, I just kinda said, “This is what I’m going to try right now,” and that’s what Bro Safari became. Early on, it was the moombahton thing, and then I heard trap. Bro Safari had originally started as a dubstep project, so I mean, it’s just kind of evolved in and out. Hopefully, I’m at the point now where I can just do whatever I want, which is what I want. If I can’t make whatever I want to make, then that’s messed up.
Okay, so last question. So, you just released “Follow”, which was an amazing track, by the way, I love it.
Bro Safari: Thank you.
And we also heard from your Twitter that you have a collaboration with 12th Planet coming up. What up and coming releases do you have for the next year?
Bro Safari: My next single that I’m working on right now is a song with a vocalist named Sarah Hudson, who is also the lovely wife of Brillz, who everybody knows. She sang for it. She does a lot of top-line writing for Katy Perry, people like that. She’s really an established, well-known vocalist/songwriter. I’ve known her for years as I’ve known Sammy, Brillz. I reached out to her and asked to do vocals for a song that I was working on, and she said, “Yeah, sure,” and she did it, and she sent it over. When I was listening to it, I was like, “I don’t know if this works,” so I just took her vocals and started a completely new song with it because it didn’t work with what I had sent her, which is interesting because that doesn’t happen often, but I took her vocals and I started a new track, which is going to be my next single. It’s kind of a dubstep anthem. It’s not just kind of crazy noises for the sake of it. It’s very melodic. Anyways, that’s my next single. Besides that, I’m working on a tune with Dillon Francis, I’m working on a tune with Getter, I’m working on a tune with 12th Planet, and then I also have a handful of original tracks that I’m working on. I think the idea is to try and get an EP out this year, but I’m just sick of trying to force myself to put out a body of work. I don’t think people care that much anymore. I think they just want music, so I’m just going to finish a song and put it out. Finish a song and put it out. And then by the end of the year if I put out twenty songs, I’ll be like, “Alright, here’s my album.” I’m pretty happy with where things are at. Now, I’m just doing song by song.
Gotcha. Well, I’m super excited to hear your work, and good luck on your set!
Bro Safari: Thank you so much for interviewing me!
After dealing with fangirls and journalists, we parted ways. If you were at Electric Forest, I hope you saw Bro Safari’s set because he killed it. The way that the crowd reacted to each of his songs… unforgettable.
If you’re in Chicago in July, be sure to catch Bro Safari’s Lollapalooza after show at evilOlive! You must be 21+ to go. Get your tickets now!
interviewed and photographed by Deanna Williams.
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