Born in Tuttlingen but based in Berlin, Figub Brazlevič caught our attention a while back with his infectious old school hip-hop production. We caught up with the beatmaker/DJ/producer to find out a little more about his process and how he started out…
What sort of music were you exposed to when you were growing up?
Figub Brazlevič: My uncle is a heavy music addict and my brother and I were listening for days to the tapes he made. It was a mix including songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Jimi Hendrix, Steve Miller Band, The Doors, but also bands like Yello and Guns’n’Roses, The Ramones and especially The Rolling Stones.
Later on I started skateboarding and those VHS’s, like 411VM, had such dope soundtracks from hip-hop to metal and punk-rock. At the same time I was listening to hardcore, techno and gabber (laughs), such a different influence.
I started listening to hip-hop when I was around 12 years old. Later I dug my mum’s music, stuff like Carole King, Eric Clapton, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz and many more. Fun fact: my whole family are music addicts, only my father isn’t into it – he has had very bad hearing since he was born. But he likes reggae: Black Uhuru, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley & The Wailers and so on. And of course I was exposed to teenager music, stuff that was popular when I was between 11 and 15: Snap, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Kriss Kross, MC Hammer, Neneh Cherry, Scooter, The Prodigy, Prince, Westbam, Die Ärzte, Whitney Houston, Shaggy, Faith No More, etc.
How did the idea for Krekpek come up?
Krekpek started a few years back and was used as a platform for Benne to exercise his skills in graphic design but always with an idea to do something bigger. In 2016 Benne and me joined up to make Krekpek Records, which now have various artists under their belt and not only music wise but graffiti and skateboarding are also becoming part of the mix! 2017 has been a powerful year for Krekpek and the final steps have been made to assure a positive impact and realness in 2018 and the years to come.
When did you start making your own music and what was it like to begin with?
I started making music when I was between 11 and 12. Friends of mine had a program which was called Sound Club for MS-DOS. I was starting with techno stuff and also went to keyboard lessons, but I didn’t like to play that stuff they gave me to learn, so I quit and started to make my own music. I was lucky that my cousin gave me a 3×86 PC (Pentium wasn’t out yet) and I had that program on 15 floppy disks. That was prehistoric, working on a PC. At the age of 13 or 14 one of my homies asked if I could make a hip-hop beat for him. The first one was straight on what he wanted, so his feedback made me go on until now.
What equipment do you use now?
I’m using a computer, DAW (Ableton Live), a Clavinova, The Maschine and Kontrol S25 by Native Instruments, AKAI MPC2000, Yamaha Speakers and other recording gear. For DJ-ing I use Traktor with the Kontrol Z2 and/or the S4 by Native Instruments.
Does living in Berlin influence the music you make?
Yes and no. It did, but it’s not like a typical romance story: guy leaves his roots to find his inspirations in the big city. It did influence my lifestyle. Living in Berlin gave me the chance to do the East-West Sessions at club Panke in the district Wedding, for example. It’s a jam session with live musicians who improvise for two hours, then we have acts with beatmakers and rappers and at the end we party. For a long time we provided 7inch vinyls with exclusive songs by the performing artists for free if you paid the entrance. Berlin is rough.
Where in the world would you most like to perform?
Mostly where I haven’t before. I would like to play on the beach or in the woods, nature is always nicer than a club. Or on an airplane, on a ship or on a train. Unconventional or beautiful places. I’m already glad that I can perform. Abroad is always a nice experience.
What are the top things you’d suggest music fans visiting Berlin should go and see/do/eat/drink?