Interview: BRUNANI

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Photograph: Juan Manuel Pérez

SCAN’s Music Editor Chris Irvine caught up with one of Lazy Democracy Records founding members, Amir Kursun, along with 19 year old signed DJ BRUNANI – real name Leandro Aragon – prior to their event at Apothecary on Friday the 5th of February. They discussed the trials and tribulations of organising the event, their working relationship as DJ and managing label whilst also pondering the importance of varied influences in the making EDM and Techno music.

So, “BRUNANI” – where does that name come from?

L: When I was still a prepubescent kid, I used to call myself DJ Punany. I obviously didn’t have too much going on in my head! [laughs] But I decided to start a duo with a friend whose last name was Bran, so we combined names to make BRUNANI.

A: It’s obviously a hilarious story.

Absolutely. I’ve listened to your music and it’s a great mixture of big drops and chilled out grooves – how would you describe your style?

L: I’d say my music production is different to what I play, as in I really try to mix it a lot to produce the most eclectic catalogue of work that I can. I’ve got a lot of upcoming music that is pretty hardcore, whereas more of my recent releases have a much more personal and intense quality to them. One of my newest tracks, ‘Reality’, starts off really soft before taking a twist and becoming really dark; the idea of the song was to start in a dream, a tranquil sleep, before life gives you a rude awakening: a constancy of noise and unrelenting brutality. The song suddenly stops at the end and someone says “you can’t escape your reality”, which is pretty bleak of course, but as I said the intent was to make it intensely personal.

So you really are trying to create atmospheric, impressionistic pieces of music that people can interpret like a painting – while also being able to dance to it?

L: I do want to give people a stimulating experience beyond just a good song, yes. The songs need to be personal – they need to embody human emotions and moods, so that you can do anything with them playing in the background: you can eat to it, have sex to it, study to it, take drugs to it, not take drugs to it… You can do whatever you want to it. That’s my goal.

To do what you do, do you think you need to take a keen interest in other artists and genres to succeed in Techno and House music? Or can you work 100% with synthetic sounds, avoiding those influences?

L: It’s interesting – there are hardcore Techno producers out there that only listen to their own genre; never anything else. And what they create I personally find incredibly innovative. But I think you should never set yourself in one box. I’ve taken music theory courses because you can’t make music without knowing the basic building blocks of creating a song, but then you can take it in your own direction. It’s more stimulating in my mind and, in terms of marketing to a wider audience, a no-brainer.

How did BRUNANI and Lazy Democracy Records first come into contact?

L: Well actually I was told about them by a friend back in Panama who knew Amir and knew he was starting a label with friends.

A: It was a random thing: we had launched the label and I went for a drink to celebrate with people from home, and I met this mutual friend and she told me that she knew this guy who made his own music. She said he was very good, so I told her “okay, get him to send me an email”, and that’s how it started. We’ve been burdened with him ever since. [laughs] No, he really is fantastic. We genuinely love everything he gives us; we are very lucky.

L: Thank you very much! [laughs]

Leandro, which do you prefer: live performing as a DJ or producing tracks in the studio?

L: The thing is, when I first started – back when I was about 12 years old – I DJ’d a lot, but then I realised I had to stop because I had to learn my craft theoretically before I could progress practically. So I lost a lot of contacts through doing that as I disappeared from the scene for a while, but that meant that when I did come back I was grateful for every gig I got, which really taught me to be appreciative and passionate for every opportunity. Ultimately, that attitude improved both my music and my performance skills and continues to do so, so I’ve been quite lucky.

Amir, tell me about the problems you’ve had getting tonight’s gig organised…

A: Oh, God!

I know, I’m asking you to dig deep here! It sounds like it was an absolute nightmare. Well, of course, it was for a lot of people, but… Storm Desmond?

A: Storm bloody Desmond! [laughs] So, we were getting ready for a gig in Mojo that evening and we got a phonecall mid-afternoon from their management saying “the floods are coming.” So, they closed the club, we posted on Facebook that the event was cancelled, and the power went out. Everywhere. So, it was the right call. [laughs] So we rearranged during the holidays to hold the event on the 5th of February, and we arranged for Leandro to fly in from Berlin. “BRUNANI is playing Mojo” – no problem, right? Well, we got back for the first week of second term and we heard rumblings that Mojo was closing… which turned out to be true. So we panicked: Leandro was still coming and we didn’t have a venue! But on the very day we found out Mojo was closing we managed to relocate the event to Apothecary for the same date. So we were very lucky. But I think I’m also going to die young now. [laughs]

L: I appreciate the effort!

As do many others as well, I’m sure! I hope the event goes well tonight, guys, and I’m sure it will!            

L: Thank you.

A: Thanks a lot, Chris.

My absolute pleasure, thank you both.

You can find out more about BRUNANI from his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrunaniOficial) and from Lazy Democracy Records’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lazydemocracy).

Listen to BRUNANI for free on his SoundCloud page: www.soundcloud.com/brunani