Red Bull Studios spotlight: Musical prodigies
Dance music sage Bill Brewster on collaborating at Red Bull Studio Auckland in 2012.
DJ and writer (of the brilliant and universally acclaimed Last Night A DJ Saved My Life) Bill Brewster is no stranger to collaborations. He's worked with fellow writer Frank Broughton for two decades now, launching djhistory.com with him. Bill was a perfect choice, then, to mentor some up-and-coming talent for Red Bull Prodigy 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Bill was paired with homegrown duo Chaos In The CBD, while Parks partnered B.Haru and Jeremy Toy worked with Watercolours. With another edition of Red Bull Prodigy set to get under way very soon, putting mentors and new artists into Red Bull Studio Auckland for a series of two-week sessions, we caught up with Bill to find out more about making music to the power of two.
Is there an art to collaborating? I don't think there is. It's really about finding people with whom there's a chemistry, but also it's important they have skills that you don't and vice versa. A good collaboration is one where you're stronger as a partnership than as an individual. My favourite collaborator is obviously Frank Broughton, since we've been working together for 20 years. But in the studio, my two favourites have been Alex Tepper, and Beans and Louis [aka Chaos In The CBD] in Auckland.
As the elder statesman, did you learn anything from Chaos In The CBD? I'm not convinced age has anything to do with it. We got on well personally, which is the most important thing. And they had loads of ideas. I just tried to help channel them and give them advice when I could, in between making them laugh and taking the piss out of Beans.
What about the idea of rebelling against previous generations? I think that's important too, I'm only surprised that it hasn't happened to me yet. I certainly did it to the previous generation.
Is there a danger of institutionalising dance music? Stifling things? I don't think collaborating has anything to do with that. What's pushed dance music forward has always been hungry dancefloors, so I think it's more important to be in touch with what's happening in clubs than with who you're working with.
What advice do have for anyone joining the project this year? Be receptive to ideas. Have fun. Experiment – it's one of the few times you'll have in the studio with no pressure to produce. So get the tea on.
What trends are you most excited about in electronic music? I'm not so interested in trends as I am in individual producers. My favourite right now is Bullion. He has his own label Deek, on which he's just released a collaboration with Jesse Hackett from Elmore Judd called Blludd Relations. It's fantastic and odd.