L.A. producer and musician Piero Gazzani first caught me ear after he released his 2016 EP Changes. In fact, it was one of the first articles on this website. Now, a year and a half later and the artist better known as TV Blonde is back with his debut full-length Brown Boy Blues. Made up of fifteen songs, the LP is a free-flowing descent into sorrow and depression, with a rather hopeful and bright-eyed finale. Like falling asleep, having some helpless nightmares, and waking up to a sunny day. In the quick chat posted below, I spoke with TV Blonde about the album, about his studio setup, about his tight circle, and much more.
Now that we're almost 1/3 of the way through, how has 2018 been treating you?
Ehhh… It’s been whatever. Some days are pretty cool but most days just go by. My barber fucked my shit up.
How would you describe your new album to a stranger on the street?
Here’s what my life sounded like being depressed for a year. And also my really off kilter approach to jazz.
This is your first project since your 2016 EP Changes, but you released mixes, collaborations, and loose tracks throughout 2017. Were you working on Brown Boy Blues all of last year? How do you feel you've grown/changed since Changes? (hehe)
I see what you did there//// but I began work on Brown Boy Blues while finishing up Changes initially as a small EP of ambient songs a few with some vocals laid down on them. At that time I was playing piano every single day and just playing keys all day. I tried to make jazz music as well. I tried laying drums but all I was really able to do was play keys and set a mood the drums I was crafting were trash. It wasn’t till shortly after Changes I realized its time for me to drop an album, Collective Resonance hit me up to drop a vinyl so it felt like the stars aligned and it was time to start taking this project more seriously. I worked on this project all year, I couldn’t get out of bed but if it did, It was either to shit or work on the album. I reached a point where tides have turned I was making fire ass drum loops but really trash chord progressions. So i combined a lot of the material from the ambient EP with the drum loops and made gumbo, which was a really weird approach to me. I used to be really technical with my sound but here I was kind of hitting more of a mood and feeling. Everyday was really shitty and all these songs come from a really dark place so once i conveyed my mood into sound I felt like I didn’t have energy to continue on from there. It was all such a weird process in making my music that I still am getting used to now but hope not to continue.
Given the title, would you care to talk about your heritage?
I’m Peruvian, Japanese, and Italian. My parents are both from Peru though so I’m part of the Latino community or the “brown” community [laughs]...Peruvian culture has always been a big part of my family. My dad is like the the most patriotic Peruvian I’v ever met, you can bring up any topic, thing, idea and he’ll manage to tie that into Peru. Our food is also fucking amazing. If you haven’t had Peruvian food, stop reading this and go right now. Seriously. Now. Shout out Inca Kola.
Do you have a particularly favorite song (or perhaps session) when you think about Brown Boy Blues?
Yeah, it definitely has to be "Somewhere Else" because I got extremely techy with that song and its also the best keys I’ve ever played in my life as well as the bass line. I can’t believe I came up with and played that bass line. I made that right after watching Kuso by Flying Lotus and sampled the intro when home girl autoerotic asphyxiates her mans and sings into his ear. "Everything Will Be Okay" also has a special place in my heart because it's relevant to my life right now. There's also plenty of outtakes that didn’t make the album that I loved including an alternate version of "Everything Will Be Okay".
With cosigns in the liner notes from Tomppabeats and Harris Cole, you're obviously in good company. Do you often bounce ideas off one another?
There's only a few people I talk to about music; Sokro, Tomppa, Harris, Pax, and Kikkujo. They’re people I trust in giving me honest opinions. But me, Sokro, and Pax are constantly sending each other songs and bouncing ideas back and fourth. Those are the homies and we all get each other.
What's your typical studio setup?
I’m here on Ableton, a 404, a lot of records, a shitty Fender guitar, a shitty Fender bass, and a shitty M-Audio midi keyboard, and plenty of water on deck. Rest in peace to the 404 though, I’m glad I got to get some use out of it in Brown Boy Blues.
What's the rest of the year looking like for you?
Growing out of this shitty haircut, playing more shows, filming a music video, a lot of music with the homies, and a beat tape once I get out of the constant rotation of everyday being shitty. I’m getting there tho.
You've been in LA for a minute, right? How do you view the current 'scene'/music culture?
I’ve been in LA my whole life so I been here for a whole hour. The beat scene is cool right now everyones doing their thing, everyone's chilling and there's always shit going down. It’s something really nice but lately it’s been feeling really over saturated. The beat scene has really been turning mega cheesy, But I don’t think that's an LA beat scene thing it's beyond that. A lot of dudes understand the culture but there's been a lot of people who don’t understand the culture at all and make really fucking trash music with the same jazz sample they got from a YouTube playlist of “Rare Jazz samples” that's been flipped 100 times with horribly mixed quantized ass drums. I feel like an old head yelling at people who bump Yachty [laughs]. But you can immediately tell the difference of someone who understands the culture and doesn’t. This shit is rooted in hip-hop and apparently everyone's forgetting that. It's just been really cheesy lately. But again that's not a LA beat scene problem so I’m really just off topic and ranting at this point [laughs].
Outside of your own art, what have you been listening to / reading / watching as of late?
A lot of Alex G. He’s probably my favorite artist right now. Also Pinkout Bathroom on SoundCloud, my friend Jep put me on them and they’re amazing. Atlanta on FX has been amazing as well, it’s my favorite show on television right now. Also a lot of Gundam.
Do you have any advice for artists working on their craft?
Just chill, stop trying to be the next big artist and just be genuine. Be really slow with your work and take plenty of time not working on your craft and enjoy life. I can assure that your purist art will come off experiences outside of your art. Don’t think about it too much.
Do you have any final thoughts / words of wisdom?
Go cop a vinyl of Wildflower by Pax and go cop a tape of Ur by Sokro, these are beautiful albums I’m glad to be a part of. Oh yeah and go listen to Brown Boy Blues by me, I worked really long and hard on that so I hope you enjoy it.