photo credits: Ting Ding

1. Who are you?

DeForrest Brown, Jr.

2. What do you do?

I extract and assemble affect through media, writing and performance.

3. Where do you often create/produce?

My phone.

4. When?

I work on projects anytime I’m awake regardless of the context, and every once and a while amid lucid dreaming.

5. Why do you play music?

I couldn’t do anything else. Music, sonic affect is my life, and theory/praxis organizes my life around this.

6. When did you start making music? 

Two months ago. On a whim, in a particularly emotional fit. In the past, I’ve made a very conscious effort to situate myself as a critic. I only wanted to observe and remark on art as it occurred naturally, but after having a hard time I needed an outlet.

7. Which track defines you the most?

Ain’t Got a Pot to Piss In.

8. How would you describe your own music?

Gestural, weary…

9. Any track of the moment?

I Want You by Marvin Gaye.

10.What influences your work?

Depression, mania…I have an itch that lies beneath the skin that kind of requires that I sculpt something out of the affectual experiences that its having. But also the very nature and structure of the history of art and music…the social dynamics, line of theory and economics that confirms or denies a history…

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?

I’m a dropout that respects (and to an extent, envies) the institutional method of learning. Either way, I’ve always been curious…even as a kid, I tried to teach myself languages and read voraciously…in college, I studied film theory, philosophy and music performance. Even after leaving it behind, I’ve used my life in New York as a praxis for expanding on and filling in the gaps of what I’ve learned.

12.Favorite designer?

The fashion system is more interesting to me than any individual player. In the context of fashion, I focus specifically on the style wars.

13.Favorite book?

I have two: Jealousy by Alain Robbe-Grillet, and A Brief History of Yes by Micheline Aharonian Marcom

14.Favorite classic movie?

Again, I have two: Les Rendez-vous d’Anna by Chantal Ackerman, and Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? by William Klein

15.Favorite music label?


16.Your dream collaboration?

A project with Kanye West consolidating concepts from Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell, Pokemon Go, KHOLE, Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Project and Anne Imhof’s Angst II.

17. Are you analog or digital?

I use an iPhone, so I guess that makes me digital.

18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?

All of my musical contributions prior to me getting my hands on Ableton and Audacity a few weeks ago, was through my phone’s internal mic and a shotgun mic adapter. Recently, I’ve used Korg Gadget to program more precise percussion. I also played Trumpet and Tuba from elementary school until college, but my chops are completely gone now I’d imagine.

19.Describe your creative process?

I’ve always joked that I make art like one plays chess. I look at what space I have available in front of me, take note of the conditions of my immediate environment, and consider my own value in the matrix of these options; then, I make a move. I work mostly through assembling information that I’ve gathered while living my life, and thinking thoughts. I don’t think too much about my projects. The ideas come in neat packages for me based on whatever I’m seeing and feeling in the world.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

I work best at night, but I do all of my research during the day, and walk for up to four hours to let the ideas marinate. I listen to music constantly as a way to focus my thoughts…

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)

I pretty much only go to Boomkat to cover whatever ground my personal research and the promotional content that I receive doesn’t.

22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)

I don’t believe in philosophy being a tool for personal living, and prefer to utilize it as a consideration of every logical angle of being in a comprehensible reality. The burden of reality itself concerns me more than whether I’m happy or sad about it. But also, my hormonal makeup veers towards pessimism more times than not…I think that’s called trauma.

23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?

I live through and by my habits and logically assess and adjust where I feel there’s a need. I’m not sure what “healthy” means for people living a stylized life.

24.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)

My job is my hobby is my life. I micromanaged my natural experience of time, and every second I live is content for whatever projects I’m working on.

25. Any secret skills?

I can connect dots and draw conclusions really, really well.

26. Any future plans?

I have two solo albums and extended media content under the moniker Speaker Music coming this year and next.

A performance and exhibition with Steven Warwick as Elevator to Mezzanine, and a new performance-based project with Kepla called Substantia Nigra.

Steven Warwick & DeForrest Brown Jr.’s Elevator to Mezzanine at Secret Project Robot from ISSUE Project Room on Vimeo.

27.What’s your life motto?

Start strong, finish strong, and work hard through the middle.

28. Any “mot de la fin”?

Conversation between DeForrest Brown, Jr. & Bill Kouligas on Bomb Magazine >