Brodinski exudes an unmistakable gallic charm as steps off the Eurostar, teaming up a pair of box-fresh, all-black Nikes with a Fila roll-neck top and a discreetly flashed Rolex. He's the picture of Parisian cool. As a DJ, producer, and head of the Bromance label, Brodinski has made fusing techno's club constructs with the easy-sleaze of electro and hip-hop his modus operandi. The result, as demonstrated on his soon to be released album Brava, is a thrilling rocket through the most danceable elements of all three.
London, Brodinski tells us, is a city that means a lot to him. His first visit saw him join Andrew Weatherall at a Bugged Out party and he's kept up appearances since then. "I played the last night at The End. I played at Durr a few times, XOYO, The Nest, Fire down in Vauxhall too."
Brodinski has also spent time in the UK as one of the hosts of Radio One's flagship up-and-comers show, In New DJs We Trust. Suffice to say, London seems to a be a city in which he feels comfortable. That's not to say he takes it for granted however, noting that while it's only a two hour hop, skip and jump away, the differences between here and the French capital are vast "in food, behaviour, partying, the weather, architecture." Sometimes it feels like stepping off a plane after a twelve hour voyage into the unknown.
The English, he feels, "focus more and more on what they've got musically, be it grime, dubstep, or even new rave, which had just kicked in when I started making music," he tells THUMP. This sense of pride in good 'ol Britannia might seem a little off to anyone raised under the shadow of seemingly enforced self-effacement, but often in this life, it takes the eyes of the other to truly analyse the self.
Otherness, to me at least, seems like a necessary way of looking at what Brodinski has been working on of late. Ignore the looming spectre of hip-house and and it's not often that rap and dance explicitly link up on the dancefloor. Around five years ago, though, Brodinski decided to branch out and explore other, less housey, less bouncy, musical avenues. "I loved rap music," he says. "The Memphis scene especially, people like Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo, Project Pat. Houston was important too and I got super into DJ Screw and the rest of the Screwed Up Clique." Not just content with being a home listener, he started travelling there. "That was when I was like, 'Yeah, I want to produce music for this guys.'" So that's what he started doing.
Brava hums with untrammeled energy. It is brash and steel-brushed, the kind of record that needs to be heard thudding out of a Funktion One or at full whack on the motorway. It is a propulsive blend of trap-happy percussion and the relentless thwack of maxed out bass stacks in the club. With a vocal cast including the likes of tubby warbler ILoveMakonnen, Brick Squad affiliate Young Scooter, and Peewee Longway, he's not scrimped on talent. Part of the appeal of producing this record was the fact that it allowed him to explore something he'd noticed when he worked with Kanye West as part of the all-star production unit behind Yeezus. "Working with Kanye made me realise that while we came from different worlds, I knew all about his and he nothing of mine."
Brodinski's world emerged from the blog-scarred post-Ed Banger landscape in France in the mid-late 00s. "I feel like I have a very special story with Ed Banger, specially with DJ Medhi, Pedro, and Some, those guys, all those people helped me when I was young." Those aren't necessarily familiar names to young rappers in Atlanta, but that was part of the fun for him. "Theres been a lot of meetings with rappers, a lot of time spent in Atlanta, Washington and LA, living with them, recording with them, playing them Chris Liebling records and stuff," Brodinski recounts. They were, he tells us, seduced by the eternal power of Paris in the American imagination. This made it a bit easier to get them to agree to taking part. Whoever he was working with, it was vital that they got on on that fundamental human level.
A self-described "cultural bulimic", Brodinski strikes as being a man intent on devouring all he can about anything he's interested in, but, crucially, someone also able to step back and assess that which he's collected. "Brava wasn't going to be a concept album where you just take two genres and think they'll work together," he says. "That never works. Ever. Ever. Elton John and Bob Marley wouldn't work." Instead, Brodinski aimed for a record that worked as an effective club tool just as much as a longform listening experience. "I learned to love music with doors open. This album isn't a climax, but a new start."
Brava is released by Bromance/Parlophone on March 2