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16th Annual Artist Survey: Brandon Coleman

Coleman on Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, Stan Lee, Anthony Bourdain, and the First R Rated Movie He Saw

Feb 28, 2019 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar‘s 16th Annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last year, plus some fun personal questions. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2018 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Brandon Coleman.

Los Angeles-based Coleman is a keyboardist Kamasi Washington‘s band, but more than that, he’s an old friend of Washington’s and a solo artist in his own right. On in 2018 he released a new album, Resistance, via Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label.

For our annual Artist Survey we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about the midterm elections, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, Kanye West visiting the White House, the #MeToo movement a year later, mental health conditions in the music industry, whether or not they have Flossed, childhood birthday parties and vacations, which Muppets character they are most like, whether or not they are going to The Good Place after death, and much more.

Top 10 Albums of 2018

1. Nyeusi & Justin Brown: NyeusiI obviously love traveling. When we we’re on the road, one of the added bonuses are that we get to all share music. I fondly remember hearing this record on the tour this past summer. I’m really proud of Justin for this one!

2. Techdizzle: All or NothinWhat can I say, this is dope! The production is incredible! The verses are thought provokingly lyrical, and I love that he’s got Terrace Martin featured on this one! Alpha pub, always putting out amazing content!

3. Kamasi Washington: Heaven and EarthWell, being privileged enough to actually be on this particular record, brings me great joy. My brother Kamasi took us to the mountaintop and back on this one! I just really love the orchestral arranging.

4. Georgia Anne Muldrow: OverloadShe’s amazing. I used to play gigs with her pops. He was an awesome guitar player, and he used to always talk about his daughter singing and producing. This record is cutting edge. The grooves are custom made. Tight!

5. Ghost Note: SwagismThis is just truly creative. Funky arrangements too. Robert is always on point! And some amazing features! Bobby Sparks, Kamasi Washington and Prudence the Auset Sneed, and Philip Lassiter to name a few.

6. Various Artists: Brainfeeder XEssentially this is a compilation. These are some of my favorite songs! The remixes are insane! Flying Lotus does it again! And the artwork is extraordinary.

7. PJ Morton: Gumbo Unplugged (Live)This is just great music. Gumbo the studio version was released in 2017. This is a great live recording and just exquisite vocals!

8. Nicki Minaj: QueenShe kills this. So lyrical and so sexy at the same time! Her rhythm and rhyme are so on point!

9. August Greene: August GreeneRobert Glasper’s touch and Kareem Riggins effortless drum grooves, laced with Common’s lyrical navigation. These guys nailed it.

10. Anderson .Paak: OxnardThis was a long time coming, and so worth the anticipated wait. This record is a party! So pop and so Oxnard! I’m proud to be a friend. This is fire!

What was the highlight of 2018 for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

The highlight of 2018 for me was just releasing my record Resistance on Brainfeeder this year. Just seeing the manifestation of that, it has been quite a thrill! So far the lowest point for me was hearing that that Aretha Franklin has passed away. She is such an intricate part popular music today. She paved the way for all of us! Long live the queen.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. midterm elections have played out? What do you think the results mean for the Democrats’ chances of taking back the White House in 2020?

Well first I am just glad so many people made it out to vote. I feel a certain patriotic kinship with my fellow Americans. I was surely glad the Democrats were able to gain control of the House. It seems like the Democratic Party is ready to take back the White House in 2020. I think we’re all awake.

Despite compelling testimony from Christine Blasey Ford and sexual assault allegations from other women, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in a Supreme Court Justice and many Republican women didn’t believe Ford’s story. What does this tell you about the general state of the #MeToo movement in 2018?

What that says is Republicans can pretty much do or say anything without any kind of recourse, and as long as we allow this divide amongst us we will never be able to fully have access to any sort of justice. Those women deserve better than this, we deserve better. As I can recall looking at the testimony, I knew there was serious divide happening. And believe me, not all Republicans are bad, but most people who tell me they are Republican I question their intentions.

A year after the #MeToo movement, do you feel things gotten better or worse in terms of issues of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and misogyny in the music industry?

Since the #MeToo movement has started, I feel like there’s a new sheriff in town. I think it’s the best thing to ever happen! It’s time to get these dirty rotten scoundrel’s out of here so we can get back to the real harmony. Love. I think musicians are more conscious of what we say and how we act, unwarranted advances are never cool.

Be honest, did you Floss in 2018? (Meaning the dance craze, not the dental care.)

I Flossed just a little bit. I have nieces and nephews for Christ sake. Lol!

Which Muppets character are you most like and why?

I liked Gonzo! He was a little quirky, extra awkward. He kind of had a little Larry David flare about him and he liked his women a little thick, I can dig it.

Are you less of a fan of Kanye West now that he’s visited the White House and has in other ways supported President Trump?

I think Kanye West will always be a brilliant producer, mogul, rapper, and clothing designer. But his love for President Trump I cannot fathom. I saw the White House press conference and he seemed extremely passionate. It was just a little unclear on what the narrative was. I’m still a fan, but I can’t help listening to his music now with a different set of ears.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit tragically took his own life this year. What should be done to improve mental health conditions for musicians?

Music is about intentions. Mental health affects everyone. Sadly musicians can become quite depressed, living check-to-check, month-to-month, it’s a pretty stressful road. I think creating more platforms where musicians can be more expressive could act as some sort of therapy. Just the social interaction alone would be therapeutic.

In 2018 there were more dire predictions about climate change and we witnessed some of its likely effects firsthand with various deadly storms and forest fires. What should touring musicians be doing to better offset their carbon footprint? How bad do you think it needs to get for governments and corporations to take stronger actions to fight climate change?

I love the Earth and it is really sad to see our planet helpless. I think it’s going to take something so devastating for the government to step in and actually acknowledge that it’s a permeating issue, and unfortunately by that time it may be too late. Climate change is real people. For the naysayers. I think touring musicians can offset their carbon footprint by simply eating locally and organic! Public transportation drastically reduces CO2 emissions too. Of course energy star appliances is when my mother first told me about climate change! So the next time you cats are thinking of ordering room service, save the planet a little and carry that ass seven minutes down the block and check out the local cuisine. Lol.

Are you ready for artificial intelligence and a more automated future? Some predict that it may come sooner than we think and will lead to massive job losses.

Artificial intelligence is here, right now. Listen, the future is now. The future is a force. Everyone will have to learn to adapt to these new technological advancements, we must. With that being said, listen, I think its horrible that it will lead to massive job losses. That’s devastating. But the reality is, the world is changing and we must learn to adapt and lead.

What’s your favorite birthday party memory from childhood?

My favorite birthday memory would have to be probably around 12 years of age, and my dad hands me my birthday gift and my annual $12 registration fee, lol. I looked down and it’s a box wrapped up in newspaper! I’m like, “What the hell is this!” I just knew it would be some like cross color jeans or some Adidas. So I continued to open the box and there’s something wrapped up in the newspaper. It was a little Casio keyboard, with no batteries, and then my dad yells, I have batteries and he pulls out six double D batteries out of his jacket pocket. And the rest is history!

What was your favorite family vacation as a kid? What was your least favorite?

My favorite vacation growing up as a kid probably would be traveling with my entire family from Los Angeles to Chicago for a family reunion back in 1990. The long trek from Los Angeles to Chicago was via Amtrak because my mom thought it would be more scenic. I just remember my cousin and I with our 1980s Fisher Price cassette playerrecording little voice memos along the trip, commentating every thing we thought was newsworthy. What a fun time. My least favorite vacation would probably be when my mom sent me to live with my uncle because apparently I was a little too unruly and my uncle was in the military and he was supposed to straighten me the fuck out, so I went to Fort Collins, Colorado for a summer of boot camp! I feel like I should technically be a Marine after what I endured that summer. At least a corporal in the U.S. Army?

What’s been your most surreal experience in the music industry?

So there was a club in Beverly Hills. A lot of us LA natives would frequent there particularly on Sunday’s late night jam session. So I’m there at the bar one Sunday hanging out with my friend and he spots a pastor of a church at the entrance, and says, “Oh, that’s so and so, he’s got a big church.” What’s he doing here, that’s odd? And I looked over and said, “Who? That big shot?” There had to be a group of seven people all with huge King of the North, Winterfell fur coats! Next thing I know they were standing right next to me, and one of the gentleman asks me, “Do you know what kind of music they play here?” Coincidentally, they called my name on stage to go play, I just ostentatiously said, “We play a little bit of everything” and I walked on the stage! I start jammin with the musicians, all of a sudden I look over to my left side, that same dude is at my keyboard and he’s asking me “Do you know any Stevie Wonder?” I look at him directly in his eyes and said, “Sir we are in the middle of performing right now, give me a few moments and Iʼll talk to you when I get off stage.” He yells out “Play some Stevie Wonder” and there was about $5000 of cash on my keyboard! I immediately started playing “Superstition” and the rest of the musicians started looking at me weirdly. Like “What are you doing dude?” And then I picked up the money on my keyboard and showed them, they all they started playing the song.

When you die, do you think you’re going to the Good Place or the Bad Place?

I don’t really think I believe in a good or bad place when you die. I think there is a spiritual realm we ultimately pass through.

What was the first R rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

Coming to America was my first rated R movie. I had to be about nine years old. I had to sneak and watch this film!

Beloved chef, travel TV host, and music fan Anthony Bourdain died this year. If you could have appeared on his Parts Unknown show, which city or country would you most have wanted to travel to with him?

Anthony Bourdain, what a tragic loss. I would’ve loved to go with him to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro. They have amazing cuisine there!

Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee also passed away this year. Which of his characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Men, etc.) meant the most to you/did you most identify with?

Stan Lee was a legend! He changed our lives. If I had to pick a character it would have to be Groot. He seems to be pretty organic. Lol. I like that he’s small and mighty.




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March 4th 2019

I love all the different types of questions that you have, but what’s even better are Brandon’s answers.  Keep jamming!

Rina Yu
March 5th 2019

Love listening to this guy at our shop Auto Detailing Markham.

Laraina Stevens
March 11th 2019

Awesome article. All the 10 favorite albums of 2018 together! The fan can know many unknown facts about their favorite artists here. By the way, I am a freelance writer and I like to write in the entertainment industry. You will find me on https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/success/. So I know how much people will be delightful to know this information on their favorite singers.

April 6th 2019

This guy is a genius right here! Awesome interview

April 9th 2019

Wow so jealous of this dude, what a life. Awesome article, thanks.

Deck Builder
April 9th 2019

Wow so jealous of this dude, what a life! Great article, thanks

April 12th 2019

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November 25th 2019


February 21st 2020

Thanks for the post
Best regards