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B. Bravo

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Although he got his start in DJing by purchasing records his second year in college, SF native B. Bravo has covered a lot of ground during his career. With past experiences like co-hosting Funk Radio on KSFS, he was determined to make it big by playing his own records during the show. He eventually built a name for himself not only in the U.S., but internationally in places like Dublin and London as well. With viral hits like “Computa Love” and work with crews Frite Nite and Bayonics, his music crosses genres. Catch him on January 5th at The Neighborhood at 111 Minna, an eclectic party also featuring local indie act Geographer.

SF Station (SFS): What drew you to hip-hop and funk?

B. Bravo (BB): When I first started actively buying music and being aware of what I was listening to, Dr. Dre The Chronic had just come out, and then all my friends were bumpin' Doggystyle. I guess that was my first real introduction to hip hop and funk.

There was just something undeniable about the bass lines and synths and handclaps. It had that bounce, and was fun and made you move. That led me to discover George Clinton and Ohio Players and all the sources for Dre's inspiration. I got hooked on the funk ever since.

SFS: How did you connect with the Bayonics crew?

BB: Myself and some friends at SF State started a little band and would play at all the college house parties. We were jamming at this party and Jairo got on the mike and started singing and rapping and we were kind of going back and forth — me on the sax, him on vocals. After the set, he was like “Yo, you should come jam with me and this new group we're starting.” I came down to the studio and met some of the guys and liked what they were doing, so I started playing with them and writing tunes. We all got along really well and just kept getting together week after week. That group would later become Bayonics.

SFS: Where did you learn to play sax and the keys?

BB: I started playing clarinet in fourth grade with the hope of playing sax because I wanted to be like John Coltrane. My dad got me a sax for Christmas in sixth grade so I started playing in the Jazz band in Middle school. It was a lot of fun, and it was my introduction into improvisation and really opened up a whole new world of music. I stuck with it through high school and just kept studying and practicing. As for keys, I wouldn't say I can really play (laughs). My sister started taking piano lessons, so I taught myself how to play a little bit on the piano. I've just been self-taught ever since.

SFS: Which instrument to you think is the most crucial to learn in order to be a good musician?

BB: I think you can be a good musician by learning any instrument, including your voice. There's a difference though, I think, in being able to play and being a good musician. It’s one thing to be able to read sheet music and play and it’s another to hear music and feel it and create it.

SFS: The release of “Computa Love" on the Frite Nite label that got a ton of great baby-making reception. I have to ask, why the title “Computa Love”?

BB: (Laughs). Baby-making reception! Well, the title was just a working title that seemed to fit the vibe of the track. I name my raw beats random things, usually like where I get the drum sounds. That beat was just called “Computa,” then after it was kind of taking shape, I added the “Love” on the end 'cause it had a sensual kind of vibe. It also worked out as homage to Zapp, who has been a major influence.

SFS: Any plans on making a 'Computa Love II?'

BB: There is actually a vocal version featuring Mar from Amsterdam that is really nice. That will probably get a release soon.

SFS: Did the recent death of Teena Marie affect you in any way?

BB: Yeah, I'm still sad. She was amazing — so much soul and a very unique voice and style. It seems like we a losing a lot of the greats lately.

SFS: What was your favorite jam by her?

BB: I love “Square Biz,” “Sucker for Love,” “Lovergirl,” and “Fire & Desire.”

SFS: You'll be playing the Neighborhood with Geographer and a number of DJs like The Bangerz, and musicians playing a different sound. How do you think you all complement each other?

BB: I'm excited for it! I love parties with a variety of music. I get bored listening to any genre for more than an hour or two. It should work well since I think there will be a diverse crowd there to eat it all up.

B. Bravo performs at The Neighborhoo at 111 Minna on January 5th. Admission is free and the party starts at 9pm