- Emotional Bangers Only. What is this record about?
RB: Some artists who really liked the record and considered it to be some of my best work ever, have asked if I am ever gonna continue the series... I hope not because it came from a place where my life was fucked up (laughing - ed.). There is, however, the malaise that depression is pretty constant so maybe... The album that I'm working on now is definitely pulling from the same aesthetic and conceptual space. But it's a lot more stripped down - less movement, less sounds. It's still in the realm of dance music, but it's more focused and very specific. Emo Bangers were jams from long days in a studio, whereas what I am working on right now are songs.
- How would you describe the emotional place this new material is coming from?
RB: I would say it's definitely a response to the current point we are in. Some of this I haven't even fully articulated yet because it's been a very different process than what I have done previously. Even articulating what the emotional space is for this is different. But what I could talk about are a few interesting points that I'm trying to work out through this music.
There's a time period in New York in particular 1992 to 1997 where a lot of the very iconic records, producers and DJs were really shaping and crafting the sound that we know as house music now, particularly deep house. That period of time is at the tail end of the AIDS epidemic, when some of the most iconic DJs that people still talk about died - Ron Hardy, Larry Levan. There's this color, almost like a patina that makes you hear that people are working through some really traumatic shit, both in the songs and in the ways that they're DJing. Whole generations of black, brown and queer, trans people were lost because of willful neglect from governments. And while people are figuring out how the fuck to deal with this, their daily lives are still constantly under attack, whether it's the deepening of the military industrial complex, US imperialism, the deepening of the carceral state, the criminalization of nightlife in New York. A lot of the real estate that's in Times Square is built resulting in kicking out all the porn theaters, trans and gay cruising clubs. Many of the very important house and techno music nightclubs were in Midtown, which is a fucking theme park now.
A lot of the things that we are experiencing currently, in terms of wealth disparity, rent and utility prices going up - these folks were dealing with those same kinds of circumstances. I'm pulling from that framework and trying to learn from what they experienced, then utilize that and put it in the tunes, put it in the DNA, put it in the conversations that I have with other people, so that we can figure out where the fuck to go next. I'm working some shit out and arriving at a point of admitting, that I don't really know how to deal with how fucking traumatic this pandemic was for me and so many of my peers. How can I speak to that and - especially working in nightlife, to not contribute to the perspective of doors of the club shut, it's another world and let's forget about all the bullshit outside. The outside world is in here with us. If we don't acknowledge that people are in pain, we're harming them more. You can hear it in how people play too. There's more emotional range than just banging it out.