Raccoontroducing//Interview: Regenerates

Regenerates are an up and coming hip-hop group from Mobile, Alabama. Their sound combines elements of a variety of genres, whilst maintaining a core sound that is at once memorable and unique. We caught up with Brady from the group to talk about self-recording, the best albums of the year and what’s next for the three-piece.

Hey Brady, please introduce yourself.

Hi! I’m Brady. I am the producer/instrumentalist for Regenerates, as well as a vocalist.

How would you describe your local music scene? Do you feel you fit in or stand out amongst your peers?

Honestly, our music scene is not exactly thriving. There aren’t many opportunities to actually be listened to, you know? You’re mostly background music to someone’s night. I don’t know that we really fit in here at all. I feel like we don’t really mix with the “real hip-hop” artists. Not many guys who make beats solely on an MPC like to see some nerdy white kid using a MIDI controller and playing the guitar. To them, that’s not “real.” At the same time though, we are also not really going to fit on the bill with any other local groups. We’re still too “hip-hop” for most of the bigger show opportunities. All in all, we’ve had only a handful of shows that really defined our career locally, so to speak. I’m definitely grateful for the opportunities we have been given, though.

Your latest album, Bad Dreams, is available on a pay what you want basis. What made you decide to take this approach to releasing?

I think it’s always made us cringe a little to ask people for their money when we’re not a highly sought-after product, and that’s not what it’s about. We put the album up on iTunes just to give more people the option to hear it, not because we want money. We’re really just trying to get better at what we do and build our fan-base.

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Who would you count as your biggest influence?

Oh, man… That’s a tough one! For me, it has always been several different things. I’ve grown up around music in the church since my parents are pastors, so I loved music from a very young age. My musical taste changes constantly. I actually don’t listen to much rap music, honestly. Hip-hop production-wise, Kanye West would be a big influence of mine. I love Sufjan Stevens, and I’m really into The Killers right now. They’re probably my favorite band, but if you ask me in a week or two, I’ll probably give you a completely different answer!

How was it to share a stage with Big Boi?

Unfortunately, that show actually got canceled. I think it was like two weeks before the show, and we got a call that Big Boi’s leg had been shattered at a show the night before.. He canceled several dates on his tour to recover. I think he actually had to have surgery, but I’m not sure. As far as I know, it won’t be rescheduled. That was really disappointing for me. Outkast has always been super inspiring to me, especially being a rapper who isn’t exactly like what’s considered “normal” for hip-hop.

Bad Dreams has an extremely wide range, with aural reference points to everything from Kanye to Drake to Bon Iver to Childish Gambino (and loads more). Is this something you consciously consider when writing?

Well, thank you for comparing us to those artists! That’s very flattering for me, especially as a producer. I don’t think that we ever go into a session and consciously decide to make something far-fetched or different. Our styles are just all so different that it happens that way. My brother, Bailey and I both come from a very different background than Jake’s. So it’s interesting when you put three people with different lives and musical tastes together and have them create an album. The thing about Bad Dreams is, I rarely brought the guys an entire beat with a chorus. I would show them an idea I had, and we would sort of workshop and tweak it together. While I did the physical creating of the instrumentals, there were three completely separate minds that were helping to form the structure of the overall sound.

The entire album was self written, recorded and produced. Did you enjoy having total control of the record from start to finish? 

Absolutely! That’s my favorite thing about being an unsigned act. We had complete dominion over what went into this record, and that’s a really freeing thing when you’re trying to express yourself through music. I mean sure, a huge budget to get awesome equipment and studio time would sound better than self-recording, but then someone else gets to decide what we can and can’t say or do. We are blessed to know (and be related to) a lot of talented people. For instance, on “Live On” one of my other brothers wrote and recorded all of the string arrangements. Then another friend of mine recorded the guitar solo. So we’re certainly not as deprived as some self-produced acts, in that regard. While I’m not anti-record deal, I am certainly enjoying this stage of our journey as a band.

How would you describe the current state of hip-hop? What are your highlights from the past 12 months? 

It really depends where you look. If you look at guys like Macklemore, then hip-hop is in a great place. Just don’t leave your radio on for too long… As far as the past twelve months have gone, we’ve made some great memories. We had an amazing time making this album, for sure. We pushed ourselves and learned a lot along the way. I think the highlight for me, though, would be opening for Machine Gun Kelly back in March. We played for right at a thousand people with our live drummer and bassist. It was the best show we’ve ever had. Everything just really came together, and a lot of our fans that have been there since day one got to come see us in a real concert setting. That was an all around great night.

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Away from hip-hop, what have been your favourite releases this year? 

I really like The National’s new album! They’re a great band. That new Daft Punk album is pretty sweet, too. I find myself listening to that sometimes. It’s just got some really catchy songs on it. There’s also this band I like called Gungor, and they have a new album out that I think is great. Truthfully, I haven’t really gotten into a lot of stuff from 2013 yet. I’m still listening to The Killer’s “Battleborn.” That’s probably my favorite album right now. That came out last year.

What’s next in the pipeline for Regenerates?

Well, we’ve actually been taking a break from performing just to re-focus on exactly what we want to do next. I think throughout our time together, we’ve always come back stronger after a little break. We’re in the early stages of working on another release. There haven’t been any dates thrown around yet, but we are planning and writing. I’ve got a lot instrumentals and song ideas together, but quite a few are in their simplest form right now. I think it’s going to be a mixtape, and I’m sure it’ll be free. There’s also a lot of talk of some different promotional things we’d like to do. I know we want to do at least one video for a track from Bad Dreams. Other than that, we’re just getting excited for all of the things that will come along with the new year!

Download Bad Dreams for however much you want from the Regenerates Bandcamp page here. If you wanna give them a like on Facebook, click here.
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