Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

My name is Brandon Kim. I was born in Los Angeles on September 30, 1999. I grew up in a small city called Rowland Heights, located in Southern California. My childhood was enjoyable and I spent much of my time interested in various forms of art. My mother was an artist, so I spent many of my younger days drawing. Art was a talent I had since childhood, and I indulged in various mediums: I made films, drew comics, tried taking nice photographs, and eventually moved on to producing music.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.

My music career first started when my mother urged that I play piano as a child. I played for only a few months. In the 5th grade, I joined my elementary school’s band and stuck with that until my 8th grade year. In 8th grade, I joined drum-line and learned to play the tenor drums; I still think of these times as one of the best times of my life. I produce using my actual name, Brandon Kim, as I always thought it would be better to produce art under an organic brand name. Several years of music practice has ingrained basic music theory and rhythm into my head, and my skills in production lay mostly in drum patterns and 808s. However, I feel that my biggest skill in producing music is my ability to piece together an idea and create something original from it. I’ve always been good at expressing myself through words and art. I think many people that know me know that therapeutic conversations is my greatest talent. I’m always open for conversations for those who are interested.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

I would say that my style of music production is a direct reflection of my biggest influences and life experiences. As for genre, I tend to categorize my music as electronic trap, with various influences from rock and occasionally indies. The song that is being reviewed on this blog is “digital rock.” I follow a similar concept of nostalgia and romanticized fantasies, and Lucid Summer is a product of those concepts. With this song, Johnny and I wanted to make something that would capture the feeling of dreaming about someone or something, and how wrongfully right it feels to be caught up in those fantasies. The song follows a theme of dreams and lucidity, about translating those fantasies into an intangible feeling that can be processed in reality.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

As a musician, I’d like to stay humble and admit that I still have a lot to learn with production. Music theory and chord progression is something that I find the most trouble with, as my lack of experience in hearing keys and harmonies hinders my ability to create more complex melodies. However, I still tap away on my MIDI until I find something that I like, and Johnny really helped bring this song together with his live keys and guitar instrumentation. My mixing and mastering skills still need a lot of fine-tuning, but it’s alright because it’s a learning process. The biggest ups and downs with creating music is worrying if people will understand what you’re trying to say. Artists always face the problem of public criticism and whether or not their intentions will be accurately reflected with their music. It’s really okay though; even if no one listened to my tracks, I’d still produce and publish them strictly to express my thoughts in an artistic fashion.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

For this song, I worked with one of my hometown collaborators, Johnny Chang. Working with Johnny is always an experience. I feel like I can tell him what idea I have for the song, and he’ll process my concept with his own creativity and create something that I did not expect at all, yet still fits perfectly into what I was looking for. Especially since I’m pretty lacking in vocals and complex melodies, Johnny really knows how to add something unique to my tracks. We recorded most of this song in his room, while I produced/mixed/mastered the beat at home. It was a creative zone for us, and we just shot each other ideas and small stories about our lives to help the creative block. Johnny also helped me produce this track by laying some piano keys and live guitar, which was a fresh break-away from my mostly-quantized songs.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

I’ve been playing instruments seriously since the 5th grade, but I actually only started computer production about a year and a half ago. I started out writing lyrics for songs without really any beats to use other than beats that other people posted on the internet. I bought a MIDI so that I could learn to produce my songs as well as write to them. I really wanted to be able to do everything on my own, like Kanye West.  As contemporary trap music progressed, I gained interest in production due to the prevalence of a lot of great trap producers. A local producer from my hometown, David Vallejo (@DJ SWRV), really helped me get started. I can’t thank that man enough for setting me on a good path and inspiring me to believe in my own art. For the future, the only big wish I have is that my music can help at least one person escape from whatever they’re going through in real life. Music that will help someone disconnect and just live in their own world for a bit.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

My inspiration for writing and producing really stems from my own obsession with nostalgia. I just can’t seem to let go of certain feelings and memories, and as those memories fade due to the time, I’ve always wanted to translate them into something that can be consumed daily. All the songs I make have a very specific, real-life backstory. For each song, I’ll often do a free-write to get my thoughts down, and maybe draw a picture that I can reference as I produce. I’ll also search online for various artworks from other people that I can draw inspiration from. It’s really a whole creative process. Some of my songs are made in a matter of hours, where I rush to get my feelings onto a beat before the feeling fades and I’m left with the creative block.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

The secrets to making a hit song. First of all, I believe a hit song has to be organic. It can follow a similar formula, as most of the SoundCloud hits these days do. But for something to really stick, it has to have a lot of emotion and a very unique association to your brand name. A lot of the times, these rappers are being carried by great producers who don’t get nearly as much credit as they should. It’s really all about how well you can capture what you want to say and transform that into something that people can find catharsis in. If a song doesn’t make you feel anything at all, it’s probably not going to be a hit. The hard part is when you have a song that you’re convinced is a “hit,” yet you falter in marketing and people don’t give it a chance, even if it can possibly be their next favorite song.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

As of now, I would say my fan base is mostly local friends or friends of friends who’ve heard my music through word of mouth. There are probably several people who I’ve never met that have listened to my music, and I really thank each and every one of you. I make this music not because I want everyone to think I’m going to be the next Metro Booming, I make it because I have something to say that I can’t physically put into words. This is my form of expression, and I really do hope that anyone who tunes in to my music can gain some inspiration for any venture they’re facing right now, whether it be creative expression or dealing with the vices of real life. I really do appreciate and love all you guys. I don’t want to really categorize my listeners as “fans,” but more of a movement of individuals who really inspire me more than I could hope to inspire them. Thanks again.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

To any upcoming artists: the first step is to disregard the opinions of others. There are going to be a lot of people who don’t see eye to eye when it comes to your artistic ventures. Often times it can be your own family and friends, which can be the most discouraging feeling. However, it’s not about wether other people want you to follow their expectations. It’s about what you really care for. It sounds cliche, but that’s because it’s true. Also, don’t worry too much about the amount of people that are listening to your songs. Changing the life of one person who really feels your art is priceless compared to having thousands of listeners who don’t get anything out of your hard work. Lastly, study the “rules” of music, but never conform to them. By nature, you’re going to base your own work off of others’ if you conform, and that’s where original creativity gets lost. Break the rules, break the traditional expectations, but create something nice that you’re contempt with. There’s a difference between influence and blueprinting another person’s creativity.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

When it comes to the public eye, I’m not a very decorated artist. This blog post is actually the first public decoration of my music. It’s fine though. I know my potential and the progress I’ve made. I listen to my own music a lot, and it really provides the cathartic therapy for me that I hope it provides for others. I have several concept albums and EPs that I’ve worked on but still have yet to finish. Most of my work doesn’t even get released. The process is just as important as the end result.  I’m all about the revolution of art. If I ever generate a lot of public buzz for my songs, I’ll use that publicity to promote the people that deserve to be recognized as well.

However, I’m still pretty proud of the work I’ve done, even if music experts see all the faults in it. It’s about growing as an individual along with the art.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

I usually start every song with a gut feeling or nostalgic memory. There are some great albums and films out there, and I draw my inspiration from them. For example, the films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the movie Corpse Bride both give me creative epiphanies every time. I sit down and play with various samples (sometimes from the movie soundtracks) and instrument plug-ins. Sometimes my best songs come out from trial and error. I’ll suddenly find a bunch of samples and melodies that perfectly capture what I want, and a song gets made almost on the spot. Some songs take days or months of revisiting. When I make songs, I always keep all my influences with me. I’ll write down my thoughts and maybe even a fictional story for a song. I’ll watch movies and films, and download pictures of certain scenes in the movie. Whenever I collaborate with someone, I always sit them down and give them a full run down of everything that’s on my mind. Having deep talks about life in general is really healthy for inspiring creative efforts. Then we record. It’s catharsis. Human emotion.

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

My five favorite artists would be Hayley Williams, Chester Bennington, Kanye West, and Lil Uzi Vert. The fifth spot would be arguable. The artist I gained the most ” reality escape” from was Logic, but my fifth spot could also be Frank Sinatra, The Paper Kites, or a newer artist like Travis Scott or XXXTentacion. I respect all these artists on a genuine basis, with full appreciation for their art. Hayley Williams is just the greatest of all time. Also, rest in piece, Chester Bennington.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

A lot of the artists I’ve collaborated with were local artists from my city. David Vallejo (DJ SWRV), the mentor. Also,Johnny Chang (J Chang), Jarbas Faria (Jarba$), and Alejandro Martinez (votano). Definitely can’t forget Kahlin Williams (kvhlin). That man has taught me so much throughout high school and beyond, and I’d probably name him as one of my biggest inspirations both in and outside of the art/music industry. I honestly hope to collaborate with as many artists as I can while retaining my own artistic identity. A lot of people say collaboration kills your core creativity, and that’s true to an extent. But I think you need to learn how to work with other artists, because they all really have different experiences and artistic approaches. Networking is key. My life long goal would be to get Hayley Williams to feature on a track. I got a very long way to go to get my music up to those industry standards, but if it ever happens, I said it here first.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

Here are the links to my social media if you would like to be apart of the brand or have a fruitful conversation:

https://soundcloud.com/brandxnkim

https://twitter.com/brandxnkim

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

Questions like these are always tricky. The thing that comes to mind when I think of my happiest moment would be when I recently had to say goodbye to a class of 3rd and 4th graders I tutored during senior year. Goodbyes are bittersweet and so was this one. I walked into their class on the last day, days away from my own high school graduation, and my mind was full of all the selfish mistakes and pains I experienced in the past year. Once I stepped in, they all cheered, screamed and cried like I was more than an average high school student with his own vices. In my own head, I was an adolescent who was feeling the weight of reality crack down on me, causing me to make selfish decisions  that really afflicted pain on others, further spiraling me into self-conscious criticism. To them, I was someone who they couldn’t be happier to see, free from the burden of my own self-doubt. I think at that moment I really realized that it doesn’t matter if people in your age group like you or not. They’re looking to see if you fit in and act as a “normal” teen should. What really matters is what those innocent at heart and much more experienced (children and teachers/adults) see in you, because they’re looking for genuine virtues like work ethic, charisma, and comfort. According to these kids and the teachers who really took time to connect with me, I was the epitome of all of that. It was a feeling of liberation and realization of my self-worth. I wouldn’t be able to say one certain day was my saddest, since you feel things differently according to your situation at that time. Heartbreaks, let-downs, family pains, all of those things led to depressing days but I couldn’t have made it through without them.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

With a million dollars, the absolute first thing I would do is relieve all the financial stresses of my parents. It’s a painful feeling knowing that I’m still young and there’s only so much I could do to contribute to the two people that would die to give me the world. I feel like a lot of people would agree. Everything left over after that, if any left at all, would be spent on my self interests and investments to my art. I’d use it to travel and network. I’d probably spend it on some high-end fashion pieces too haha. I have an issue with spending money on clothing. Everyone has their vices.

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