Q&A with Brick!
Where are you from Brick?
I was born in Long Beach, lived in Carson til I was 7... then my mom married a man in the military and I moved to North Carolina, and didn't return to CA permanently until I was 14 (I'm 24 now). So I'm from the West but definitely had a healthy taste of that country-living southern lifestyle.
You just produced a new song for Baby Keem and Travis Scott called "durag activity" can you tell us how you got that gig?
Well, I'm a fan of rap music (obviously) and always had trouble reaching out to bigger artists to hear my music. So, I found Baby Keem's music back early in 2019, and I instantly felt this young rager energy about his approach to the beats he was choosing, and I just wanted to contribute...so I just slid in his DMs and told him I loved his shit/wanted to send him some beats. He probably had about 4,000 followers at the time (now he has like 300k) so he saw my message and hit me back. I sent him some stuff in June 2019 and nothing ever came back, but we still built a good relationship and would link up to go ride gokarts in burbank for fun back during pre-pandemic life. One random day later on in the year, he replied to my instagram story where I was playing a beat that I had made, and said "hard"...so I texted the beat to him. The next day he told me to pull up to the studio, and when I showed up he instantly played me what had become "Durag Activity '' (without Travis Scott's verse). But after that night I didn't hear the song again or hear anything about it releasing for over a year. So when I found out Travis had added a verse and that they were using it as a single I was geeked! Yeah. That's how I got that gig... foresight, preparation, and opportunity. Interestingly enough, the same formula applies to getting the best wave of the day.
Who are some other artists you've done music production for?
I don't have a huge catalogue, but that's because I just make music with my friends & people who inspire me, and the music itself has always just been the organic fruits of those authentic connections. But, I've produced for Super Duper Kyle, Kehlani, and Buddy. The homies. The track's I did with KYLE (who is one of my best friends/big bro) ended up selling over 7,000,000 copies before I even turned 21. Now I'm releasing my own solo self-produced tracks, just because I want the world to hear what goes through my head when it's not within the bounds of somebody else's creative vision. I actually just released a track called "The Start".
Looks like you've DJ'ed some pretty big live shows too. What's the craziest thing you've seen while performing on stage?
One time I took the most disgusting piece of cold pizza from backstage and brought it out onto the stage during the show. I grabbed the microphone & started yelling "WHO WANTS THE DAMN PIZZA?!" and everybody started jumping up & down screaming "ME!! ME!! PICK ME!!!"...So I violently launched the pizza as high into the air as I could and everybody jumped to catch it on the way down & began fighting over bits and pieces of it & devouring that disgustingly cold slice of cheese pizza like a cluster of cavemen. It was really a social experiment/test of humanity and they all failed. I got a good laugh though.
Aside from that, I see you've also designed a lego brick coffee table. Where does your interest in furniture design come from?
I can't lie like I have this crazy interest in furniture design, I think I just have an interest in completing ideas, above all else - no matter the medium. The table I designed was just the full fruition of a "what if" moment. I saw two lego bricks on a table and asked myself "What if I put a small piece of glass on top of those lego bricks and just made them huge? It would be such a dope coffee table"...so I did it...and VOILA. The table went super viral when I posted it and I didn't expect that, but it just proved to me again, the value in our ideas and how all of our "What If" moments are usually the moments that have the potential to change your life, or the lives of others. I feel like my responsibility as a multi-disciplinary artist is to act on all of my "What-if" impulses.
Being such a well rounded creative person, do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If and when you do, what do you like to do to try and spark new ideas?
I get in creative ruts all the time, and that is when I have an opportunity to just live. Surf has been my favorite creative-block-coping-mechanism that I've ever discovered because I'm immersed in nature and trying to achieve these little personal surf goals that exist in my head while making the best of what I have in front of me (shitty 2-3 foot el porto crumblers)...you have no option but to get creative, and I do believe that it directly feeds all of my other creative abilities and opens my heart & mind in a way that everybody who surfs can relate to. Takes the edge off.
How long have you been surfing and what made you want to try it?
Man...I've only been surfing since September of last year - 9 months. But, since I make music/do creative projects for a living, I have a ton of freetime & have been able to log 15-20 hours in the water every week since then. I love the process of learning, putting aside my ego & being a beginner...the same way I did when I transitioned from only DJ'ing to producing. I started surfing after this beach vendor lady sold me a $10 bodyboard at the beach one day and I went out into the waves and started using it. Feeling the power of the ocean pushing me around was addictive and as soon as I got out the water I knew bodyboarding wasn't my vibe, but I knew that I wanted to try and surf. I bought a wetsuit off of Offerup the next day & the rest is history
Who is your favorite surfer right now?
I think the obvious answer is Mikey February, because his style is so laid back and his barrell riding is world class, but I also love Mason Ho because he's just so fucking unpredictable and fun to watch. They're sort of polar opposites but they're definitely high up there for me right now. Lemme throw Yago Dora on there & make it a top three for good measure...
Can you tell us more about Black Sand and how that got started?
Black Sand was started through instagram in October 2020 - that's where I met our other members Gage & Tre'lan. Black Sand is a SURF RENAISSANCE. It is our response to this industry that has historically excluded black people. As a kid, we all had an idol, right? We wanted to be like somebody that we could identify with in some capacity. For example, I rode BMX when I was younger, and my favorite riders were black (Nigel Sylvester and Chad Kerley) - not just because they were amazing BMX riders, but largely because they were two dudes that LOOKED LIKE ME and made me feel like I could do it too. This is why representation is so important. We are under-represented within this sport - we really don't have many surfers that look like US for the future generation of black kids to look up to in the surf industry at all. We want to BE the change that we want to see in the surf world. We want to inspire others to co-exist in this space and find peace & passion in the same way that we did. Using our artistic abilities, our voices, and our love and respect for surf...Black Sand Surf was founded. In hopes to inspire others outside of the surf community to embark on a love for the journey & the process, but also urging those within the community to be welcoming to all peoples. I'm black so I always speak for black people, but the same applies to Latinx communities, AAPI communities, women, LGBTQ+...the list goes on of the underrepresented in this world. We're going to continue to spread the message that the ocean is for everyone & we come in peace! Hopefully it inspires the white men in the industry & our local communities to stand up for us when some racist bullshit occurs, and hopefully it inspires the big surf brands to see that representing & SUPPORTING BIPOC on & off screen is how we push humanity forward in our own little niché world.
How do you feel about the current state of the surf industry right now?
I'm feeling pretty excited about the current state of the industry, because there is definitely a needle being pushed harder than it ever has before and a general increased sense of responsibility across the industry. Although the change is long overdue, it IS happening and there are so many amazing people I've met through surf who really have proven that there are plenty of progressive thinkers & people with human empathy who are open and ready for change...old & young. There are also a ton of amazing & diverse groups actually on the ground doing the necessary work in their respective communities to create change like ColortheWater, Blacksurferscolletive, Un Mar De Colores, Queer Surf Club, Surf Bus Foundation, just to name a few. I know that we're headed in the right direction. The people are ready for it, and instead of trying to weed out the bad apples, I think we're realizing that there's room for us all to grow our own trees.
What do you hope the surf industry looks like 10 years from today?
The same way that the NBA, or the NFL, or the MLB looks. Diverse.
Ever tried longboarding or have any interest in doing so?
I hella wanna longboard. I rock the midlength so I'm a little more than halfway there. My 7'0 Josh Hall is my go-to board but I'm SO down for the long board. I just haven't gotten around to trying it yet. Put me on bro!!!
What's next for you Brick? What should the people keep an eye out for?
More storytelling through film & our Black Sand apparel collections.. There's a message in everything we do because it all stems from our souls and the real conversations we have with each other as a collective. More community organizing & events as the pandemic continues to die off. And in our perfect world...a Black Sand Surf Studio/storefront in Manhattan Beach that will act as a flagship resource for BIPOC surfers, featuring a black surf history gallery as well as access to little-to-no-cost board rentals & lesson schedules for the curious future rippers. Keep an eye out for the surf renaissance.