Percussionist and producer Yuichi and his band, The Brown Family, are taking genre blending music to new heights. Combing jazz, afrobeat, reggae, rock, Latin rhythms, hip-hop, and funk, BRF have created a musical style that is truly global in nature. Brown Rice Family’s World Roots Music is an innate product of the culture of its members who hail from Japan, Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa, and America.
Brown Rice Family is made up of Yuichi, Okai (vocal/percussion), Sticky Rice (vocal/dancer), Soils (soprano sax/vocal), Isaiah (tenor sax/clarinet/harmonica), Amu (bass), Kaz (guitar), and Tama (drum). Driven by its belief of promoting self-improvement and environmental improvement, BRF’s goals extends beyond just making empowering music. They also encourage a healthy lifestyle by advocating eating naturally grown food and selling homemade organic soap.
Brown Rice Family is already one the most celebrated emerging music acts in New York City. Last summer, the Brooklyn-based band won the 3rd annual WNYC Battle of the Boroughs. Competing against over 500 other acts that applied for the competition, BRF was voted the winner by a live audience in the final “Ultimate Battle” against four other groups representing Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. As Brown Rice Family’s profile continues to grow, DZI: The Voice caught up with BRF for the latest installment of our exclusive artist Q&A’s.
Yohance Kyles: Your band incorporates philosophies and sounds from all around the world. How do you manage to take such diverse ideas in make them into a cohesive voice?
BRF: We try to employ an open mind, not constructing a wall to stunt our level of awareness which is the fuel for BRF’s growth. With this open approach, we are able to embrace a diverse world view which contribute to our style, dance, and musical creativity. On the other hand, if we were to do the opposite our potential would be limited.
YK: With so many talented members in one band what’s your process when creating music?
What we are trying to do is live in the positive and create our own circle.
YK: Your music focuses on spreading a positive message and uplifting your listeners. Unfortunately, a lot of the music that’s consumed today tends to stay away from this approach. Has this been a hindrance at all to Brown Rice Family getting acceptance from certain circles in the New York music scene and if so does this bother you?
BRF: We haven’t experience any hindrance… What we are trying to do is live in the positive and create our own circle. We try not to direct our attention to those “certain circles” you are referring to.
YK: On your song “Souljah” there’s a line that says “cause I don”t think you’re ready for that Brooklyn renaissance”. Why do you think Brooklyn has become such a cultural hot spot over the last few years?
YK: Brown Rice Family has reached a nice level of success as indie artists. Is there any desire to sign with a major label?
BRF: If the deal is right, yes.
YK: How has winning the Ultimate Battle of the Boroughs competition impacted the band’s career?
BRF: It got us a lot of recognition within the artist community and we gained fans on the domestic and international level. Also, one of the biggest radio stations in Japan broadcast the event on their network, and Brooklyn Independent Television aired the winning celebratory concert twice on December 25th and also on January 1st, 2013!
YK: Your live shows are very energetic. How does the band prepare before a performance?
BRF: We rehearse every week and tailor our set list to fit the demographic we are playing for at that given time. Also, our band’s manager make us homemade organic honey ginger tea that we drink at our shows.
YK: What was the inspiration behind starting the BRF soap line?
YK: Do you have any words of advise for any aspiring artists/bands?
BRF: Maintain originality when creating…learn how to present your art with conviction and find your audience.
YK: What’s next for Brown Rice Family?
BRF: BRF is planning to embark on a college, university, and world tour. We would also like to collaborate with a wide range of artists, creative entities, and companies that are making a positive contribution to the global community. BRF is currently in the process of making another album.
Brown Rice Family will be performing live tonight (2/14/13) at SRB Brooklyn located at 177 Second Ave Brooklyn, NY 11215. For more info click it
For more info about Brown Rice Family click it
To download Brown Rice Family’s album Brown Rice Radio Station click it
To connect with Brown Rice Family follow them @BrownRiceFamily
Check out the video for “Souljah”: