Consisting of Conor Rayne on drums and Ivan Jackson these two producers and talented musicians deliver a unique sound that sets them above the rest. Already, with two Grammy Awards, performances at major festivals like Coachella, and countless production credits under their belt, it's safe to say that the duo known as Brasstracks are still just getting started.
The two young musicians first met at the Manhattan School of Music and really caught the eye of the mainstream as the geniuses behind Chance The Rapper's "No Problem feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz" instrumental. According to Jackson, the two "came close because [they] both had a rebellious energy against our jazz program. [They] found solace in working with each other and being able to do other stuff that wasn’t jazz together."
After joining together through their school's jazz program, the two friends began to experiment with new sounds and music writing techniques.
"Without any harmony or melody, we had Conor decide what the arrangement was going to be and we built on top of that. It started with building on top of that, Conor played all the drums and I played the piano and stuff. We put some Beyonce samples on top of it and that did not work. We quickly said no to that one. One night I tried putting a hundred trumpets over it and THAT worked. I called Conor and I sent it to him," Jackson said in a phone interview. "I’m thinking of putting this out tomorrow under our name, Brasstracks because we didn’t have a better name [and] we didn’t really care. We both played with so many other bands that it was just another thing. It was just another outlet of making music."
Brasstracks would quickly become much more than "just another thing." They maintained their "have fun" mentality throughout this creative phase. Through a social media interaction, they were able to exchange beats out to Chance The Rapper. And the same beats would one day get sent back them in the "No Problem feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz" record. That track has now become one of the duo's favorite songs they've worked on, and after their first Grammy Award from it has become a catalyst to the launch of their careers.
"When we say that there weren’t any goals, we’re not joking. We really did not plan any of this. [We] didn’t plan to be playing Coachella, did not plan to get two Grammys, none of those things were in our heads before we started this. It was just experimentation based off of our rebellious nature to our jazz school," Jackson said of their journey to this point.
After their career was catapulted with their successes, they began to go on headlining nation-wide tours.
"Tour was exhausting [and fun]. We all got sick but we pushed through," Rayne said. "A Brasstracks show is like a [blurry] of energy, but also some dynamics in there."
"We’re just figuring out how to tour properly right now. It’s a lot. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done and the most difficult thing we’ve ever done," Jackson reiterated.
Not with tour experience and a few chart-topping hits, Brasstrack is currently turning their focus back to making new music. Jackson seemed ecstatic to drop new tracks, saying, "We have a bunch of surprises for the rest of the year. We’re really excited to get this next release cycle going."
On Friday, they dropped their EP For Those Who Know Pt. II. The five-song project features quickly rising new R&B singer Xavier Omär and frequent collaborators Robert Glasper and S'natra. It's a colorful display of genre-bending productions filled with live instrumentation, and a showcase of Brasstracks' impressive musicianship.
Words can hardly do the EP justice - it's a nearly-flawless mixture of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B into a uniquely modern sound. Hip-hop and jazz have long been paired, but Brasstracks is pushing the envelope of how that combination is viewed today. Through Ivan's glaring trumpets and Conor's head-nodding drums, their rich sound and soulful style is all over For Those Who Know Pt. II.
Brasstracks is a duo that's making the kind of music that's pushing modern day music production forward. They're creating music with honest substance and soul.