Bro Safari

bro-safariTexas based Bro Safari (real name Nick Weiller) is probably best known to us as ‘Knick’ from D’n’B outfit Evol Intent. A decade on and those guys are still making outputs together while Weiller has also ventured out into other forms of bass. JO CAMPBELL catches up with him ahead of appearance at Villa this weekend.

US trio Evol Intent are no less than drum ‘n’ bass dons. Formed in 2000 consisting of Enemy (Ashley Jones), Gigantor (Mike Diasio) and Knick (Nick Weiller) this crew were behind some of the baddest D’n’B hard step numbers hailing from the US in the naughties. They’re still producing together, currently involved in a collab project with Dutch trio Noisia and have recently remixed for Black Sun Empire, but it’s their individual side projects that are raising eyebrows.

Enemy has gone on to produce disco under the moniker ‘Treasure Fingers’ while the Gigantor is making electro house as ‘Computer Club’. Knick has decided to stick with the ever-evolving genre of bass, taking in moombahton, dubstep and most recently, trap. When asked why the members of Evol Intent have all taken such different directions, Knick is philosophical.

“I don’t think it was intentional, I just think that over time we’ve got into other things, just messing around with other genres,” he says from his home in Austin. “Evol Intent has been around for a long time and I think it’s just kind of natural that we start doing are own thing on the side.”

Knick’s thing on the side first came in the form of teaming up with Jake Stanczak aka dubstep producer Kill The Noise to make genre-bending sounds under the outfit name of Ludachrist. His most recent venture from the lab is with San Franciscan UFO as Knife’s most recent alter-ego, Bro Safari. They’ve just dropped a highly eclectic LP, Animal, which masterfully encompasses drum ‘n’ bass, hip hop, glitch and dubstep with a heavy dose of trap. It’s more or less the culmination of Knick’s various side projects experimenting with various forms of bass.

“For me, the inspiration was working with UFO and I like to think it went both ways,” Knick says of the LP. “We’ve known each other for a long time, he’s an old drum ‘n’ bass head from the ‘90s and we both really respect each other’s music and creative input.

“The entire time that we’ve been collaborating, we’ve been doing it via the Internet just sending stems back and forth. We didn’t actually have a plan to make an album. We were just working together and realised we had 16 songs or something, so it made sense to package them as an album and at that point, we cut out about five tracks.

They produced some of the work on the LP together in the same geographical space when UFO made the journey to Austin to work on two of the standouts from the record – Drama and Animal. “That was when we were in the final stages of polishing things off. We tried not to over think it and it all came very naturally. We just made what we wanted to make and that was inspirational enough – just being able to make what we want and set the tempo where we want.”

Animal was only put out as a free download in a move that Knick says was part of a strategy to spread the Bro Safari word. “I’ve kinda built this whole Bro Safari thing on free downloads,” he explains. “At the start I just want people to hear my music and the best way to do that is to give it to them free with no hoops to jump through. They just have to go click a button and it downloads to their computer. And over time, I just kept doing that and people were really responsive and more so, they were really appreciative.

“It worked so well that when it came to the album, the end goal was to get people to listen to it, and you know, it’s not really about money, because to be quite honest, there really isn’t that much money in selling records.”

In terms of what to expect from this expert of convergence in his live set, Knick says it’s all about giving us what we want. “I approach DJing a little bit differently to the way I make music in the studio,” he says. “I feel like it also depends on where I’m playing. I tailor my sets to be appealing to everyone – that’s what I want – I don’t want to get up there and just play weird stuff just for the sake of being different. I want to get up there and rock the party – it’s that simple.”