Less than two weeks after the release of his third studio album, Old, we caught up with Danny Brown in his hometown of Detroit for a quick conversation.
Catching his breath on some downtime between shows, the Detroit native gave us an insight into working hard, collaborating with other musicians, touring in American and Europe, and more.
Old has been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews. How have things been since the album dropped?
Ain’t too much changed. It’s a good relief that people like the album. I worked hard on it, you know? It’s like the thing you say, what you put into something you get out of it. I got back what I think I put into it.
And is there anything in particular you’re doing to keep the momentum going?
I don’t really think about keeping the momentum going. I’m more concered with making the music better. I’m more so just constantly learning and constantly trying to improve on these ideas I’ve had forever. That’s really all my albums are, just continuations from the last ones. So I’m just constantly trying to make it better in that time. So I’m in a learning phase right now.
In what way?
I mean it’s just like life. How do you plan to continue to learn from life? There’s always things you don’t know with music. It’s all about figuring out new ways to do old shit.
What kind of artistic changes have you gone through between XXX and Old?
From then to now I worked a lot. I wasn’t really home that much; I’m always on the road. When I did get home I was working on the album. I was recollecting on shit from my past, more so than just talking about what was going on at the time. I couldn’t really talk about what was going on at the time because I was working. And that’s really what I do, I just talk about how my life is. That’s why you got the past and the future on Old, while XXX was more about the present.
How did the collaboration with Purity Ring come about?
It’s just me being a fan of their shit. I was just on Twitter talking and they eventually hit me up. They asked me to do a remix and the relationship started from there. We’d see each other around at festivals, kick it. And then we did the song. But the thing I liked about working with them is we did 2 or 3 songs. We didn’t use the song until it was right and working with most people through emails and doing that, as long as they do their job they don’t really care how the song comes out. But they really cared about the song and wanted to have a good song on the album so I commend them for that.
Is the creation process any different when working with musicians from a non-hip-hop background?
We’re all musicians so there’s not really a different approach. It’s just about wanting to make the best possible song we can make.
In the past you’ve worked with fashion designers like Mark McNairy. Is there anyone else at the moment you’re working with or interested in working with?
I’ve been working with Cassette Playa and I like her a lot. We kick it a lot. I would say that she’s like the homie first with me, that I kick it with the most. McNairy is just OG. With Cassette Playa we communicate more and come up with ideas and stuff. She just inspires me a lot.
What do you think about the relationship between fashion and music?
They go hand in hand. I remember being a kid and Wu Tang came out and I wanted to dress like Wu Tang and the music influenced the fashion.
You’re about to head to Paris for the Pitchfork Music Festival, do you notice any differences between the crowds in the U.S. and Europe?
In America, a lot of people will go to a show even if they don’t necessarily like the artist; they just know it’s gonna be a good turn out. Like there might be a lot of girls or whatever, and other reasons they might show up to the show besides the artist. And I think in Europe people just really come for the music. People enjoy the music.
Anything you do to keep the energy up between shows?
I mean just get high and drink a lot.