Each week, Backseat Mafia’s Droppin’ Knowledge talks to a musician, producer, or beat maker, to hear about their creative processes and how they approach making music. This week’s guest is Brainorchestra, the nom de guerre of Andrew Melo, a musician, rapper and producer from Elizabeth, New Jersey. Shout out! Brainorchestra has worked with artists such as GRIMM Doza, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon and Ewonee. Brainorchestra crafts lush, jazzy beats, great for head nodding, and when he raps, he spits with an authoritative voice, that can be rough or smooth, depending on the beat, and sometimes even on the same track. Strings, horns and keyboard washes ebb and flow and it all melds together for the distinctive Brainorchestra sound. Brainorchestra has been creating music since 2015 and has released an astounding 20 projects in the last five years. Prefix, his latest joint, dropped in March. Prepare to have your brain and ears elevated by Brainorchestra. This interview has been lightly edited.

Backstreet Mafia: What inspired you to create music? What inspires you every day?

Brainorchestra: I grew up listening to a lot of music with my older brother, as well as playing instruments in school (I figured I wouldn’t have to do math problems). I really love what I do and I never get bored. Everyday I wake, and I’m blessed to further my mind.

BSM: Where is your favorite or usual place to work/create?

BO: I like creating in my own studio or out of state when I travel. Lately, I’ve been working a lot at KRTV Studios in Newark, a new venue and studio space, with my good friend Rudy and many more devoted individuals. They focus on high quality for independent budgets, and artist development, so it’s always great to work there.

BSM: Are you a crate digger? Where is your favorite place to dig? What was your greatest find?

BO: I most definitely dig vinyl. I love digging in random places when I travel, to be honest. But Iris Records in Jersey City, New Jersey has held me down A LOT. My greatest find there was this insane Russian jazz rock album. I can’t translate the language though. Haha!

BSM: What is your preferred music production hardware/software?

BO: Personally, I love Ableton. I make most of my music on an (Akai) MPC Live and sometimes on my (Akai) MPC2000XL. Then, I dump it into Ableton and continue the process and mix.

BSM: What is your favorite piece of audio gear/instrument and why?

BO: I truly love the MPC2000XL. It puts me into a wild mind set, to work with less and to bring more. It’s also time consuming and it helped me to gain patience [when] creating music.

BSM: What is the one-non-musical item that you must have with you when you are working?

BO: A spliff!

BSM: What track/album/work are you most proud of? Why?

BO: My instrumental album, DOMÍ, is probably my favorite. I experimented a lot during that time and I was also having rough patches in my personal life. Those joints really speak to who I am and my deep cuts of composition. 

BSM: Dream artist to work with?

BO: Alchemist.

BSM: Favorite artist(s) or artist(s) you admire or that influenced you the most?

BO: Flying Lotus, J Dilla, Jake One, Styles P, Rakim. So many to name, I can’t even choose. Haha!

BSM: Upcoming project(s)?

BO: Expect more rap music with all star production. Also dropping a lot of beat projects and vinyl of everything. Purchase Prefix on cassette now via brainorchestra.net/

Brainorchestra on Spotify:

Brainorchestra on Bandcamp:

https://brainorchestra.bandcamp.com/music