The most ambitious he’s ever been, Brandon Lucas is on a lifelong mission to generate and spread love, awareness, and transcendence throughout the electronic sub-sphere and beyond. His eloquence and precision has opened a new horizon within his storytelling. Brandon takes a humble moment with SPIN and details the origins of his career, the impact of his biggest musical influences, lessons learned in his toughest moments of stillness and reflection, and how it led to the most abundantly blessed phase of his life yet.
Who is Brandon Lucas and what do you stand for?
I am love. I stand for love.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
My sound has its origins in RnB and Gospel music from the 90s — sex music and worship music. It’s been sonically molded by the deep house and techno music of the world with both organic/tribal elements as well as futuristic/other-wordly sounds — it’s low-key dramatic…it’s deep gospel. Prince, D’Angelo and Pharrell are influences, and so are Fred Hammond, Richard Smallwood and the Clark Sisters, but also Green Velvet, Danny Tenaglia and Above & Beyond. Visually I’m most drawn to potent 80s-style imagery that pushed boundaries in style and vibe, a la Grace Jones and Prince. Nonetheless, there is a West Coast Hip-hop aesthetic to it all both visually and sonically that’s undeniable me, as I grew up in Inglewood, CA. Socially, I suppose, it’s manifested to an accessibility that most people — whether it’s your average jane or joe or your most cosmopolitan and cultured – are often intrigued by.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
I’ve been in the arts and entertainment since my early youth and have had many experiences and mild successes along the way — so whatever “success” so far hasn’t been over night. I have ALOT still to achieve though, and I’m not necessarily chasing success, which to me, as Dr. Cornel West would explain it, is what one should use to be in service to others to achieve greatness, which is more in line with my vision. That said, the most recent turning point I think was in 2020 when it seemed like my perceived losses, failures, and shortcomings all cumulatively looked different once I was able to finally sit down and be still and alone with myself and my thoughts due to the quarantine — creating that space for where my life is taking me now. It all pointed in the direction of music, of me finally knowing who I am and having something real to say and to share with the world. I realized that God knows exactly what he is doing. Everything playing out in my life with my art right now has definitely taken real work and effort, but it has manifested so seamlessly as of late that it can’t be anything but God.
Re-centering electronic music in the Black tradition has been a central focus of your artistic ethos, which further developed into your greatest project yet – Purple Label Sound. What is PLS, how did this idea come about, what has been the biggest takeaway from establishing this label? How has this impacted your vision for the future?
PLS is a label, a collective, an incubator. It is for me a natural complement for Brandon Lucas as an artist stepping into his greatness. But I’m the same person today that I was in childhood — I can’t help but want to help those around me achieve and elevate themselves. I’ve always worked with talent, and that won’t ever stop. With me helping to re-center electronic music with my own art, incubating and helping to lead the formation of a collective of others to do the same just makes sense for me. I actually had to be told to put my “dick on the table” so to speak, to go all out and lead with my own project first and my Purple Label initiatives from there in succession. I’m no stranger to helping other people build their careers. I want to do it all — but I’m learning that the more I elevate myself the cup will run over.
Your first release on Purple Label Sound, “Got That Hope” was a progressive/deep house collaboration with Dr. Cornel West. What was the process in making that track? What do you love most about collaborating with other artists/creatives?
In today’s DIY digital world, it’s very easy to not be collaborative. But the fact that collaboration breeds a special magic has been proven many times over. So I prefer to collaborate because I love sharing the excitement of a completed work of art…like yea, we did that. Works of art do take WORK, especially when multiple parties are involved, but it’s worth it in the end. “Got That Hope” was a special record that was birthed at the right time during a special moment in history. Dr. West would reach out to me to post on his behalf on social media regularly over the many years we’ve worked together — but this one time while I was in Joshua Tree hit differently. I was out there celebrating one of my best friends’ birthdays in Spring 2020 when the streets first got hot all of a sudden with protesting and uprising, literally on the street where I lived in LA actually…but I wasn’t there. I was chillin with some of my white friends who had the privilege of not yet understanding at the time the magnitude of what was going on — all the while I had [Black] friends literally on the front lines of the protest in anguish over George Floyd’s murder. With that backdrop, I began feeling convicted about “just chillin”, when I with barely any cell or wifi service got a call from Dr. West….”where are you brother?” Long story short, Dr. West’s genuine concern and questioning eventually resulted into the record “Got That Hope”.
Despite the curses 2020 brought to the collective masses, what was the biggest lesson you gained and how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
I learned that real love begins with self, and understanding what you have to offer is more than enough and probably too much for some even. My career as an artist took a 10+ year hiatus for good reason — every experience since then has informed how it is manifesting now. However, a big part of that was not knowing myself, and so not really loving myself — so what you’re witnessing is revolutionary both personally and otherwise. What you’re witnessing is revolutionary love, which the world needs right now on an existential level — it is going to be huge.
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
I’m working on a couple of dope things with Seth Troxler, with Dr. West and my comrades like Fred the Brave at Purple Label Sound…so look out for all that. Also, I’ve been producing some heat lately and having some label conversations, so you should probably expect an EP or something from me later this year once the right partnership is locked in.
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
I’d like to see more ladies and more Black people involved in the genre and being more of a presence at the shows and parties as fans.
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
What the world needs right now is love, and you can’t give love if you don’t have love. So what we need is self-love…radical love…revolutionary love.
Tune into Brandon’s vivacious B2B set alongside Fred the Brave and watch below. Can’t get enough of Brandon Lucas? Be sure to check out his most recent release – a rework of Mary J Blige’s “Love No Limit” here. Want more SETS? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest DJs breaking the electronic charts.