By Nicholas Jason Lopez
(Leave) Nelson B – the musical project of Ohio-based producer Nelson Allen Brodhead – recently dropped his latest album ‘3.0: Saints’ via Lonely Ghost Records, as he sought to introduce a “newer” side to his otherwise experimental, genre-defying sound.
It is his second release of the year and an appropriate followup to January’s ‘2.0: Phantom.’
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with him about ‘3.0: Saints’ and more.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together ‘3.0: Saints’?
(Leave) Nelson B – ‘3.0’ was a very easy project to put together, actually. Most of it was done within 40 days, the exception being “Donna K.” That was a relic from my winter post-‘2.0’ partum depression. This was very fun. Basically, I bought a new computer, modified my workflow to include the computer, relearned FL Studio to make it do what I want it to do and just went to town. I was getting better and I wanted to showcase that. Now, I have more songs than projects to put them in, if I use them at all. I would definitely say this has been the most fun and least anxiety-inducing project I have put together.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
(Leave) Nelson B – My biggest struggle is probably incorporating a visual component to my music. I have gotten better at doing it, but I have to remember once you do that, people will associate that visual with that sound. Even now, I hear songs from when I was a kid and the album cover or music video comes to mind. So many times does Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo” play in my head every time I see an old school welfare card. Of course, I am not gonna reach that iconic status, but it’s something I struggle with and really need to get better at doing. It is not something I want to pay someone else to do.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
(Leave) Nelson B – I am from Ashtabula, Ohio. Moved there as a teen. My mother’s family mostly lives in that area and it’s where I became a man, basically. I could not wait to leave when I was a teenager, but all in all, I met some of the best people I will ever meet there. I am in no hurry to move back though. Meth and other addictions have taken hold on that town and I think it is trying to get an identity outside of what has been memed about it. I had my first love there, got drunk for the first time there, made my first songs there more than 15 years ago there. I am proud to be from there, but I don’t want to go back. I am in Cleveland now and I love it here.
Music Bugle – What does the artwork for ‘3.0: Saints’ signify?
(Leave) Nelson B – The album art is a continuation of my last LP ‘2.0.’ @knifemum, the model that did that cover, came back to do this one and she sent me quite a few photos that I plan to take full advantage of. We have a great working relationship and plan to use her for more releases if she lets me. I think the distortion and blurry filters mirror how I see myself in the context of what a musician is. I hate calling myself one, but if you mess up that definition and blurred it, I guess I could accept that title. The green is to signify this new direction my music is heading in.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
(Leave) Nelson B – I work in a Level 1 Trauma center laboratory during night shift. I have been quite busy with work. This pandemic, as my best friend says, “is uniquely suited to my hobbies.” If it never happened, I doubt ‘3.0’ would sound like it does. I most likely would not have built this computer and would not have felt the liberty to not go outside and participate in things and do music instead, which really makes me happy. I play video games and make music for joy and this past year, video games have taken a back seat to my creativity. Of course, it sucks to not have a pride parade, or a wine fest to take my mother to, but we will live and we will be safe. Mask up.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
(Leave) Nelson B – I just love human biology and astronomy. I can watch black hole and evolution documentaries for days. I love to cook as well. My ribs will make you fall in love. Don’t play with me. My spice rack is on point and ready for battle. My turkey and black bean chili will make you cry. Also, I only buy whole bean coffee.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
(Leave) Nelson B – A lot of Adrian Younge’s “Jazz is Dead” Series. I am back on a Nine Inch Nails kick. They are my favorite band. Also, Wu Tang. This new Flaming Lips record is fantastic. Holy Kerouac, my labelmates, released an EP that I can not get enough of earlier this year. I have been all over the place. I’ve re-listened to the first three Modest Mouse records a few times this year, old Pavement records, Dayme Arocena, who is a Cuban songstress that we do not deserve and not to mention, Griselda’s ‘Output’ and finally Tyler, The Creator’s ‘IGOR’ was phenomenal.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
(Leave) Nelson B – If I need to reset, I spend time with my Godsons and their father, my best friends’ apartment and our mutual friends and back home to my family. I love cooking too. It relaxes me to be in the kitchen.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
(Leave) Nelson B – Social media may make it hard for a person like me to stand out, because I still use it like I am not a public figure. Of course, you are gonna need a team to have a successful promotion run on social media, but I think I am mostly concerned with portraying my authentic self. I am a fan at the end of the day and I fan out on social media. I am sure I do not have a following as of yet to anger, so I say what I please, but then again, I am about to be 33. My wild and out days are not happening at the frequency they did 10 years ago, but everyone has a voice now. To stand out is not being hindered by the medium in which we use and I don’t know if I want my Twitter to really have heavy optics anyway. With that said, @leavenelsonb on Twitter and Instagram.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
(Leave) Nelson B – Mazedude, who is a musician who gained a lot of notoriety for doing remixes of video game music on “OC Remix,” once had an interview where he said once something stops being fun, he abandons it and I took that advice and applied it really heavily into making ‘3.0.’ The cutting room floor is a mess with this record.