Boogie T. Talks Early Musicianship, Tour with Ganja White Night, and says Weird Stuff in Weird Accents [exclusive interview]
Dubstep came into the picture when I was like 18, I probably made my first dubstep track when I was like 17 and it was like all analog and synthesizer..
Upon his recent visit to the Sunshine State, more specifically Orlando, one of our favorite bass music prodigies by the name of Brock Thornton, better known as Boogie T., came to show us what’s up in the wild world of Riddim dubstep. Undoubtedly one of the strangest space cadets we’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with, this ingenious engineer of underground “chunes” chimed into his musical history, all the way from learning live instrumentation as a youngin’ to mastering the tricks of the trade as electronic music came into the picture. We wish transcribing accents was possible for this interview, but take our word for it when we say that he took on the persona of a plethora of international natives during our chat.
Sensible Reason: We’re here with the boogie master himself, Boogie T. You were born and raised in Louisiana, correct?
Boogie T: Yes ma’am I was.
SR: How did that shape you as you started producing and creating the alias of Boogie T.?
BT: So here’s the story. I grew up on the bayou in LA and started playing guitar and piano at a really young age, started playing piano at 6 and guitar at 8. I got my first program from my grandma when I was like 10; I started messing around with loops and stuff recording guitar and playing School of Rock songs and stuff around then. I began teaching guitar around the age of 14 to all my dad’s lawyer friends and making hella money charging $20 a lesson and shit. I was performing in bands that whole time and doing rap albums; my boys did hardcore music at the time so I was helping them produce as well. I was doing light shows for people, battle of the bands, I was in band, choir, theatre, honor choir.. I did all of it. Then dubstep came into the picture when I was like 18, I probably made my first dubstep track when I was like 17 and it was like all analog and synthesizer. I was producing rap at the time, and I always would think thought about how Bassnectar and others were taking vocal samples and putting them over drops and making beats like that. When I was writing I wanted to have stuff with actual substance, like a real song. There was a lot more effort put into making actual content like that; so I could just say a sample before the drop and make a drop.
SR: When you first began making music, who else did you take notice of that influenced you in your sound?
BT: Datsik, Excision, Liquid Stranger, it was like listening to Pandora the first couple dudes that I heard of and was first exposed to. After that I got into deeper stuff like Benga, Caspa, Rusko, people like that. But yeah the first couple of songs were literally “Basshead” and shit, the melodic stuff and then Flux and popular names like that because I’m from Louisiana and LA is like ten years behind so I discovered the popular stuff around 2010 or 11’ or so; I was really new to the game because I was making like, hip-hop and blues stuff the whole time, and I was in a funk band for a little too.
SR: Any hip-hop names you want to drop that played a role in your younger influences?
BT: Well, I was producing for two of my boys – my best friend Frank, Frank Castro. We go way back, we went to kindergarten together and he was actually my drummer the whole time that we were in a band called Elephunk, for like 6 or 7 years. Jesse Slayter from Mad Decent is a really good friend of mine, we went to school together for a while and we made his first rap beat together, it was called “Get Jock Son”. He was in a hardcore band the whole time and they were playing a bunch of Attack! Attack! Kinda shit.
SR: I witnessed you work magic on some strings by Ganja White Night’s side the last couple of months at festivals like Okeechobee and Buku – when did you really begin to develop a passion for playing guitar?
BT: I took my first couple of lessons when I was about 8 years old, and I took them at the University of Louisiana with a guy named Jeff George. Then I got with this guy named Walter Pusant who goes by Walter Jr., he was in the blues Hall of Fame, the dopest of the dope. So I took from him from when I was 11 until I was like 17, and he taught me so much stuff; he is the reason I know how to do what I do 100%. He taught me the theory of guitar essentially. He had a workshop called The Art of Accompaniment which represented the idea that you can accompany anybody, and it’s so incredible because you can learn scales and notes and know how everything corresponds to each other, basically connecting all the dots. It’s absolutely incredible.
SR: So when you did the tour with Ganja White Night where you co-headlined, how did that go in terms of teaching you?
BT: It was absolutely massive. It actually taught me a lot more about the road and how to portray yourself on the road. We started that tour February 23rd in Grand Rapids, MI. I feel like I’m almost dreaming sometimes, every day I would just wake up in a new city. It’s the most surreal feeling ever. It’s kind of weird how people on the internet portray it, old friends and such will see posts about it and hit me up to tell me I’m killing it and they’re proud of me, and I’m just thinking ‘I haven’t talked to you in years..’ It’s kind of crazy but I relate so much to Drake. I think all of his songs are literally my life.
SR: How do you think the tour shaped you as artist overall, aside from you channeling your inner Drake vibes?
BT: Well the Ganja guys are literally my brothers now, we love each other. It’s funny because we have David who is our TM and he is our dude. We like to do stupid shit like turning on the seat heaters in the van when nobody is looking. We all have our own personalities which makes it so cool, and I think we’re even working on some Anime with Ebo, who is the Don of all Dons.
SR: As far as collaborations go with other artists in the future go – whether it be with people from All Good [Records], SubCarbon [Records] or otherwise – can you give us a little insight?
BT: I can drop a few names that you probably already know of because you’ve seen us all hanging out, so I’ll just tell you people I’ve been “hanging out” with…I was chilling with the Disciple [Recordings] boys in LA, like John (12th Planet) who is a good friend of mine, been hanging with Jordan who is GRiZ’s manager and Grant (GRiZ) is a great guy and he’s been obsessed with my music lately which is super cool, big up Grant.
Dack Janiels hit me up and he’s a great guy, as well as Al Ross, YAKZ, SVDDEN DEATH, Ponicz, my dude Boarcrok who is one of my closest friends for some time, literally the biggest ups to my dude Boarcrok because I play a lot of his tunes in my sets. Also big ups to Strix, G-Rex, Kompany, Monxx, Dirtysnatcha and p0gman out in the UK, and Walter Wilde out in Canada.
SR: Before bass music really came into the picture, what were your get down grooves back in the day?
BT: Bill Withers is probably one of my favorite artists of all time, I actually have some lyrics of “Ain’t no Sunshine” tattooed on me…(continues on to sing “Ain’t no Sunshine” in partial form) L0L. Stevie Wonder is also the man, “Superstitious” is definitely one of the best tracks of all time. Stevie Ray Vaughn is one of my favorite guitarists by far.
SR: Let’s talk about the last few months of being on and off tour. Is there a certain performance that was your favorite or a really monumental moment you experienced?
BT: Well Okeechobee was super fun actually. Cool story about that fest, we were riding around in the cart, and as you know I wasn’t supposed to even play chobee because I wasn’t on the lineup or anything, but I was on tour with the boys (GWN). I had my manager with me Eric Silver – big up Eric – that’s my dude, that’s dad #2. So yeah we did the show, then Eric was working on the renegade set in like the RV park of the fest after so I did the last song with Ganja on stage at Okee. Then we went to see Pretty Lights, Ben was headbanging the whole time it was great. Then it was 12 and we were like “oh shit we need to go see Blunts n’ Blondes” so we walk over there, then Michael calls me on stage with him and it’s funny because we both have long blonde hair. Another fun time was in Denver where we had three sold-out shows, there was a lot of crowdsurfing going on – Erwin got to do his first crowd surf, it was insane. We also did some trust falls which was great. I need to get an air mattress for my shows and start surfing onto that, maybe do some sweet jump flip onto that.
SR: If you could make your craziest dream collab come true, who would it be with?
BT: Well favorite artist wise, it sounds kind of weird but the first thing that pops into my head is Erykah Badu. Others would be like 3 6 Mafia and Andre 3000 on a hip-hop note. In terms of funk I’m thinking SunSquabi if they would have me, I was able to chill with them the first time I went to Denver when they did a pop-up show. Also, Liquid Stranger and I will definitely link up for a collab in the future.
Check out Boogie T.’s upcoming tour dates in your city right here, and keep it locked on the official Boogie T. SoundCloud for the newest releases.