Artist Growth

Artist BRAIN A Working To Pay Tribute To Greats Of Phoenix Hip Hop. Watch this space: @brainabiding on Instagram.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — For more than a decade, the artist BRAIN A has been developing what he calls a “curiously genre-defiant blend of electronic music and post-punk drive, delivered with lo-fi hip hop ease.”

During that time he’s been supported by some of the greats of the Phoenix music scene, and he’s looking now to pay those musical veterans back.

That’s why he’s asking his fans and others to keep an eye on his Instagram feed, for a big announcement in the near future.

Will “BRAIN A” Currier is holed up in his desert lab in southern New Mexico fine-tuning the release of a project called “BRAINFIEND” a collaboration with rapper Mykr Fiend X of the longest running hip-hop collective in Phoenix, The Avenue of the Arts Crew.

This project will feature collaborations with Myka 9 of Freestyle Fellowship and Sadat X of Brand Nubian.

So what will people see on Instagram?

“People will see slow rollouts, snippets, promos, announcements as far as who will be involved in working with us on the project,” Currier said. “So far I’ve just announced two names, Mika 9 and Sadat X. Brand Nubian came out in 1990 and Freestyle Fellowship came out in 1991, so it’s stuff I grew up with and kind of always looking up to. It’s a nostalgic hiphop but it’s definitely modern, it’s definitely reaching into the future. We do have a lot of plans moving forward and this is just barely a warm up.”

Currier was born the youngest of three children in a “little geodesic dome” his father built in southern Illinois.

His father took his own life before Currier turned 3 and his mother struggled to make ends meet.

In 1993, his family moved to Chandler, Arizona to be as close as possible to his ailing grandfather in Southern New Mexico and still find work.

Currier said his grandfather and his uncle were his inspiration to get into music.

Currier considers his grandfather on mythic terms.

“He grew up in the Great Depression and hopped trains, singing for his super playing folk and blues before he started serving in the military and went MIA as a POW in Korea” he said.

Currier’s grandfather and uncle taught him his first songs on the guitar, instructing him how to play a 12-bar blues when he was 10.

It failed to keep Currier out of trouble though, and in his teenage years he fell in with bad crowds. “Our house burned down my first year of high school, setting us back to zero again,” he says, noting struggles with mental illness in the aftermath. 

It was also in these years when Currier found his salvation in his music. He got his first drum machine toward the end of his high school career and learned basic scratches on the turntables and sampling-based bedroom production styles.

Inspired by records like The Cramps’ “Bad Music For Bad People,” the self-titled “Bad Brains,” Brand Nubian’s “One For All,” Freestyle Fellowship’s “To Whom It May Concern,” and eclectic sides by Roland Kirk, Leadbelly, Tangerine Dream, and Bob Dylan, Currier began reverse engineering what he heard, and applying his skills in the Phoenix hip-hop scene, where Currier found like-minded people and began working with the artists he admired. 

Now settled on three acres on the outskirts of Deming, New Mexico, Currier says he’s finally comfortable again sharing the music he’s used as therapy his whole life.

“I’m really just a 10 year old kid in his room playing the guitar at heart,” Currier said.

Follow BRAIN A on Instagram and hear a snippet of his more experimental music on SoundCloud.


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