Pirahnahead is not so much a producer, DJ or musician as a force of nature. Creating grassroots soul tracks with some of the best vocalists House Music has to offer, his productions are so versatile yet so characteristic that you can detect the “Pirahnahead sound” instantly, as fast as the speed of sound.
We never needed a huge studio like Abbey Road, but you got Motown, dig? The U.S. goes through a financial crisis and Detroit shrugs ’cause we broke anyways. Being from a primarily poor black city, people from Detroit hustle like no one else and can turn shit to sugar in a minute.
“Back in the ’90s, I was the chief engineer and one of the main producers for Studio 707 in Lansing, Michigan,” he says. “That’s actually where I cut my teeth as far as songwriting, and learned the actual 24/7 grind of what it meant to be a producer. I don’t operate out of there at the moment but I’m still part of that family cause they are still going and will always be.
“I never tried to emulate anyone but my sound is definitely influenced by the people I’ve grown up listening to in one way or another. From the radio or what records I could get my hands on – Prince, MJ, George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Eddie Hazel & Sly Stone and of course Hendrix, Jaco [Pastorius], Stevie [Wonder & Winwood], Led Zepplin, Zappa, etc.
“My Mom was the first teacher, but I learn from people all the time – like Diviniti and Inohs Sivad, both of whom I work with. I’m always learning something there.
“I learned a lot from anyone in my neighborhood growing up – musicians that were better than the best really, like my brother Melvin Brown [R.I.P], who taught me what it meant to be a guitarist in the realest sense of the word, and my brother Gabe Gonzalez who helped bring those skills to life on stage in a band. As one of my ‘godfathers’ in the neighborhood told me: ‘Expand your cranium’. I’m still trying.”
With the world’s attention focused on his hometown this month, to Pirahnahead being from Detroit means “being resilient enough to do what you want to do with nothing to do it with. We never needed a huge studio like Abbey Road, but you got Motown, dig? The U.S. goes through a financial crisis and Detroit shrugs ’cause we broke anyways. Being from a primarily poor black city, people from Detroit hustle like no one else and can turn shit to sugar in a minute, but that’s what you can do if you’ve experienced Detroit from the standpoint of a Detroiter.”
Pirahnahead is currently promoting a new record, “I Believe In You” featuring vocalists Stephanie Cooke and Diviniti. “It’s really a great record – It’s produced by Groove Assassin [Nick Moss] and myself, but it was written by the girls. They actually have a real friendship – like, they are REALLY tight – so it was a natural progression. Nick and Stephanie wrote the track initially, and then when Stephanie came to Diviniti with the idea of recording the duet I kinda went to Nick with the idea of a collaboration on both parts and asked him if I could put it out. We both enjoy each other’s work as well so it all kinda just worked. But it wasn’t some kind of fabricated deal, like ‘Let’s make this track with two “divas”‘ and yada yada… Nothing like that at all. This is all real shit. Like if you call Diviniti or Stephanie at this very moment, either are gonna put you on hold, and tell each other they’ll call back. This is a family, Nick included.”
Also be on the look out for his remix of “Suffer” by DJ Minx featuring Eva Soul on Minx’s Women On Wax label (“where all this started, believe it or not”); Bukusoul’s “The Deepness” on his own Whasdat Music; collaborations with Terry Hunter, Josh Milan and “remixes and revisions of stuff and then some. As long as God allows me life and breath I will be doing my best to make more music!” Check him out on facebook and Soundcloud. • • •