An Interview with The LMNtlyst

Download MP3: The LMNtlyst – “Through the Eyes of the Enemy”
(from The Birth of Jerry Gruvis LP)

I’ll spare you my eight-mile-long list of reasons why The Birth of Jerry Gruvis is one of the best records you’ll ever hear. Instead, I’ll cut right to the interview with its creator– The LMNtlyst (born Brandon Birchbauer). The Milwaukee-based producer has a handful of collaborations, and one of them– Blackout Sands— has a new album coming out. Hence, this chat.

Fan-belt Milan: First thing’s first: Give me a rundown of all your existing projects/aliases.

LMNtlyst: The LMNtlyst (my straight up hiphop production style), Jerry Gruvis (my live instrumentation tracks), KingHellBastard (DNA, Dana Coppafeel, Clark Beezy, Animas, A-Biz, Reakt20), Perfect Little Monster (Oneself and Swan…John Swan), Blackout Sands (Adrift and Rehab Hymn), Paydirt (a collective of musicians and producers .

FBM: So, who has more aliases: you, or JTodd?

LMNtlyst: I would say JTodd… that kid reinvents his sound everytime I see him. One of the most talented cats I’ve seen.

FBM: Do you work on all your projects at once, or do you complete one thing, then move on to another?

LMNtlyst: I’m usually working on a couple projects at a time. Sometimes I take months before I consider a song done, so it’s easy for things to overlap. Though The Birth of Jerry Gruvis was made on its own time when there was a break with all the other projects.

FBM: Is it hard to shift stylistic gears from one project to the other, or do you try and blur the lines between each of them?

LMNtlyst: It can get confusing at times. When each group started out I would say that they all had their own unique sound. But as they developed, the projects morphed. They started experimenting, and we came across new styles and sounds. So I would say the lines have blurred… or at least gotten a little fuzzy around the edges.

FBM: I know there’s a new Blackout Sands record coming out. Give me the origin story of Blackout Sands, including the players involved.

LMNtlyst: Blackout Sands is Adrift (Milwaukee) and Rehab Hymn (Denver, Colorado) on vocals, and me on the music. It started when Adrift and I were talking about doing some music together. Adrift was just about to go on tour with this cat, Rehab, and thought he would be a good culprit to join the team. So when they went on tour, I threw them a CD of tracks I felt fit their styles to start writing to on the road. They came back with a handful of choruses written out.

So, over The Internet, we would send music back and forth and began to build our catalog and lock down lyrical ideas. When we felt we were ready to record, we brought Hab to Milwaukee for two weeks to get on tape as much as possible. We recorded about 10 songs before he had to leave. After about a year of adding bits and pieces, redoing entire instrumentals, rewriting verses, and shaping the album, we finally felt we were finished.

We decided to call it Who Killed Jiminy Cricket? It should be out on the streets in late July/early August.

FBM: And this is obviously one of the projects you can more easily translate live. Will there be shows? An album release?

LMNtlyst: Im sure we will have some sort of album release when this album drops. Maybe even featuring Dwellephant on the live art (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). Adrift and Rehab have performed together on several occassions and were both living in Colorado, but with them currently in two different cities the performances might be sparse. But there is talk of a tour.

FBM: So, let’s nerd out for a minute. There’s a song on a Perfect Little Monster album called “Those Things You Do.” But I first heard it in a very shortened form at the end of “Show Me” off of The Birth of Jerry Gruvis. I’m assuming it was made for the Jerry Gruvis record first, but you liked it enough to flesh it out?

LMNtlyst: Actually “Those Things You Do” isnt on the PLM album. It is on the MySpace page, though. It was part of a batch of songs Oneself and I put together after our first release. it wasnt finished and didnt really have a home but I thought it fit the Jerry Gruvis vibe, being that it wasnt an MC doing his normal routine. It was a little more out there. So I threw it on the album. But just in case we decided to finish it and put it on a future PLM record, I made a shortened version and used it as an interlude on the Gruvis record.

FBM: So, since I brought it up, let’s talk about that Jerry Gruvis record. It’s easily one of the best records in my collection. Period. I hold it in the same regard as other albums I’d never be the same without, like …Endtroducing or In A Silent Way. Can you give me a little background on it?

LMNtlyst: Thanks, Milan. That record has been waiting to come out for a long time. It’s my solo debut that probably took a good five years to put together. It went through a plethora of changes throughout that time and I actually could have released ten different albums with all the different songs that were on the record at some point. But I decided to wait, and I finally felt I shaped it into a version that fit my original idea.

I wanted to make a diverse album that fit a similar sound and that listeners could listen to straight through without skipping tracks. I didnt really want to make a Hiphop record with MCs spitting their hot 16s and hooks. So I decided to work with more singers and musicians to make the music more accessible to other audiences. I also wanted some of the record to be mainly instrumental and contain close to no samples, so to pull that off I felt I had to go all out and add guitar solos, and get some help from some other musicians and add trumpet, saxophone, etc., to keep it interesting. I also wanted it to have a feel of a concept record, where every song has its purpose and helps tell the story of the album, and at the same time feel like a mixtape where all the tracks blend together seamlessly. It had a different sound from my LMNtlyst stuff, so I named it Jerry Gruvis.

FBM: You’ve never done a live show for that record have you? Could you even DO something like that? It doesn’t seem like an easy album to bring to a live setting.

LMNtlyst: I like to be more of the behind the scenes studio guy, so I havent put much time into constructing a live performance, but would love to if I can put together the right group of musicians. I’m not really a sampling producer who can go on stage by myself with turntables and an MPC and rock a show. And it would be pretty tough to take a gang of instruments on stage and try and recreate what I do in the studio. So, I need a band to perform with me.

I have a handful of musicians that i have been working with but after getting a couple eviction warnings for noise complaints, we havent been able to rehearse as much as we need to. So until we find proper means to rock out, I will have to settle on just making new music in the studio. But hopefully things will work out soon.

FBM: Tell me about the film you just worked on.

LMNtlyst: My main goal in working on my music is to get more involved in the film world by doing scores and soundtracks, etc. And I actually just finished two film projects in the last couple months.

My first entrance into this scene is a cartoon called Escape from Gizemboob. It is an animated cartoon created by the mastermind Joe Shakula. Joe is the guy who put together the cover art for the Jerry Gruvis record and is usually who I work with on my album designs and layouts. I would say the cartoon is a Star Wars meets Ren & Stimpy action/comedy mash-up with space junk funk music. I did the score, soundtrack, and sound design for that. That was featured at the Milwaukee Film Fest a couple months back.

The second film is called Back Woods. This was also directed by Joe Shakula for BIB SIMMONS productions. It was a short film put together for the 48 hour film contest that they premiered at The Oriental Theater in June. They had two days to write a script, cast, shoot, and edit the film and then I came in and added some music. The film is a Cop/Thriller/Monster kinda’ flick with little bits of animation thrown in for spice and horror. Even though the time frame was ridiculous, the final product is amazing and it actually won the contest. I hope to work on more things like that in the future.

FBM: So aside from the Blackout Sands record, and the film scores, what else is in the pipeline? Are those “so-and-so vs. LMNtlyst” songs on your MySpace page from something, like, I don’t know, say, a “LMNtlyst vs. Milwaukee” album?

LMNtlyst: Ha! I dont know. Maybe. Some of those tracks on my MySpace page were released on a little remix cd I put out a couple years ago. It wasnt a proper release. I think I only made like 20 of those CDs and mostly passed them out to people, so you might find one being used as a beer coaster or in your friends backseat under a pile of Shepherd Express’ and Redbull cans. Other than that, they might be hard to find. Maybe I’ll have to rerelease some of those properly sometime down the line.

Besides that, KingHellBastard has a music video coming out with the legendary Sadat X of Brand Nubian. I have a couple songs lined up for my next Gruvis record and just started playing with the construction of the album. I have an unplugged acoustic-style album that I’m debating on putting out as a limited release. Just keep an ear out on my MySpace page.

For more information on The LMNtlyst, and his various projects, check out these pages:

LMNtlyst’s MySpace page
MySpace page
Perfect Little Monster’s MySpace page
Blackout Sands’
MySpace page


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