State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Weekly Outsource with Brandon Linn

Brandon Linn is a song-writer and producer, haling from Allentown PA. For the past few years, Brandon Linn had been gallivanting around the Syracuse University area as the producer (known as Master Rogers) of the dynamic hip-hop duo, Mouths Cradle. With Brandon making beats reminiscent of gangster-rap spliced with a video game sound-track, and Kevin Hegadus’s offbeat but addictive rhymes, group currently has 3 mix-tapes released, and one full album, The Next Big Thing, which has passed through well over 50,000 hands. Less than a week ago Brandon released a solo album, and when it more than measured up to the high expectations set by his usual musical endeavors, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to quiz him on it.

For any fans of Passion Pit, Phoenix, John Mayer, or anyone who might like to see what they’d sound like all mashed together, you do not want to miss this.

SITR:Your main project, Mouths Cradle has a huge following of dedicated fans. What can MC fans (and everyone else) expect from your new solo album?

Brandon:MC fans can certainly expect my brand of electronic-pop production. I wasn’t really focused so much on hip-hop as much on my solo release. It should be known that throughout high school I was a huge John Mayer fan and still am. My heart also hears beauty in alternative, singer-songwriter type compositions. This project I feel brings together all of my loves be it RnB, Soul, Electro, and Indie type singer-songwriting vibes.

SITR:Before your collaboration with Kevin Hegadus (known notoriously as MC Mouf), you released your first solo EP. How has collaborating with a rapper for the past few years changed your music? Did it have an effect on the new album?

Brandon:I’d say that it definitely opened up my eyes to new rhythms and sounds. “Demon” from our group MC really has that same kind of stomp clap feel you’ll find in my song “September” while the vibe of each are completely different.

SITR:How did you go about creating these songs? Were they built from ideas that you had and thought didn’t fit with MC, or were they all written specifically for this album?

Brandon:I wrote all of these ideas specifically for my own project. My process was unique in that I had nothing written down beforehand for any of these songs. Each one at a time I started with a clean, blank Ableton session and filled in melodies and words as I went along. I wrote the song “Medicine” in 2009 while living in Hollywood, CA about a naive boy in a rich neighborhood. “Mrs. Mystery,” “Nightdriving,” and parts of “Rebuild” were written and recorded in Cleveland, OH while the rest was written and recorded in Allentown, PA.

SITR:You’ve obviously performed live with MC (most notably opening up for Lupe Fiasco). Do you plan to perform live with this project?

Brandon:I actually haven’t thought a bit about performing these live though if enough people demanded it I may step up to the plate.

SITR:What would you say (music or otherwise) inspired you to write such a unique style of music.

Brandon:My three inspirations to be perfectly honest for this album in no order were: Miike Snow, Phoenix, and Discovery. But what’s great is that people have told me they’ve heard everything from Justin Timberlake, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Dirty Projectors, to Owl City, John Legend, Passion Pit and more.

SITR:As a former student/musician from Syracuse University, what did you think of the schools music scene?

Brandon: I think Syracuse had a very underground music scene in the sense that we were literally hiding from the horrible snow and cold weather. You have to find a basement party with tons of people crowding together in thick coats to hear some really heartfelt music. However a venue called Funk n Waffles brought out live music and good food to a storefront and that place is the bee’s knees.

SITR:What suggestions do you have for fellow musicians/students?

Brandon:Music students and musicians can take my advice- start finding beauty in EVERYTHING. I recently worked a job in radio and forced myself to listen to country music. Though comical, I can sense that some of these songs have nice story-lines and some have pretty melodies despite my non-connection with the topic. Also do not set your self up for letdowns and set unrealistic expectations. Artists are sensitive, I will attest. Get excited about your music and promotion but don’t expect that if you send 1000 emails that even 5 bloggers will get back to you, or 2 record labels, or even that your 1500 “friends” on facebook will blast your music out to everyone they know (let alone fall in love with it). Make music that is free from criticism, input, suggestions, until you release a product that you are completely happy with by yourself or with your band. Then no matter what happens, you will know that you are happy with the music you’ve made.

SITR:What does the next year have in store for you, your solo project, and Mouths Cradle?

Brandon: The next year for me is up in the air but look out for a new mix tape from Mouth’s Cradle in the next coming months as we are recording right now.

Check out the whole album, Night Driving Here

And if you haven’t listened to Mouths Cradle, do yourself a HUGE favor.. Mouths Cradle