Brownies & Lemonade, Deadbeats Share Their Secret Recipes and Serve Up DnB Bangers

No genre of electronic music is drumming up interest at the moment quite like drum & bass. The genre’s artists are headlining festivals and tracks are becoming global anthems. Respected entities Deadbeats and Brownies & Lemonade have even joined forces to celebrate the genre with a new album.

Brownies & Lemonade has its thumb on the pulse of electronic music trends while Deadbeats is a label known to subvert expectations. The two parties aligned to celebrate the latest drum & bass revolution with a compilation album, Deadbeats + DNBNL Present: D&B, B&L’s first venture into releasing music.

North American fans’ obsession with the genre might seem like a new discovery, but it’s an old artifact that’s always thrived beneath the surface of our culture.

“I don’t think that sound was as nebulous or foreign to the North American culture,” Brownies & Lemonade Creative Director Chad Kenney told EDM.com. ‘When you go back to the ‘90s, house and drum & bass are the foundational bases of electronic music in North America. You can even go back to my childhood. The Powerpuff Girls theme song is a drum & bass heater. You go back to PlayStation 1. All of these things you don’t realize because they’re not in the foreground.”

“The seeds have always been there in North American culture, but for it to permeate and be something where Fred again.. is going to be on the mainstage playing drum & bass or Marshmello is playing drum & bass, it was a matter of time for some of these artists to step up in the last couple of years and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to make a whole set with this stuff.'”

The compilation is a first for Brownies & Lemonade. Deadbeats’ involvement in curating the project was a crucial but herculean task even for an experienced music label. Deadbeats + DNBNL Present: D&B took two and a half years to put together. It’s a heavy workload compared to Deadbeats’ six-month timeline for similar projects.

“It’s a monster of an undertaking to get 15 artists scheduled synced up, make sure you have the open windows,” Deadbeats Label Manager Harrison Bennett said. “From the label side, it’s really about making yourself as flexible as possible and making yourself as available as possible to all of these artists.”

“Deadbeats was always made to mirror what a Zeds Dead set is like because it’s a Zeds Deads label. They’re very genre-agnostic and very fluid across whatever they’re playing. Deadbeats is going to continue being in that realm. We’re going to do a little bit of dubstep, a little bit of bass, maybe some house music. We’re going to be all over the place. We’re very hard to pin down.”

Brownies & Lemonade have been rattling the events scene with their renegade style of pop-up shows. It’s a delicate balancing act to grow a company so deeply attached to an underground spirit.

“There are a lot of risks in terms of safety and things getting shut down if you do things in a non-traditional capacity. If you do things in a renegade sort of way,” Kenney said. “Obviously, with most of our events, the way we go about it is traditional and permitted and completely legit. But sometimes we’ll do something a little more left of center, a little more secret and harkening back to our warehouse days. I think a lot of risk also is not just at the event but it’s… perception. A lot of things are perception.”

“A lot of people may have heard the name Brownies & Lemonade but they think we’re this huge events company. The ‘huge’ is the subjective part. Is it infrastructure? Is it your social media following? So when they come to a renegade popup with ISOxo in the middle of San Fransisco in an abandoned bunker, I think some people think, ‘Is this a produced event?’”

“I think people are surprised to see how real and in the community what we’re doing is. I think the question is if ‘big promoters’ still have the ability to do things that are that renegade and sort of open for the community. We try to strike a nice balance but that’s a challenge that I think a lot of promoters will face because the bigger you go, the more out of touch you may become with your core audience.”

Chad Kenney of Brownies & Lemonade.

c/o Press

Community-building is the foundation of BNL’s success. Keeping that core experience alive is fundamental to the vision no matter how far the group reaches.

“Identity has always been tied to music and community,” Kenney said. “Music was this adhesive where people felt like if you cared and were more detail-oriented with your listening, it said something about your values and the way you approach life.

“That’s why we work so well with Deadbeats. It’s because we identified something they’re doing—especially with their events and music—it caters to a certain kind of person that goes just a little bit deeper under the surface to care about music and what that exemplifies.”

Deadbeats Label Manager Harrison Bennett with the imprint’s founders, Zeds Dead.

c/o Press

“It looked like such a fun event,” Harrison chimed in. “The way things were running and how they were curating things. It seemed so unique and needed at the time. They’ve done a really good job of fostering relationships with artists from the start of the artist’s projects to extremely big artists like Skrillex. They have such a close relationship with a lot of these acts that they can call them up at a moment’s notice, within a week, and be like, ‘Hey we’re throwing this party at a random warehouse. Do you want to come out here? No, we’re not announcing you on the lineup.’ The artist doesn’t care about that and the fans that show up don’t care about that. That’s such a unique angle to have in this scene.”

“We’ve always been very careful about making sure the artists we work with feel like they’re part of this family. That they feel supported on the release level and the touring level and the merchandise or whatever it is the artist wants to help develop their presence in the markets. I think we’ve found a very kindred spirit in what Brownies does on that level.”

You can find Deadbeats + DNBNL Present: D&B on streaming platforms here.

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