Best of MUSIC: Brain Cave

Here at CBK we collaborate with many upcoming musicians and bands. We support emerging artists in the DIY scene here at our magazine. We came out to support many of them at this amazing annual Brooklyn music event.

By Teo J. Babini - Photos ©Icarus Blake

From Cover 2[galobj viewid=26]Brain Cave is an annual Brooklyn DIY music festival started by my friend Luis Velazquez, better known as Cara Bella. Usually, I’m not big on going to shows, but I remember I had a date the night of last years BC and thought it would be an interesting event to bring her to. Luis has always been a man of good taste, and I always try to support the artistic endeavors of my friends, but I just did not see myself enjoying the trek and a room packed with people, bright lights, and loud music.

Boy was I surprised. First off, the turnout was huge in the tiny DIY venue that is Shea Stadium in the Williamsburg Industrial Park. Second, DIY venues let you do whatever you want, so the live painting, music, and projections were complimented by free for all drinking and smoking, a general atmosphere which was a welcome break from overwhelming security enforced traditional venues. A couple great bands I knew where playing like Quiet Loudly, who I’d worked on some promo material with. But I remember this two-piece band She Keeps Bees came on and I instantly fell in love. They play their version of blues rock like some kind of lucid dream. Next thing you know Jess (Jessica Larrabee) drops the guitar and picks up a tambourine, singing wildly until she can hardly breathe accompanied by ferocious drumming by Andy (LaPlant). Things never ended up working out with that girl I brought, but I knew that Luis had come up with some real magic here.

And the magic has grown. This years BC was two days at a much larger venue (The Bell House) in Gowanus. Circumstance made me miss the entire first day and many of the earlier acts on the second day. Luis has always told us that “One day you’ll see, this little stoner is gonna do some beautiful shit” and I must say the sheer magnitude of the event has proven his statement true. He’s still new to the game, and learns from the mistakes he makes with each show. But I am confident Brain Cave will only grow more beautiful in the years to come.

I had a chance to catch up with Luis before the show to pick his brain cave:

For starters, what’s your name and where you from?

My name is Luis Velazquez. Also known as Cara Bella in the Brooklyn DIY scene. And I am born and raised in Miami. Fa sho.

Alright, tell me something about the DIY scene in Brooklyn?

You know the DIY scene is… A very important scene in all, on all spectrums of everywhere it’s taken place. I feel in Brooklyn there’s spaces that a lot of beauty is held at, you know, but the same time it’s not presented right. So, me going to shows all the time, ’cause that’s what I was doing, was going an’ supporting and seeing these new acts and seeing what was out there. I realized that a lot of these places were doing it in a… In a way that was just not exciting for me. So, I decided to start doing them and to kinda have a live continuous film kind of sense to it, you know? At my shows it doesn’t stop. There’s no introduction of bands, there’s no… there’s nothing, but music and art because that’s basically what it’s all about. You know, it’s like I really hardly try to work with people that try to make some kinda like essence of not true beauty. You know, it’s… It’s a hard scene in Brooklyn, but it’s very much alive and I wanna contribute to it as much as possible.

Okay, how and why did you start Braincave?

The reason I started Braincave, it’s… It’s kind of a funny thing, man. I always was influenced and inspired by the artist and the life that I saw in Brooklyn and I was fortunate enough to have really good friends who were apart of these really amazing bands. You know, I was like thinking, why hasn’t anyone ever done this before. You know, like bring all these people together. And so, it was more of… I never thought of it as being what it is now. It was more of like let me try to get good people together in one room and have an experience, you know?

Yeah, why Braincave?

Well, Braincave was… Basically, we really wanted it to be Brainwave Festival and when we actually looked it up, the Moma was sponsoring an event for a museum, I think it was the New Museum, for an event called Brainwave Festival. So, we decided that we couldn’t do that because we didn’t really wanna get sued at that point. Especially that, you know, it was our first festival, so we’re like fuck it what, you know, what does sound good and what also could represent what we’re doing and so we thought Braincave would be the perfect fit for the event.

Okay, how’d you feel about last years Braincave?

That was the most, for me, the most beautiful experience in a long time. ‘Cause… My phone’s fuckin’ ringing how professional am I? Fuckin’, it was great, man. You know, to get all those people together and to actually, you know… Before I was even doing it I was homeless at the time, so it was really something personal for me to do. It gave me life, it gave me a lotta things, you know, it reiterated what I wanted to do with my life in the sense of how I wanted to change culture. ‘Cause like anyone would know, you know, if your bored from the city your living in, which I was, you’d have to change it and make your own reality a reality. So, it was awesome because if… It made me feel alive for the first time in a long time.

photo©Icarus Blake

What’s gonna be different this time around?

This time around is… You know, it’s gonna be very much so. A lotta more bands. It’s two days this year, last year was just only one day. We had eighteen bands and like seven DJs, this year is about thirty two bands and about eight DJs, and at The Bell House which is one of the most beautiful space in Brooklyn. You know, Braincave, we did it at Shay Stadium that only fits three hundred people. This place fits close to seven hundred and fifty, so, you know, it should be a massive crowd. A lotta good dancing and a lotta good tunes, a lotta good memories, I hope an’ straight up just a really good time for anyone that’s involved and for anyone that goes, I hope that, you know, it’s memorable and people keep going and keep representing for everyone involved like (collabo!), and kodezero, the infamous and most beautiful collective Art Pussy, you know? Those guys are great, I’m part of it, so, you know, I’m happy to represent for us.

(Laughing) Me too. Tell me something about The Bell House?

The Bell House is this really amazing space, ran by really good people. They’re kinda different in a sense, man, ’cause there’s shows that are held there, but they’re a little… there’s also like science talks and, and like, you know, meetings where people could, you know, really intellectual meetings, readings. It’s not just like, you know, Music Hall of Williamsburg or Bowery Presents, you know. It’s not like you find some kinda of dick head security guard that treats you like shit and you go and you see these, you know, bands and then you leave. It’s… It’s more of… Really, it feels like your home if you’re a millionaire, you know? (Laughs)

Natureboy photo©Christian Torres

What are your expectations for this year?

My expectations is… to…

For this Braincave, rather?

For Braincave would be to grow, to have more people know about it. For people to support it because, you know, it’s not that… You know, I… I’m broke as hell and I do it out of the love and, you know, I want these artist to be know for what they do ’cause a lotta the stuff they do is, for me… Very, very innovative… I’m not gonna say the, the term ‘the best’, but definitely something that you… That should be known and written about and for people in the future to know that these bands existed and ’cause they’re all phenomenal. And anyone that’s taking part of it, obviously, is part of something that I want to make more into an event. It’s more of like a lifestyle.

Is there any bands in particular that your excited about? That you wanna see? You can’t wait to see?

All of ’em, I’m really excited about all of them, but I’m really excited to see Shilpa Ray. Shilpa Ray is a phenomenal artist that’s been around for a long time, you know, this is a woman that’s opened up for Manu Chao, for Patty Smith, you know? We have Firehorse, which is Lee Seagal and she’s an amazing, famous singer-songwriter that just started this band and, you know, this is her second show in Brooklyn. Also She Keeps Bees, which is a phenomenal two piece from Brooklyn that, you know, just reminds me of all the old school seventies mixed into this fuckin’ realm of beautiful rock goodness with beautiful lead singer, Jessica, I love that woman and Andy, as well, the drummers a great, great guy. They’re both awesome people. And Natureboy, Natureboy has an’ amazing, an’ amazing talent. The… All the bands, man. Saturday’s gonna be great, you know, you got Monogold, which, back in 2009 was ranked one of the best artists in New York City, and they haven’t played a show in forever. So, you know, the whole thing is just really amazing, you know, I picked all the bands ’cause I love them so much. So, you know, I’m pretty much gonna be indulged in a pit of beautiful goodness all night. (Laughing) With all you guys, with whiskey.

Luis with She Keeps Bees Photo © Christian Torres

And how do you usually approach bands, artists, etcetera?

That one’s hard to kind of explain, man. I… I just really… I be as real as possible because even if Braincave wasn’t all these artists, I would do it with anyone that would wanna be involved. It could be one band, and I’ll still make that one band and that one night be as memorable as possible. So, I tell them where I come from because, you know, my background in music and hardcore music and in metal and all that stuff like. I come from, you know, my brother was part of a really big, famous hardcore band and my mom, being as cool as she was, when the clubs would kick them out, she would host these shows in our backyard and we would have thousands of people jumping around and having a great time. So, I think that’s what kind of, you know, must have inspired me to… to do it because if you don’t have an outlet, you have to make an outlet. If you don’t have certain things, you hafta find those certain things. Like, you know, you’re in New York City. We’re not in, you know, we’re not in Kansas where it’s hard to do shit, you know, we could make things happen and my main goal for this festival is to inspire other artists, other people to make these kind of festivals that way, you know, our fucking lives don’t suck in New York City and things are more innovative and your happy to be here, rather than pissed and broke all the time.

Okay, where would you say Braincave fits into the larger, over-all Brooklyn scene?

I feel like it covers the whole scene, man. It’s like you… You have all genres of music in that festival. Anyone that doesn’t know those bands definitely has heard of one of those, like, or one of the members of those bands know each other, it’s like a really big family. It’s bigger than I even thought it was, you know, to tell you the truth, because everybody there is excited to see everyone else. And like most of these events that you see now a days like, you go, the bands don’t meet each other, they don’t talk to each other. Your in a little room drinking your little Heineken, drinking your shots of whiskey, which is awesome, but there’s no interactive process where you actually get to meet each other and like, fuckin’ talk like human beings like, you know. I’m trying to bring back the renaissance, man. That’s my real fuckin’ shit, you know, my real dream is to make that kind of mentality back and I feel like in the world that we live in today there’s a lot of ignorance spoon fed, but if people that know what’s up spoon feed knowledge then that’s, in a way, your changing the world, in a sense.

Snowmine Photo © Teo J. Babini

Why New York? Why Brooklyn?

New York, man… New York is for me… Just has so much history and I love it so much. My biggest inspiration have come outta here from every single medium like from cinema, man, you got John Cassavettes, and if you don’t know who John Cassavettes is you gotta go back home and, you know, really reiterate your life because that’s a person you should know about. Everything started here and I feel like the fact that you have a subway and you could go to places whenever you want is a beautiful thing that a lotta people don’t really take advantage of, you know, like I come from Miami where I would have to drive three hours away to go to see a band I liked and to come back and go to school the next day and then do it all over again every single day and that was three hours of time and to tell you the truth that’s prolly like eighty bucks I spent on gas getting there. But here I could wake up any morning and go to any show either for free or five dollars or whatever and catch something that could really change my life just by five minutes of like music, inspiration, you know, like you see things out here, like you have no choice and you can’t run away from life here and if you’re about it like how I am and most of the colleagues that I have that really feed off living life seeing things happen. Then this is the city to do it.

Team Genuis photo©Icarus Blake

Why now?

Why now? This… The day actually has a lot of meaning because it’s my mothers birthday and it’ll always be on my mothers birthday regardless and u even if it was a Tuesday night, I’ll do it on a Tuesday night and now is because I’m young and who knows how long I’m gonna be on this earth. (Laughing) To tell you the truth, you know.

Tell me about it. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we conclude the interview?

Just, you know, if you’re down for the old school representing, the real life, you know, awesomeness or what it is to represent for a culture, for art. Come through, let’s have a good time. If you know Teo, if you know Jake, if you know Lance, If you know myself, just, you know, scream out our names and if we hear you, we will give you a shot of whiskey and we’ll have a blast and we’ll make new memories for all of us to live and to remember for the rest of our lives. I love you, Cara Bella loves you, Art Pussy loves you, (collabo!) loves you, Paper Garden Records loves you. Come through, come out. Let’s have some fun.

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