BROCKHAMPTON, THE FIRST DIY BAND

Most boybands are totally overrated, and the fact that most music labels prioritise a group’s look over the music itself doesn’t help either, but this isn’t the case of Brockhampton, because this isn’t your typical boyband. It is a hip-hop group, on top of being an art collective, with thirteen members, who deliver quality content in the musical and visual departments, and everything’s entirely produced by them. It’s hard to believe that these kids, who met on the Internet, and who have no previous experience in the industry, would end up creating one of the most recognisable bands of the moment.

It all started when in 2012 the founder Kevin Abstract –an amateur rapper who used to upload home-made EPs–, from Texas (United States) with only 14 years of age, posted on a Kanye West fan forum this decisive question: “anyone wanna make a band?”. And fortunately, it worked, as two years later the group started to take shape. Rapper Dom McLennon and producer Romil Hemnani from the East Coast joined the band, as well as singer Bearface from Northern Ireland, and the duo of producers called Q3 made up by Kiko Merley from Florida and Jabari Manwa from the Caribbean country of Grenada. 

Other classmates of Kevin, like Ameer Vann –who was later kicked out of the band–, Matt Champion, Russell “Joba” Boring and Merlyn Woods joined the band. The group would receive the name of Brockhampton after the street Kevin used to live in. Over the years, the members decided that if they wanted to do everything by themselves, they’d have to find people to work behind the scenes as well. And that’s how they recruited managers, graphic designers, photographers and art directors. This is their magic formula that delivers quality content while also keeping their DIY essence, without any outside help. 

At that moment, Brockhampton had members in different continents, which is why they moved to a house/studio in Los Angeles. They worked on their music every single day (whilst working day jobs in order to pay the rent) until they became a group that worked like a well-oiled machine, dropping song after, after song, after song. That is where they started to work on the album trilogy called Saturation (2017), and right about the same time, Viceland came knocking on their door. Vice’s TV channel offered to produce a documentary about the beginning of a new and revolutionary boyband that was going to make it without a record label to back them. And that is how they made themselves known to a more mainstream public, right after having become a cult boyband thanks to their original as well as wild self-produced music videos. 

And that is how they accomplished their goal of becoming the first boyband to dominate the industry in their own right, and that didn’t go unnoticed. RCA offered them a 15 million dollar contract which would make them produce six albums in the following three years. But this feat didn’t mean that they had become a sell-out, in fact, it meant that they could have a better quality of production due to the fact that they now had the best resources available to them. And that is how they recorded their latest album, Iridescence (2018), in the iconic Abbey Road studio in London, in just under a month. We’ll have to wait and see what’s next for them, as it’s very obvious that the Brockhampton movement has only just begun.