The music business has changed. They always say that change is inevitable, and they’re right. You can however, rely on artists to speak out in a loud voice, challenging whatever ills society may be accepting. The loudest of these voices has often been punk music. The swinging voice has been that of funk and when you mix these combinations the result is Fishbone, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or most recently…LABrownies. More than five years of hard work and talent has led the band into the forefront of the Southern California music scene. Recordings with Grammy-award winning producers, slick videos with well known directors, and scores of fans have cemented LABrownies as a staple of the LA scene. Their secret weapon is guitarist Daniel Hernandez.
If Austin, Texas is a guitar slinger’s town then Los Angeles is a band guitarist’s town. Don’t forget that LA produced technical and sonic ground breaking guitar wizards like Eddie Van Halen and Tom Morello, still…Los Angeles has traditionally produced guitarists that are “song-centered” ranging from Frank Zappa to Bradley Nowell to Lindsey Buckingham…but always with a dash of Randy Rhoads. Southern California guitarists require lots of attitude and ability, which is often kept in reserve until just the right moment. Daniel Hernandez was the perfect fit for LABrownies. Vocalist & Bassist for LABrownies, Krishna Katukota confirms, “Daniel’s hard work ethic and attention to detail have helped me to launch the label and enabled the band to achieve great success. None of this would have been possible without him. He is a part of that legacy.” Drummer Michael Delgado echoes this praise stating, “My experience creating an album with Daniel was nothing less than amazing. Daniel has a natural gift. Creating an album is no easy task, it takes time and money. The success of the two LABrownies albums allowed us to produce six videos to accompany the hits, with celebrated filmmaker Dylan Avery.” Avery is no stranger to controversy as exhibited with his series “Loose Change” and work with Discovery Channel, musician Wes Davis, and actor Alec Baldwin. Working with such a recognized and respected film producer was an achievement in itself. Dylan was happy to work with the loud and unapologetic LABrownies to create a series of music videos. The filmmaker was particularly taken with Hernandez’s presence on camera as well as his professionalism noting, “I shot seven music videos with LABrownies and Daniel gave it his all during every shoot. Daniel is the LABrownies Shavo Odadijian (Bassist for System of a Down). He commands attention both on stage and off. Days on set can sometimes be long and performers can lose their gas, but Daniel was always ready for more. That kind of attitude and professionalism shows you who really wants it. He shreds through solos and does multiple takes without batting an eye. Daniel is always fun to hang out with and I consider him both a professional contact and a friend.” The most current of the Avery videos is “Pay to Play.” An obvious statement about the financial situation of LA Bands (filmed partially at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip). The fact that LA Brownies has succeeded in this environment is a major accomplishment. The video for “iFormer” boasts a slick look, sets, and multi camera shoot that is indicative of the upper echelon in which the band finds itself. A recent nod to the “Don’t Sleep” video got a pre-nomination as Best Music Video by the Artist in Music Awards. Daniel takes an interest in music videos just as he does with LA Brownies music. Hernandez recalls, “Due to my studies and experiences on set, I have some knowledge about shots, camera angles, lighting, etc. This helps throughout the development of the story and concept of our videos. I found myself as a middle man between the band and Dylan [Avery, Director], between the music and the picture. When we did the video for ‘Takeover Makeover’ he [Avery] did a first set of shoots and then came to me asking ‘Danny, what do you think?’ Dylan understands the band, the music, and the message so it was a real sense of pride for me that he took my input with confidence.”
LABrownies simultaneously released two recordings Citizens United & #Deuce. These were produced and mixed by (Grammy Award Recipient) Producer/Engineer/Musician/Educator Darryl Swann. Swann is well known for his work with the famed production team of LA and Babyface as well as his association with artists such as; Macy Gray, Mos Def, the Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, and many others. As a producer and engineer closely associated with legendary producer Rick Rubin, Darryl has made a career out of noticing talent that has both merit and growth potential. It was Hernandez who first captured Swann’s attention and led to his role as a producer and engineer on the LABrownies recordings. Swann comments, “Daniel is a dedicated music professional. I had the pleasure of producing and mixing his band’s recordings. We had a compelling experience making the record.” In fact, the experience so impressed Swann that he, “asked Daniel to partner with me on subsequent projects.” Darryl Swan has created music for MTV, NBC, and advertisers like; Pepsi, Honda, Motorola, and Apple; being asked to partner with such an established musician and producer is a major accomplishment and a step towards being ingrained in the LA music fabric.
It seems that LABrownies never rests. It comes as no surprise the band is already at work on their next record, tentatively entitled Maybe. While the group is known for blending hard rock, punk, and soul influences, they hope to take it even further with Maybe. Daniel reveals, “I’ve had to go for a very specific tone because of the nature of the new material. It varies from Bossa Nova, to Swing, to Metal/Rock. We’ve been working really hard on the songs, arrangements, and harmonies to make things sound amazing.” In addition to all of his accomplishments with LABrownies, Hernandez is also working on a progressive metal project called HAROS whose first recording 100 Years will be released in late summer 2016. Daniel is also involved in multiple film projects both in scoring and as an engineer. If you didn’t know better, you might think that LABrownies award-nominated video “Don’t Sleep” was inspired by their guitarist’s tenacious work ethic.
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