Brasi & The Mashups: The Party and the Codes
Written by Rob Smittix on April 29, 2021
Brasi & The Mashup is a new project led by Alex “Brasi” Hyatt but including an array of artists and musicians. The latest release End of the Party- The Story of the Codes is what Brasi and I will be discussing today.
RRX: So, this project is a combination of a full-length album of original music and a book to coincide. This must’ve been a lot of work. Did the story come to you first and then the music? Or did you write the story and the music simultaneously?
BH: I wrote the bass part and outline for (title track) “End of the Party” in 2016. I wasn’t in a band, I was down in the dumps, and I was already thinking a lot about sustainability and climate change as some kind of project seed. I was also getting into the Shooter Jennings band Hierophant, right around the same time, and their storyline album Black Ribbons inspired the formative theme. Every musician alive needs to hear that Black Ribbons record. You will thank me later.
As far as the book, I’ve been writing fiction my whole life, starting in third grade. After writing the title track “End of the Party” like I explained, I started considering if I could make a storyline album, and then combine it with other media in a new way. The idea for a “love rack” plot placed over a post-apocalyptic environment with a space travel component came to me over a couple of whiskeys.
So, I started writing the outline and recording the record in late 2018. About halfway through the album, I finished the short story, arranging for art, working new side jobs to pay for this and I started laying out the book.
This is truly a collaborative regional project, produced by regional people from A to Z. It’s even being printed at Snyder Printer in Troy. I’ve not taken on a bigger project in my life. I went all in on a few levels. I’m proud of it!
RRX: So, without giving too much away can you give us a rough synopsis of what this project is about?
BH: The book is a 32-page coffee table style piece, and along with it the storyline album, interweaves a full story about two people who are challenged by major events in their lives. Together, they do their best to deal with them. In the case of End of the Party, it’s a humanity-saving mission to another star system, a plan being opposed by wealthy billionaires who robbed the earth of its resources.
The book and album each stand on their own, but you’ll get the inside jokes if you take time to experience both. The album is 50 minutes long with 19 original tracks, and the book takes about 30 minutes to read. Not a bad deal for $25.
RRX: So obviously you had some help from others to achieve this wonderful final project. Who else was involved?
BH: The people that helped and supported my efforts made this possible and I could not have done it by myself. I am very grateful for the team. The album would not be nearly what it is without them, especially Tom Case and Katy Ashe. I am all about thanking everyone as much as possibly I can. My art is stronger when it’s collaborative. No doubt.
Collectively, we’re known as Brasi & The Mashup. Executive Producer: Brasi/SkyFlight Records Tom Case/Brasi Hyatt: Producers, Katy Ashe, Bill Frandino Co-Producers, Jeff Britton Engineer, drums, Dave Graham wrote and performed a song, Jason Irwin played some guitar and plays Jason Cash, Jesse (drums) and Jacob Hyatt (bass), Damian Parinello (bass, drums, guitar), and beatmakers AbSynapse and Oreox4 all contributed.
In couple cases, artists and I spoke about a theme, and they submitted a song, and we worked to hit on the themes I’d written for the record. Dave Graham’s “Love is Why” was so great I didn’t touch it except for some mix things, and we altered some lyrics. I didn’t even sing a verse, like we planned. Tom and I listened and were like “why would I mess with that?” It’s a great song. Thanks Dave!
RRX: I have listened to this album on repeat and I strongly advise others to listen all the way through the first time because a story is unraveling. What I enjoyed was how each and every song had their own unique styles but blended very well together.
BH: It’s a mix, a mashup of media and styles and people. We don’t commit to just one musical direction because there is no real music genre, that’s something record companies make up, and people involved all love a whole cross-section of what’s out there. Rock, reggae, rap, urban, country Americana as well as EDM, all show their faces on the record. It’s tribute to the spirit of the musicians involved, truly a team of all-stars.
RRX: I noticed you have a few videos put together already. Can you elaborate on the production that went into these visually stimulating videos and who else was involved?
BH: I am a multimedia/creative type in the real world. I write and direct the music videos for The Mashup. I’m big on production quality, and I know my own limitations, so lots of times I get my friends to chip in on the filming.
As a director, I had a great artist do some of the animation and illustration I planned for the record, her name is Angel Huang. She created about ten digital drawings for the book, and using digital trickery, we animated her work sessions. I wanted ships, sci-fi stylings, and space, and she delivered.
There are two posters in the book designed by space program students at CalTech, as part of a NASA grant they received. I got official permission to use the posters and those are great fun.
For the “Last Time I Saw Your Face” video featuring Katy Ashe, I wrote the script, but hired my buddy Jason Irwin to shoot the “big shot.” We directed and edited that video as a team.
RRX: So where do we go from here?
BH: Lots of new Mashup videos, and maybe an entry into a podcast or something to occupy my time now that this beast is releasing. I’ll have a lot more time on my hands.
Katy and I are talking about scheduling live Mashup shows, and the core of the group wants to do some, but we’re going to let COVID play out. I’m hoping for a regional theater show in September with rear projection in a big room, artsy vibe, and depending on that, we’ll see.
The next record is already underway, and it’s an EP tentatively titled More Songs to Whet Your Apathy. I have one song recorded – a cover by Middle Class Rut called “Busy Being Born.” And I just wrote a song last week called “New Song for Lovers.” My band Flakjacket is also recording a new album at some point.
RRX: Please let everyone know where they can pick up End of the Party- The Story of the Codes.
BH: Right now, the only way to listen to this album is to buy it from the band, or watch our videos on YouTube. I’m not in a hurry to put this up digitally on channels that don’t let me control the content I made. Those $42 annual royalty checks from Spotify aren’t cutting it.