Brandyn Bordeaux, who originally performed as the solo project H*Wood, is the MC whose dread-lock flailing, riveting performance style catapulted him to the Billboard Top 40 in 2010 with his song ‘Could it Be You (Punk Rock Chick)’. Bordeaux is the hip-hop vocalist responsible for bringing all of the musical pieces of the band together and now, utilizing the vision of six vibrant souls on one stage, H*Wood has grown into a live hip-hop/EDM fusion band with immense potential. Enjoy our interview with the members of H*Wood below.
How did the members of the band meet and begin writing music and performing together? What is each member’s role within the band, both live and in-studio?
“DJ Five8, Yasi, and myself (Brandyn) all went to high schools in the same neighborhood in Aurora. We began writing music together for my solo album in 2012 with Eddie Fisher. After it’s completion we decided we wanted to recreate the songs with a live band. We held auditions and met Scott in 2013. He then introduced us to Shawn and then we met Joe through a reference from our former publisher. (The first show we all played) together was at the Westword Music Festival last summer in Denver. We have Yasi and myself on melodic and rap vocals, DJ Five8 on synth and samples, Scott on guitar, Shawn on Bass, and Joe on Drums. We all provide the same instruments to our songs in the studio. I write the songs, Joe mixes and Eddie Fisher provides vocal and instrument production.”
What is the significance of the band’s name? Who have you worked with to brand the band and create your image (logos, photos, album artwork, etc)?
“The name H*Wood derives from my old stage name as a solo artist; it represents chasing big dreams. It also has a meaning of light and industry. We worked with Derek Manning, Heather West, Trevor Brown, Fred Marshall, and a few others to help us pull together a clean yet unique brand.”
You are all originally from different locations; how does living in Denver, Colorado compare to each of your individual hometowns? What is the music scene of Denver like?
“I (Brandyn) grew up in the Aurora/Denver area but have also lived in San Diego and Hollywood. The comparison between the Southern California (music scene) is vast in some ways but also very similar. The music scene in Denver is growing rapidly. There has always been a ton of local talent here but over the last few years a lot of the larger music industry companies (have begun investing in the scene).”
Could you tell us about a few of the most exciting or interesting shows the band has been a part of?
“I would say (our) most exciting show this far was at Fox Theater in Boulder. (Fox Theater) is somewhere we’ve always wanted to play and the crowd was amazing and really loved our work.”
What experiences and events influenced the writing and recording of your debut EP “The Elevation”? What was it like working with Eddie Fisher of One Republic on this project? Could you tell us about each of the featured tracks?
“I (Brandyn) wrote ‘Work (Never Settle)’ in 2011 on the roof of my apartment in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. I instantly knew that it was going to be the foundation of this fusion EDM/rock/rap sound I had been working on for awhile. Once the band was set in place and we played it out at our gigs around Denver I could feel the crowds gravitated most to that song, so (when) we decided to record an EP we already had that song in mind. ‘Doubt Kills’ was co-written by myself and a super talented songwriter (and good friend of mine) Amanda Rose Jackson. The concept came from the journey we had been on as band and as individuals. We had to overcome our own self-doubt and the doubt of others to (join) together and pursue our dreams. Working with Eddie in the studio was and always is an amazing experience. He pushed us to another level, which elevated our sound, thus the name “The Elevation” EP.”
“Our visual specialist Adrian Encalada has been with us since last summer filming our shows, rehearsals, studio sessions, photo shoots, etc so in January we decided to use all these hours of footage and create a vlog series of our journey from the beginning to now. The title “Elevision” literally came to me in the shower. We want to inspire and lift people with everything we do as a band so it only made sense to call it that.”
What went into the making of the music videos for the singles you’ve already released (‘Work’, also known as ‘Never Settle’, and ‘Doubt Kills’)? Who did you collaborate with to make these videos and when will they be released?
“Both videos are being worked on as we speak. We’ve reached out to one director who we’d love to work with. We want to keep that under wraps until it’s done so you’ll just have to wait and see (until) April or May.”
Aside from the release of your debut EP and its accompanying music videos, what else does 2015 hold in store for HWood?
“Right now we are putting together an exciting show set and preparing for showcases in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Aside from that we’re putting together a college tour of the west coast and southwestern region. We’ll (be finishing our) our debut album “The Elevation LP” this summer as well. We (make) awesome music and have a great team behind us so our focus for 2015 is to reach as many fans as we can and kill doubt in every city we play in.”