For those who don’t know, Brandon Allday and Medium Zach are Big Quarters and have put out one of the finest releases this year with their sophomore effort, “From The Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers.” Speaking of the effort, Zach mentioned, “This upcoming August 5th will mark the 12th month since my brother and I have been releasing 5 songs a month. For $5/month, we send out 5 new/unreleased songs – including new Big Quarters songs, instrumentals, and tracks we’ve produced for other artists – through BQDirect. This is how “From the Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers” came to be.” And what came to be is a sonically enriched and very personal reflection on the brothers Baagason who make music that speaks to their daily experiences. Here at Potholes, I was able to talk with Brandon Allday and Medium Zach and in this entry, they go over track by track through the album and its creation.
1. Newborn – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect:September
Zach: I made this beat on Benzilla’s ASR-10 during a gathering at his house, put it on a disk, and forgot about it for a while. Last summer, I gave the beat to Mike Mictlan & Sims of Doomtree and they asked me if I wanted to do a verse with them on it. I wrote one up real quick and I suggested that we have Brandon on it too. Doomtree went on tour so we didn’t get around to recording it with them – Brandon put the scratches on. I’m still happy with how this one turned out.
2. Barter System – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect:September
Zach: Brandon suggested we do a song about bartering. He came up with the hook too. We made a video for this about a week after we recorded the song and it’s the first video I storyboarded & edited myself.
3. Protection – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: September
Zach: In the spring of ’07, right before we released our debut “Cost of Living”, our friend Oren asked us to take part in a Bob Dylan tribute show. We picked the song “I shall be released” and we used his lyrics for the chorus. Our original version of “protection” sampled Bob’s song and was much slower.
4. All Day Long – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: October
Brandon: It’s a true story, one of the few songs I wrote in one sitting. Zach didn’t really like the original beat I was writing to, so he updated it.
Zach: Listeners might assume that I didn’t do any vocals on this song but I sang in falsetto on it so, any part that sounds like it’s high pitched strings, that’s me singing.
6. Blessed – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: February
Zach: I put together this song in an hour before we put it out. The beat is just a 2track mix out of the ASR-10.
Brandon: This is one of my favorite songs on the album – and I didn’t hear any of it until it was done and recorded.
7. Prom Mrs. ft. Mankwe Ndosi - produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: February
Zach: I made this beat originally for a battle I had with Lazerbeak. Mankwe and I are both singing lyrics from the original sample. I produced an EP with Mankwe in the month leading up to our album release called “Do-Gooders’ Blues”
8. One On the Lip – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: December
Zach: This song is one of two we had made with P.O.S for BQDirect: December. My verse mainly describes a day in my life during the summer before my freshman year of high school.
Zach: Mux and I worked together at Discount Video in Minneapolis. in the last 5 months it was open, we would sit up there and while one of us worked the register, the other would be going thru VHS movies looking for sounds and sampling them to a laptop. This beat was made from videos.
Zach: Brandon emailed me this beat. In 15 minutes, I had written and recorded a chorus to it and sent it back to him. I put a verse on it too, but later took myself off it.
11. Good Look – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: November
Brandon: When I recorded my verse for this song, I had no idea of all the layers and arrangements zach was going to do. He came up with the chorus and concept. Needless to say, I was impressed. The last time he surprised me like that was our song “Lou Diamond”.
Zach: “Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers” & “It’s not grinding if it don’t feel like punishment” are both quotes from Brandon’s verses on “everyday” off Cost of Living. Video for this song coming soon.
12. Can’t Wont – produced by Medium Zach
Zach: This beat was made for a battle I had with Big Cats @ Last of the Record Buyers. We challenged each other a month prior to an “original” battle where we couldn’t sample records but not only that, we had to sample things we recorded ourselves, and it had to be stuff we recorded in the month leading up to the battle.
13. Free Shipping – produced by Medium Zach / BQDirect: October
Zach: I sampled a recording of Noam the Drummer (Famfeud) for the drums and we recorded the lyrics over just drums. I tried a bunch of things for the melody (mouth harp, synths, etc) but it all sounded terrible. I then noticed I had recorded a song into the session from a record I Self Devine gave me and after some chopping, it worked perfectly.
So that is “From The Home of Brown Babies & White Mothers” in a nutshell. Zach also adds, “We deliver BQDirect to your inbox every 5th of the month and you can subscribe @ bigquarters.com. Also, “BQDirect: May” came out the same day as “Brown Babies” so when you order the album from us online, you get BQDirect: May for free.” So you know what to do. Once again, thanks to Medium Zach & Brandon Allday!