Hailing from Miami Florida, the songwriting and music production group, The Track Burnaz is destined for greatness. After meeting each other in high school, the trio (Ruben Raymond, JB, Briggs) came together as a team in 2008 and have since collaborated with a list of artists and producers including Future, Big Sean, Antonique Smith, Steph Lecor, Detail, Sidney Swift, Zoey Dollaz, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins and more. Now based in Los Angeles, The Track Burnaz are carving their own lane by releasing music as a group starting with their debut EP, MIA 2 LAX and now, their debut LP, Glory which debuted at #17 on the iTunes R&B/Soul Chart.
Can you guys give me and our readers a debrief of how your trio formed and how each of you got into music?
Ruben: Personally, I was always into music and my family was very supportive of my interest in it. I can’t even remember a period in my childhood when I wasn’t trying to learn my favorite songs on an instrument. With that said, I was always involved in band at school and most people knew me for playing piano and one day, in 10th grade or 11th grade, a mutual friend introduced me to JB and told me that he made beats. We’ve been working ever since. About a year or two later, Briggs joined the equation because he was always writing at lunch and as always, producers need writers so we started creating and demoing as a trio around 2008.
JB: I accidentally got into music around 10th grade in Daytona Beach, FL. My neighbor was making beats on his PS1 and I was instantly hooked. Yea I made beats on a Play Station! I learned FL Studios shortly after however, best decision. I moved back to Miami to expand & met Ruben. We made a lot of beats separately for a few artist in school while Briggs wrote for/with those artist, until we finally became a collective. A few failed names later & we had “The Track Burnaz”
Briggs: I remember we met in school and were all in to music. By the time I “officially” joined them the track burnaz name was already established. As to how I got into music, I remember being into music at a really young age listening to hip hop on my Tazmanian Devil tape player. I would listen to a lot of hip hop while catching the bus to my grandmother’s house with my older brother or in his car with his 12 inch system and blasting it as loud as I possibly could.
What was it like for y’all coming up in the Miami scene?
Ruben: As a musician and aspiring producer, it was exciting. Being from South Florida there were so many native writers and producers whose rise really motivated us to pursue music as a career. Talents such as The Diaz Brothers, Jim Jonsin, Cool & Dre, Bigg D, and The Monsters & The Strangers really made the dream of doing music full time seem attainable. From the smooth guitar in “Rodeo” by Juvenile to the Crazy Train sample in “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy. The latin rhythms in “Culo” by Pitbull to the Benassi assisted production on “Move, Shake, Drop” by DJ Laz. The moving strings on “Emotional” by Casely to the beat and hook of “Grind On Me” by Pretty Ricky were either produced or written by SoFlo creatives breaking out in the early to mid 2000’s. As a music lover in Florida it was most definitely a special era to watch rise as I was growing musically.
Briggs: It was cool. It’s still a growing scene really some of their circles are kind of small and hard to get into but it’s evolving.
You guys recently moved to Los Angeles, how has the city been treating you?
Ruben: Los Angeles is a living lesson. In every other session there always seems to be personal stories told that allude to either how constructive or deconstructive LA can become to creatives moving up the proverbial ladder to what they deem as great success. For that alone, I’ll say it has treated us well because there’s so much experience and wisdom I have gained through working and listening to the melting pot of creative people here.
It is very competitive, and because of that, Los Angeles has most definitely helped us grow creatively just by being around so many talents. Just being able to collaborate with different songwriters/producers and hearing how they interpret music is enough to inspire us and open our ears to new ways to create music.
Briggs: I love it here although honestly this is not a city where it’s easy to “make it”. It’s expensive. There’s a lot of talent out here and it’s Hollywood so all the best come here to break into the music industry.
When did you notice The Track Burnaz started gaining some traction?
Ruben: After Zoey Dollaz released “Bad Tings”, for sure. That was the first time people started really appreciating the sonics and 808’s of our beats. Sometimes all it takes is one artist to take a chance with your sound, for others to start opening up to it.
Briggs: Well I realized we started gaining traction back home when the calls started coming in. Bad Tings was playing all over the radio and they were telling me how they were hearing our names mentioned in these studios.
Can you tell us about how you came to work with Big Sean on his song ‘Inspire Me’?
Briggs: A producer/engineer friend from back home named Sidney Swift and Detail who were working on records with Big Sean for his project.
You also produced a track for Future, how did that come to be?
JB: Collaborating. I had sent a beat folder we were working on to Sidney Swift (Lil Dicky, Big Sean) who frequently works w Detail (Beyoncé, Future) & the rest is history.
Your independent debut LP debuted #17 on the iTunes R&B/Soul Chart, how did that feel?
Ruben: While that was absolutely a big milestone for us, during the release of the project Hurricane Irma hit Florida so we were more focused on our families back in Miami at the time. With that said, it was our first time being on the iTunes charts as artist and we thank and love everyone in our city that still took the time to purchase and stream Glory LP during the storm.
Can you describe your sound for readers who may not have heard your music before?
JB: It’s evolving, that’s for sure. Like Mike Will or Metro our sound is definitely ‘808-driven’ but w all due respect – theirs don’t sound like ours. There’s a handcrafted uniqueness to our 808s.
Any important lessons you’ve learned from your journey as an artist?
Briggs: That it’s a way different side of the industry than the songwriting/production side. I have a new respect for the artist because they have to make sure more is on point than music.
What were the keys to your groups growth?
Ruben: I think just wanting to grow, period, is the ultimate key. Once you desire to grow you kind of just respect the process of whatever journey you’re on failures and all.
JB: Putting ourselves in very uncomfortable situations. I’d say the biggest being the decision to leave Miami to chase this LA dream. That was huge for growth – a new level of commitment.
Do any of you have dreams and goals in life that go beyond music?
Ruben: Honestly, to the core of me is creativity so my goal is to keep using my creative energy in everything that I do. God willing, I’ll someday be able to do two things: open a youth community center in South Florida that teaches all arts for free to kids in the community & open a shelter/program that caters to the homeless in Broward County.
Briggs: Absolutely, I’d like to own different businesses. Hopefully some properties as well. Stuff that’s going to give me residual income.
Beyond music, what is important to you individually?
Ruben: God, Family, and serving the community however I can.
Briggs: God, Family, friends, happiness. The feeling of accomplishment. Basically it’s important for me to actually have a life beyond music.
What is the best advice you’ve has ever gotten?
JB: “always be aware of the room” a rapper once told me in session at Capital Records. As a producer this is key for the success of a song. You’re a director in a room w (usually) so many personalities – it can be a challenge.
What’s next for The Track Burnaz? Any big plans for 2018?
JB: Yea, keep expanding the ‘Track Burnaz’ brand. From selling merch to putting on our first ever show. There’s so much room for us to grow outside of creating music. The future’s bright.