“Have you heard of Brockhampton?” is probably a question you’ve heard many times throughout 2017, and it’s only going to be asked more and more throughout 2018. In a span of about 6 months, they managed to release three full-length albums, a CD of demos, a documentary, a short film, multiple rounds of original merch designs, and a nationwide tour. They are currently on their second US tour, which kicked off in Dallas on January 16th, with their fourth album, Team Effort, and a full-length movie on the way, as well as several festival performances at Coachella and Governors Ball among others.
As you can see from their long list of accomplishments thus far, BROCKHAMPTON is a boy band with an incredible work ethic. Consisting of about 15 core members, each with different responsibilities and creative talents, they’re able to consistently create compelling content that only seems to improve as the group matures. Rounding up a large group of talented individuals isn’t enough though, and part of their ability to work so efficiently can be attributed to Kevin Abstract, who sort of serves as the groups leader.
When they decided to announce that SATURATION was releasing in a month, back in May 2017, they had zero material completed, they had yet to begin. They announced it to put pressure on themselves, essentially forcing themselves to make the album in a month, although they always had the safety net of being able to push back the release date given that they’re an independent boyband. They set a strict work schedule for themselves, making music on weekdays, and then recording a music video on weekends to have it posted to YouTube by Tuesday night, creating a consistent workflow.
They put a lot of thought into everything that they do, including merch. Shortly before the release of SATURATION III, they put up pre-orders for a box set on their website, which included CD’s of all the SATURATION albums, a demos CD with 20 tracks, a DVD of the documentary, a poster, a small photobook, and a random trading card of one of the members. All of this was more than enough to compel fans to buy one, and they had them shipped out just in time for Christmas, but it still managed to surpass expectations with its intricate packaging.
Abstract’s solo career has given him a lot of valuable experience that he’s been passing on to the rest of the group, and he’s also the creative force guiding the group through their creative explorations. In their “SATURATION” documentary, Kevin can be seen in action explaining his thoughts. During the creation of the first SATURATION album, it was clear to Kevin that they were trying out a variety of different styles, and they would not flow well together on the same project unless their transitions were impeccable, and they had a good balance of each sound, so instead of shooting the ideas down and focusing on one style, he encouraged the group to work towards making it work.
In the documentary he’s also seen directing the music videos, explaining to each individual person in the scene exactly what he wants them to do, going so far as to act it out himself as an example. Kevin also describes precisely how and where he wants the camera to pan and move throughout the scene, essentially directing every aspect of the videos.
Without Kevin’s guidance, they would be a boyband with a lot of members but with no real direction, but he’s able to make such a large group work incredibly efficiently. But more so than just that, every single member is an incredibly motivated individual, and they put in a ton of work every single day. Living together in a house facilitates the whole process.
Romil will create beats before Kevin, Ameer, Matt, Merlyn, Dom, and JOBA pack into his room and record while Ashlan films. Jabari and Kiko who make up Q3 will be in another room producing more beats, HK designs merch and other graphics, and Robert works on their website and app. Other members such as bearface contribute to production when they can, and lastly, JOBA mixes and masters the whole project before releasing it. A few more revolving members will take up some other duties as well, and still join the rest of the group to assist with things such as working the merch tables.
Watching the documentary, it’s clear how much easier the whole process became for them as they recorded more and more, and by the time SATURATION III was in the works, they worked like a well-oiled machine. They worked well into the night, and it seemed like they never stopped, someone, somewhere in the house was working no matter what.
Having everyone involved in the whole process including touring creates a strong bond between all the members. This has also contributed to their success greatly, they act as one unit, a boyband that wants to succeed and create the best music that they possibly can. During a Beats1 review, Zane Lowe asked what they would do once everyone “grows up” and starts forming families. Kevin said, “so we just get a really big house” and the rest of the group cheered in agreement.