When it comes to MN music duos, few are scaling the scene quicker than rap/vocal team Dave Velk and Brea Scow.
Between Scow's industry-grade vocals and Velk's electric stage persona, the two are carving out a lane in MN's fast-growing music highway.
Originally a comedian, Velk ventured into music after the pandemic first hit. In search of feminine vocals to contrast his pensive style of rap, Velk put out a Facebook ad for a female vocalist: the rest is history.
Since then, the two have churned out a dizzying array of work, curating tracks for any and every vibe imaginable.
Velk has also leveraged his success into a growing catalog of shows, namely a monthly comedy/rap showcase at Spring Street Tavern in Northeast.
With that, it's time to see how these two co-workers ditched their respective cubicles for the studio...
How did you two first meet?
Velk: Before the pandemic, I was actually a stand-up comedian. However, once all the comedy open mics got shut down, I knew I needed an outlet to keep my creativity sharp: Enter hip-hop. Around that same time, I put out a Facebook ad for a female vocalist and Brea was one of the first people to hit me up. We met up, she auditioned for me, and instantly I knew I'd found what I was looking for. It's been full-go ever since.
Brea: During the pandemic, I had just moved to Minneapolis and was living in a studio by myself. I come from a choir background but after high school, I wasn't doing anything related to music. So when I saw Dave's ad I remember thinking, 'Oh shit, this could be really fun!'. Our meeting went really well; everything was organic and we just clicked creatively. Leaving the studio that day, I ended up getting the gig to feature on ‘Could Be Worse’, which is now one of our more popular songs. Since then, we've just been delving deeper and deeper into our chemistry with each project we do.
How has your guys' chemistry evolved since you first started collaborating?
Scow: I think just the amount of time we’ve spent together has tailored our unique styles together in a way that seamlessly blends them while still highlighting our individual strengths on a track.
Velk: I think one of the main things I've realized is the shorthand we have with each other as performers. Just being able to read each other's body language and tempo when we're onstage so it always feels organic and fluid, even if our vocals are intersecting; it's a huge advantage as collaborators to have that sort of timing and rhythm.
Brea, I know you've delved into music production. What about sound production draws you to it as an art form?
Scow: Coming from a corporate design background, I was familiar with computers enough to where producing my own music from the ground up was always really appealing to me. Once I connected with Dave and saw how Ableton worked, I've been hooked on teaching myself production. As an independent artist, building that skill has been extremely fulfilling.
Dave, coming from a comedy background, how would you break down the Venn diagram between rap and stand-up comedy?
Velk: I think both communities ultimately are just looking to connect with audiences through their wordplay and delivery. Comedy has always been about being vulnerable, whereas rap has only recently started moving into that. I love hosting these hybrid shows because they really help unite different creatives in a way that celebrates their unique crafts while also emphasizing the inherent similarities between them. Eventually, I'd love to have comedians hopping on beats while rappers do acapella roasts; we'll just have to see what happens...
How would you compare the monotony of a day-to-day job to the struggles of being an independent artist?
Velk: I think for me it’s about the fact that for music, there’s no blueprint. When I was a salesman, I’m trying to hit the numbers that they were giving me. It’s very on the rails. As a musician, I’m leaning on my intuition to make decisions. It's infinitely more freeing to create your own success as opposed to riding the coattails of someone else's.
Scow: Though I'm certainly grateful to be doing music now, there are definitely some lessons from the corporate world that I've used to my advantage in music; things like organization, time management, etc. have really helped me, especially as a producer. Like Dave said though, I'd much rather engage with my own dreams than work for somebody else's.
What's your unfiltered take on the Minneapolis music scene? Is the arrow pointing up or down?
Velk: I think if we have a hand in it, it's going up. I know that sounds conceited, but I bring a fierce positivity to everything I do. I’m also not telling anybody what to do. One of the real shifts I’ve seen in the music community here is how we’ve started lifting each other up rather than tearing each other down. Not only is there more than enough room at the top, but the more we lift each other up, the quicker we’ll get there; that’s great not only for Minneapolis, but for Minnesota music as a whole.
Scow: I'd agree. Though I'm somewhat new to the scene myself, I've loved finding the community that I have through music and I'm excited to see how it evolves as I delve deeper into it. Though I've found a lot of great people to hone my craft with, I think I've only scratched the surface of what this scene has to offer.
With MN Hip-Hop on the rise, expect to see a lot more of this duo very soon...how soon? Catch Dave and Brea performing tonight at the Pourhouse downtown!
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