While on tour in Melbourne, Australia, Brian Fresco of the SaveMoney Collective takes the time out to chat with me about Love Scars, the Trippie Redd/Love Scars coincidence, the SaveMoney Collective and his next project.
Hailing from Chicago, Brian Fresco, born Brian Allen, first released the album Mafioso in 2013 at just around 19 years old. The album features SaveMoney members Towkio, Chance the Rapper, KAMI, Nico Segal, as well as a special appearance by Mama Allen in the Intro. Brian came back in 2017 with Cassanova, featuring the island anthem Higher and the narrative style song Dandelion.
His recent project, released earlier this month entitled Love Scars starts off with the song Had To– a track with this classic hip-hop sound in which Brian showcases his smooth flow. The song Bottles is definitely one to listen to. It’s so unique in style that it’s difficult to find anything similar circulating right now. When it starts, you’re kind of unsure of what’s to come, but around the 20 second mark it picks up, and you find yourself wanting to listen some more. In the previous two albums, we get glimpses of song styles similar to what’s on Love Scars, but in this album we get a full picture. This album differs from the serious tone of the previous two. Love Scars is fun and carefree in sound- almost as if Brian has opened up a little bit more. If you haven’t checked out Love Scars, you should definitely take a listen. There’s no doubt that you’ll be hearing about Brian Fresco a lot more, in part due to the excellence of this project.
You released Love Scars earlier this month. Where did the inspiration for this album come from?
It came from just like me being the person that I am. Like, 2016 was like a very, like roller-coaster year, like very up and down. A lot of downs though, you know what I mean? A lot of like, detrimental like life changing things happened, in 2016, and I’m always a person that’s you know, smiling and what-not, and having fun and happy, you know what I mean? And it’s like, if you look at the cover art it’s me like I got this huge ass smile, I mean it’s me with a huge ass smile, but like the infinite art scheme is like- the problems that I went through- are like on me, so I was like these are the love scars that I have. And I remember when I came up with the name, it was like ‘hey do you know that’s Trippie Redd’ and I was like ‘what?, oh shit, oh well’ and then I, cuz I hadn’t even listened to any of his music yet, and that actually triggered me to listen to it, and now lowkey every time I get into the car, I be playing his song Bust Down.
That’s really cool, so like the fact that you didn’t even know that you like were naming your album after something that Trippie Redd did, caused you to get into Trippie Redd?
Yeah, it did. I was like, man, he’s actually dope now. He’s like one of my favorites right now.
That’s really cool. So about the artwork, you kind of talked about it a little bit, but who designed it?
My homie Edo. He’s this artist from Chicago, he’s really dope. He’s been doing a bunch of dope things for the past few years, and he’s just always been around. Like me and Edo met during a dread-lock photo shoot- dread-lock model photo shoot. Like we were both being models for this girl that does hair, and he was like, ‘yeah yeah you know, I do art’, and then my manager brought him up like months down the line, I was like ‘yeah, I know him. I was at a photo shoot’. And he was like ‘yeah he gonna be dope, he gonna do this’, I was like alright, we checked it out, I talked to him, I heard his ideas, I was like alright, yeah let’s do it and he came back with that- I was like aw yeah, my guy you’re a mastermind we’ll have to keep doing this.
That’s awesome. So like, the other pictures that are on your Instagram that are in the same style as the cover art for Love Scars, were they designed by him too?
Yes, he did all of them. Once he did the album cover he just like started doing you know, single art for the songs that he enjoyed, I feel like, and man he came up with a lot of dope pictures so I was like man, I have to like display these in a creative way so that they all receive the love and recognition that they deserve.
Who produced your album? Was it you? Was it a team of people? Is there anyone that you feel like-
It was a bunch of different producers- but mostly well, really all Chicago guys for the most part like, guys I’ve been knowing over the years like my homies the Swim Team, they did Bottles and Tatted and stuff like that. Those are like my homies, I been knowing them for about 5 years now, as well as Snapback, he did Pull Up and Stay Up and No Worries. He’s a Chicago guy. He’s actually a Treated Crew guy. My manager is in Treated Crew, and I’ve been knowing Snapback for, over five years it feels like. But so you know, you have Thelonious Martin, he did the song with me and Vic- the No Bow Wow Challenge, and my Intro, and he’s of course a SaveMoney guy, but yeah like most of the producers were like, my close friends and like just people that are really Chicago, like I wanted to really embody Chicago with this project. I didn’t really try and go far and ask anybody like, I didn’t want a New York sound, I didn’t want a Los Angeles sound, I didn’t want a Southern sound, you know what I mean? Like, I wanted Chicago, cuz you know, that’s what I am- that’s where I’m from. And I wanted to display that for this one. I felt like this one was gonna get a lot of eyes on it, so I wanted to really display Chicago. I picked, a bunch of Chicago artists that are kind of doing their thing around the city. I picked them to be the features. I could’ve done songs with a bunch of people for this last project but, I picked KAMI, that’s my best friend, he’s been making music with me since about fifth grade. We’ve known each other since second grade. And he’s still you know, consistent, he’s great. And you have Vic, I’ve been knowing Vic since we were like 14, making music, and Twista and like Rockie Fresh, those guys are like just guys we looked up to when we were in high school trying to do it, you know? And it was just- I always wanted to do songs with them you know, so like I put that into [inaudible].
Do you tend to stick to the people that you grew up with when it comes to making music? Are you kind of like-
Mmm, not really. I’m always open to different sounds and people from all over the place. I’m actually in Melbourne, Australia as we speak, it’s like 11am here, and I have a show here today, and I’ve been connecting with like everybody and their music scene. I’ve only been here for three days, but since I’ve been here it’s been like a host of people hitting me up who are from here that do their own creative thing. I was invited to a show the other day- it was really dope. So like yeah, I’m always open to doing things with other people but I do hold my city and my people on a pedestal as well.
So you spoke a little bit about the song Bottles and who produced it, and I personally find Bottles to be so interesting, just because it’s so different from the other songs off of your album, and it’s so different from the other hip-hop or rap songs that are out. How did Bottles come about? Where did that inspiration come from?
Yeah, Bottles was a song that my homie Tee- he’s in the Swim Team, he’s a producer- it was a song that he was working on and he was like, ‘yo this is you- you hear this beat? You need to like do this’, and I was like ‘eh..hmm, I don’t know.’ And then another session I came into the studio and he pushed it again like ‘man you gotta put this on.’ I was like ‘alright let’s do it’, cuz my manager had told me to pipe down and turn that song into a song and I was like alright bet, let me do it, and when I did it I instantly loved the song, like everybody loved the song. My son even loves the song and he’s like 3 years old, so I was like yeah, this song is pretty dope. It has to be. Like everyone is liking it. I actually wasn’t really that um inclined to do it at first cuz I didn’t really like the beat like that.
Wow, and now it’s something that a lot of other people are getting into so-
Yeah, it’s probably like the most talked about song right now.
Yeah, yeah and that’s in part because it is so different from everything else.
So do you have a favorite song off the album?
My favorite song has got to be the Grammy joint because that’s the song with me and KAMI, and it was just like the most personal one besides like the Outro. But like, it was me and my friend that I kinda started everything musically with you know, recreating our sound and we don’t really make many songs together like that because we’re always doing our own things. Like, he’s on tour right now with Taylor and I’m all the way in Australia, but whenever we do get to finally get back in the studio, it’s always just like very organic and fun, and the songs that come from our sessions are always like dope and we always use them. Like me and him have never created a song that we didn’t use. We have never like gotten in the studio and made a song like ‘alright, this ones a throwaway.’ Like it was like nah, every song we made, we’re gonna use it somehow.
So, you’re a part of the SaveMoney Collective, and for people who may not know what that is or who’s in it, do you mind explaining that and also how you came to be a part of that?
The SaveMoney Collective is just a bunch of like friends who just so happened to start making music very well. We’re all just high school friends. Some went to grammar school with each other, like Towkio and Joey- they’ve known each other since like about fourth grade. Vic and Sterling- they’ve known each other since they were kids. I’ve known KAMI since I was a kid. It’s seven of us, you have Chance, Vic, you have Joey, you have Towkio, Sterling, Dally, KAMI, and me, and we all knew each other before music was serious, you know what I mean? Like, we were all friends. Everyone has helped someone, in a fight, have like lent someone money, like we’ve slept in each others rooms, on each others floors, met each others parents, was there for each other when one has lost a parent, lost friends- we’ve lost friends together. It’s like, it’s a lot deeper than just music and that’s how I kinda got into the SaveMoney thing- that’s how everyone got into it. It just kinda happened organically. It’s a bunch of guys that aren’t rappers, or anything creative, that are SaveMoney. They’re just as much of a brother as it is someone who’s making music with me.
So it’s not necessarily just this group of musicians or this group of rappers, it’s also this group of friends, or this group of family, that grew up together.
Yes, we’re a very different group of guys. Diverse. It’s a very diverse group of guys in a city that doesn’t really have much diversity. Chicago is like, very segregated.
So I know that this Love Scars just came out, but are you already starting to plan for your next album? Do you have an idea for the sound that you want it to have and the direction you want it to go in?
Yeah, I’m already working on new music right now. I may do something before the years out that is just the like straight rapping. You know, I mean I just want to like get one of those projects right behind this colorful one. It’s really contingent upon what happens with this one though.
What does that mean? Does that mean like if-
Yeah, if this one gets to a point where it’s like, ok wait, you can’t put out anything else because this one is still going, then you know, I’d wait. But if it’s like yeah, people are loving it, but they can still accept more music right now, like they’re not over saturated, then you know.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Atlanta-based music editor and interviewer who loves the idea of introducing people to great artists they may not have heard of yet.