Braille - conducted by Hugo Lunny  


August 1999

MVRemix: Before you went solo, you were in a group. Can you tell us about that and what you released or worked on?

Braille: Around two years ago I was in a group called Mentors of the Aurora. The group consisted of Me ( by the name of perplex ), ethic, and ill tripp. We put out an underground low quality four track album a little over a year ago. The album got some good attention from places like atak and areas like that. The album was called 'The Unimportantones' and what made it work was the contrast of the different style of the 3 MCs. Basically we had just met each other, all lived in different parts of Oregon (where I was born) and would just meet up every weekend and do songs at ill tripps apartment. We have a brand new 12" coming out this year and hopefully will have an entire album to follow that.

MVRemix: Can you explain the meaning of the name 'Braille'?

Braille: Basically, it's a play with the definition of the word braille. A lot of people hear the word braille and ask "are you blind ?" which really is a strange question to ask considering that braille is 'text for blind people,' not 'blind people.' So basically the term breaks down to, I write my text or songs for blind people. I try and help people understand the things they can't see. This goes in direction towards helping the secular mind understand the concept of God and to aim to inspire minds to pursue God through my text.

MVRemix: Is there any symbolism behind the artwork on your cover?

Braille: When I first started gathering artwork for the album I basically just asked every graph artist I knew to draw me up a little something. Someone in California sent me that piece so we decided to put it on the cover. I can't speak for the artist, cause I don't know exactly what it meant to them, but for me I just logically put things together. You have a half man/ half tree. I look at that as a man of wisdom. Referring to the term " tree of knowledge ", well, the guy on the cover is half man/ half tree of knowledge. It displays him reading the bible which is the producer of his knowledge. Then he has the sun shining down to him, and for that I always like to flip it to son, as in the son of God shining down on him. So basically, a man of wisdom gaining his wisdom from the bible and soaking in the light that GOD shines down on him.

MVRemix: What's your favourite track on 'Life First' and why?

Braille: This question is almost impossible to answer. I remember listening to the album in the car and after hearing each song I would be like "I think this is one of my favourite cuts." Stand out songs for me would definitely have to be 'Ink Blotch,' 'Half The Battle,' 'Hard To Determine,' 'Sentimental Journey,' 'Forgiven Advantage,' 'I Am Who I Hate,' 'Gullet Gambit,' 'Delusive Decorum,' 'Antfarm,' and 'Wait For the Drums.' There really isn't a song on the album that I dislike, but there are songs that do more for me as a whole and songs that I will more model future songs upon.

MVRemix: Though the LP is dope, if you could do it again, would you change anything about it?

Braille: Part of me says yes, and the other part of me says to move on. If you dwell upon something to long you never get past it. If I was to re-do some stuff to make one aspect of the album better, I would end up making another aspect of the album not as good as it was. I mean, maybe the more personal songs like 'Sister Of Change,' 'Homesick' and others aren't going to be fan favourites, but I have had people say that those were their favourite songs on the album, plus there are so many songs on the album that there is plenty of room for me to get everything out.

MVRemix: How did you hook up with Celph Titled?

Braille: Well, I originally met Celph Titled on line, I didn't know he was a producer, all I knew was that he was part of ATAK. I had one album selling in ATAK, plus sent in another that they were going to sell, that I decided to pull. Last year he heard from someone else that I was coming out with a new album so he e-mailed me, told me he makes beats and offered to make me some beats for the album. We talked on the phone, I heard some tracks, and we linked up from that point.

MVRemix: What are you working on currently?

Braille: Hmmm..., I've been doing a lot of stuff lately. I just did some songs for some compilations. One for the 'Tack-Fu' compilation and one for the 'Foolblown' ( ) compilation. My group Mentors of the Aurora just finished a 3 song 12". Another group of mine titled Return to Sender (me and omega) have been working on an album together and it should actually be done being recorded in less then a month. The album is turning out really hot. I met Omega at a hip-hop convention in Florida a little over a month ago, we recorded two songs at his house and the chemistry was great so just this week he flew down to jersey from Florida and we recorded some songs. Had a really productive day in the studio. He's going to fly down a couple more times until we have the album done. I've also been constructing my next album. I've been bouncing between two titles, those being " biodegradable: diSINigrating dominance " or " sign language: symbols in the sky ". The majority of the production as been worked on and it's bangin'. I have a wide variety of producers involved in this project as well, along with many of the same producers from the last album. There are beats with live drums and bass, beats with constant change ups and just a lot more progressive stuff. As for the content I'm going to aim to be more universal as opposed to "Life First," which was personal. What I mean by that is that there will be more people who will be able to grasp the next album, not cause it will be simple but because the themes will be more evident.

MVRemix: Who are your influences?

Braille: Jesus Christ and the bible. Jesus Christ is my purpose for doing this, and the bible is my inspiration for concepts, goals and aims.

MVRemix: What joints are you feeling at the moment?

Braille: Really I try and stay focused on what I'm doing at all times. I can't really afford to buy albums from the store anymore, plus most the time I don't get anything from the majority of hip hop albums. I'm not saying that's a bad thing because the original purpose of hip hop is not to change peoples lives, but that is my personal preference as of content. I mostly enjoy listening to people I'm involved with. All the people that I collaborate with are just artists that I was a fan of and was feeling or they were a fan of mine and was feeling me so we hooked up after approaching one another. I listen to Lab Klik, The Unction, Oldominion, Ethic, Elucid, Deeskee's beat tape, the Pride, Sev Statik, Storm and basically anyone listed in Delusive Decorum.

MVRemix: What sets you apart from other MCs?

Braille: The fact that I'm Bryan Winchester. Just the fact that I write about my own personal life which is unique to the events consisted with in it. As an individual person, the individuality in me shines in my music. I'm set apart from other MCs just by being my self, as they are set apart from be by being their self.

MVRemix: How did you first get into Hip Hop?

Braille: I always listened to it as a kid but spent most of my creative time playing sports. Then my family moved to a different part of Oregon and so I wasn't involved with any teams anymore so I started spending the time I spent on sports, on rhyming. I had a karaoke machine and I would just rock over other people's instrumentals and mess around. This was around the age of 13-14. I was really dedicated to it, the same way people play sports every day and work on improving their game, I would record myself on the karaoke every day improving my skills, sometimes recording 60 minutes worth of me flowing the same verses over and over again in one day.

MVRemix: What did you like about the music?

Braille: First of all, it was something I could listen to know matter what I was doing. Second of all, it was the easiest kind of music to get started in. I didn't need to form a band or anything, all I needed was a pen, paper and a beat.

MVRemix: Are you involved in any of the other elements of Hip Hop?

Braille: I'd be a DJ, but every time I touch records they melt. I'd be a b-boy, but all my pants fall down without a belt. I'd do graph, but paint cans give off toxins that are harmful for me to smell. Ahhh, I like to keep all my focus in one direction, yet I enjoy watching people who put their focus into different elements then the one I choose to.

MVRemix: What do you think of all the fragmentation within the Hip Hop industry? i.e. The separation of mainstream/underground/international etc.

Braille: I have a lot of my own theories on this whole thing. Each section has a problem. The mainstream knows how to make quality music, yet many are afraid to do anything new lyrically. The underground hates the mainstream so they try and do everything opposite from them, when in fact the mainstream doesn't have everything wrong. I don't feel most mainstream beats, but the formula used to make them is good. A lot of underground tracks don't have bass lines, don't have progressions, and aren't looped clean. The mainstream knows how to make quality music, but they really don't aim for my preference in sound. I think the underground many times spends to much time putting down the mainstream and trying to be different from the mainstream. If everyone would just be themselves and quit putting their music in a category everyone would be happy. As for international, it's understandable that the music coming from it is separated from other styles of hip hop because many people can't get used to the language differences. It's good that people are doing their thing all over the world, but it's hard for people to listen to music done in a language they can't understand. That's why it's hard to unite the three sections you brang up. If I listen to a French MC I won't be able to tell if I'm feeling him, plus, although it would be interesting to hear a collaboration would be hard to work out. It's hard for me to collaborate with mainstream MCs cause that costs money and it's hard for me to collaborate with underground MCs cause a lot of them have big heads. In order for hip hop to grow though there has to be different sections so that different aspects are able to be looked upon in depth and find ways to expand. Eventually we will find the 'one size fits all' even though I'm sure no one else thinks that's possible.

MVRemix: How do you feel about Online Hip Hop?

It's a definite plus. Free information, a free place to advertise. It has done so much for independent hip-hop. If it wasn't for the Internet I would only be known in Oregon and Jersey, maybe a little bit in Seattle, California and Philly, but then again if it wasn't for the Internet I would have never met the majority of the producers I work with.

MVRemix: Any last words you would like to say for the fans?

I have fans? Well, if I do I would rather refer to them as friends. I know that sounds corny but for the most part with independent music you only have so many people checking for your stuff and it gets to the point where you know all those people personally. Plus I like to be very open to the listener, so that by the time they are done peeping my album, they know me. So my last words would just have to be about the album. Everyone reading this, look for the album. 'Life First: Half The Battle.' Available at,,,,,,, It may take awhile for the CD to appear in some of these stores, but these are the ones so far that have been locked down. Also, you can go to most any store and request the CD. We are distributed through Valley Media so in a couple of weeks would should be in most music stores catalogues. I thank all for the support and appreciate your time. Feel free to hit me up at

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"I try and stay focused on what I'm doing at all times. I can't really afford to buy albums from the store anymore, plus most the time I don't get anything from the majority of hip hop albums."