Funk by force: How LMNtlyst gave Pezzettino her groove back
“I don’t think she had an idea we were going to make an album—it just happened.” That, in a nutshell, is the story behind Lub Dub, the new album from accordion-slinging chanteuse Pezzettino (a.k.a. Margaret Stutt) and Milwaukee hip-hop producer LMNtylst (a.k.a. Brandon Birchbauer). LMNtylst approached Pezzettino about collaborating after hearing her funk-tinged single "You Never Know" on Radio Milwaukee; what started out as working on a single track quickly turned into an 11-song album that took both collaborators out of their comfort zones. The A.V. Club spoke with Birchbauer—who’s most celebrated in Milwaukee music circles for his work with The Lab Experiment—about Lub Dub before the record’s release party as part of Mondo Lucha Saturday at Turner Hall.
The A.V. Club: What was your working relationship with Pezzettino like?
Brandon Birchbauer: I tried to push her off the edge a couple times, and I think we found a good balance where everything fit into place. She didn’t really like the funky side of things. I was always trying to do funky bass lines and funky more hip-hop drums, adding weird effects, and she wanted to strip all that stuff off and keep it kind of bare bones—just voice and an instrument or two. I kind of forced her into liking a lot more instruments in a track, I guess.
AVC: If she didn’t like where you were going, why would she work with you?
BB: [Laughs.] I just hit her up, seeing if she wanted to do a quick track or something, see what would happen. I don’t think she thought we’d end up doing an album. But the first time we got together, I had this loop pedal and a bunch of instruments plugged into it, and I’d start something. She’d be like, “Oh this would be nice if the bassline did this, or if something did this or that.” And I just went with her direction and tried to make the track. I think she had a lot of fun doing that, and we just kept getting together and making more songs.
AVC: Do musicians ask you to collaborate with them very often?
BB: Yeah, and instead of doing a one-off track, we’ll just do a whole album. I like to have it all packaged nicely. Usually, I do all the music stuff with all these projects and I just find a vocalist to work with. This is the first project where I’ve had someone do the vocals and do the music, so it’s been interesting doing that. I’m used to being able to call all the shots on the music side, and Margaret’s very particular on what she wants, so that’s been a struggle at times, but I think we’ve come up with something that we both really like and can fit both of our styles.
AVC: Are you looking to hook up with any other Milwaukee musicians?
BB: I consider myself like Danger Mouse a little bit, where he does his hip-hop stuff with Cee-Lo, and he works with The Black Keys and Beck. I would like to follow in his footsteps and just work with whoever inspires me. Actually, Scarring Party, I was thinking for a while about approaching them. They’ve got their own thing though; they probably wouldn’t want to mess around. Kings Go Forth—but they’re all set. I love their stuff, but usually I look for someone that needs a producer. I felt that Margaret needed a producer to focus things a little bit. I want to be involved with the creating of the music.