Student rap trio, Lazy Summer, brings a new sound to Amherst

Their self titled project released last June, and they haven’t slowed down since.


(Jake Porter/UMass Amherst)

Some of the best friendships grow from music, and that is certainly the case with the members of the student rap group, Lazy Summer. Brandon Huddleston, Ian Davis and Warren Charleston, rap under the names of brandohuddle, ian davis and Warren the Alchemist, and are all seniors at UMass. Ian and Brandon have been friends since Freshman year and were introduced to Warren through a mutual friend and rapper, Jordan Tolbert, also known as NliteN. The connection was immediately there, and they started making music together almost a year ago.

Much of their summer was spent here in Amherst, and that’s when Lazy Summer was born. The group spent countless hours in the Presidential apartment producing hazy, yet hard-hitting beats and dropping dope bars. After making a ton of tracks they dropped their first project “Lazy Summer” in June. The music didn’t stop there as they released “Spooky Tapes” just in time for Halloween. The group’s unique, distorted vocals over a diverse array of beats make for a fresh sound. They performed their first show at Lit Amherst in November and said it was an unreal experience. The group has more in store before the semester ends, and want to continue to have fun and meet more people while making music. I sat down with them last week to get a deeper look into the men behind the music.

What initially inspired you guys to make music?

Brandon: I just realized that it was something I could do on my own and that time I was looking up to people like Tyler and Kanye. At first, I was just writing raps when I was like 14 and then I got into production too. So once I really started messing around with beats and realized if people like this, it’s something I can put out.

Ian: I always played piano, trombone and trumpet up until high school, so I always was into making music. For me, the best part is hearing music that I really enjoy and resonate with and then I try to chase sounds like that. Then I try out my own sounds out and hope that other people resonate with it as well.

Warren: I’ve been singing since I was a little kid. Every family event I was always dancing and singing for everybody. I taught myself how to play guitar in high school but I never recorded myself ever until my sophomore year of college and then I just took off.

How did you three come together and decide to start a group?

Brandon: I was actually doing a profile on Jordan Tolbert and was recording him and Warren making music together. Jordan knew I had been making music for a while so he was like “Let’s just all record right now” and we made this crazy track that night. That was the first day we had ever met and so we knew the energy was there and it was special.

What is the music process for Lazy Summer like?

Ian: It always starts out with us linking up and making beats for hours on these synthesizers and then adding melodies and drums. A lot of times we record our lyrics the same day because we always have stuff on hand that’s written. Warren always comes up with the hooks in literally minutes. All the hooks on our two projects came off the top of his head. There’s really not too much thought that goes into it. After two big sessions, we were like “Okay we actually have a catalog going and we can put something together.”

Brando: Working with both Ian and Warren, I know we’re not limited to any sound. Like I can play them the weirdest stuff and they won’t judge me for it. We always take things into different directions which I think makes us very unique.

Can you give us some detail into the two projects you’ve guys have dropped?

Brando: Lazy summer is the centerpiece, we definitely put more energy into it because we had more time. Spooky Tapes, we had been talking about it for a while, but we realized with like a week until Halloween we had to get it done. With Lazy Summer, we really put a lot of energy behind it and made sure it was mixed and mastered properly after going back to it a bunch of times.

Warren: I think energy is the biggest word because when we recorded Spooky Tapes it was grey and rainy out and from that, we had a lot of darker beats and lyrics. That’s definitely what we were going for. With Lazy Summer we were just cruising around in Amherst in beautiful weather listening to the music we made, so it was a completely different feel.

What was it like to perform for the first time at Lit in Downtown Amherst?

Warren: That was so dope. We had our squad and our team show up to support us even when there was a bad snow storm. It was great that people still came out and showed us a lot of hype. We have a different sound and a new wave and people always want to be part of something like that.

What is the toughest part about getting your music out there as local artists?

Brando: Trying to market without being annoying and not trying to spam. I’ve always been someone who’s been like “If you like it, you’ll go to it, and if you’re interested, you’ll go to it.” I don’t wanna have to throw it in your face.

Warren: I think there’s a certain formula to it and I feel like I understand it now, but it requires more time than I have because I have other responsibilities. I think the key is to be consistent with your stuff, like if I dropped a fire track every Friday and that was something people expected, then people would start latching onto the content.

What are some of the best strategies you’ve found when marketing your music?

Warren: There’s a bunch of different ways you can go about it. Looking to the future though, I actually want to do something at the Powerhouse in Amherst College because it’s a dope venue for one and I feel like we could bring in all sorts of artists in there to sell their clothes or artwork. That way more people show up because everyone has their own support groups and that just gets the show more attention. There’s a massive arts scene at UMass that doesn’t get brought into the light nearly as much as it should.

You guys also do a lot of solo stuff too, how does that differ from working with Lazy Summer?

Brando: When I’m making beats by myself I’m kind of just in my own random world and from there I freestyle over it and try to get a flow. Then I’ll write about something I’m going through and make the track. I haven’t had as much time to write though, so my main focus has been Lazy Summer, everything else is on the side right now.

Ian: It’s different because when we record together I feel like I’m always curious to see what direction Warren and Brando go in. I do think when we work together we’re able to kind of try things we wouldn’t do on our own because we know it’ll still work. It’s not like I’m trying to do what Warren would do on a beat, I’m just trying to do what would sound best with Warren. It’s all about complimenting each other with lyrics and vocals.

What does the future hold for Lazy Summer?

Warren: Definitely more music and at least one more project before the semester ends. We’re constantly making music so that hasn’t stopped. Ideally a show at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, they have a lot of local hip-hop artists that perform there. Even after graduation, we’ll still be linking up and making music.

You can find Lazy Summer on SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music and “Spooky Tapes” on Soundcloud as well. All three artists have individual SoundCloud profiles (listed below) where you can also check out their solo work. Stay tuned for their next project and an upcoming show!

Soundcloud Profiles:

Email Oliver at [email protected].

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