BROCKHAMPTON spoke to HYPEBEAST China for the latest installment of Manual Exposure, diving into their explosive hair colors for ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE, their creative process as a group and life during the pandemic with their puppies.
Shot by Ashlan Grey, Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, JOBA, Jabari Manwa, Dom McLennon, Merlyn Wood, Romil Hemnani and Berface each put their trust on a disposable camera as they discussed how their assorted hair colors came about. Matt revealed that it was Kevin’s (they affectionally call him Ian, his legal name) idea, “I was in the garage with him when he was about to get his hair dyed and he said, ‘Man, we should all color our hair multi-color/anything.’ [We] ended up letting Daniel Moon (the colorist who did most of the hair) let loose with the color right on the spot.” This resulted in strong dashes of pink, red and even blonde, but for JOBA, who got it done at HAIR Studios in Los Angeles, the process was a more emotional one. “Funny story, I actually broke down in the chair and stormed out in a controlled rage. It was awkward. I think I was staring at myself in the mirror too long,” he explained. “The second time I came back, Major Moon and I had an idea of what to do…my favorite time of the day is around 5:30 a.m. to 6:45 a.m., but only if I stay up through the night. I took photos of the sky that morning and we took inspo from that. “
For those unaware, the Texas-bred group first lived under the same roof when they all relocated to Los Angeles, then lived apart somewhere between the release of their SATURATION trilogy and IRIDESCENCE. In the midst of all the moving though, the boys have grown up — their lives outside of BROCKHAMPTON are now fused with partners and adopted puppies that have kept them company during the pandemic, such as Jabari’s dog Yoshi (“He is my son. Love him dearly.”) and Merlyn’s dog, NRG (pronounced Energy). He describes NRG as his “spirit protector,” explaining that his 17-month-old pup was actually born on Ghana’s independence day (March 6). “The breeder let me choose between NRG and his brother. NRG chose me and the breeder remarked that of the two he had more ‘energy.’ NRG really named himself,” he shared. Dom and his girlfriend also rescued a puppy last June and it’s been the three of them ever since, but he admits that he does miss living with his friends, “There’s a lot of intangible things that just revolve around each individual person’s presence that’s so significant, like it’s very hard for me to be still in a room that Romil and Merlyn are occupying at the same time as me.”
It’s been 11 years since Kevin initially formed BROCKHAMPTON via the KanyeToThe online forum, and six studio albums later, the group has a stronger understanding of their interchangeable roles. Jabari, who shined as a vocalist in ROADRUNNER for the first time, compared producing for the group as “going to school for collaboration.” He added, “The works gets divided pretty easily. If someone has an idea, we try it and see it through. If it doesn’t work, we try another. No one is doing a set job every time, it a song by song basis.” Romil reaffirmed his fellow producer’s statements, “There’s no rules or set process! Every song has a different flow. Sometimes Jabari will start it, sometimes I will, sometimes someone else. We all throw every unfiltered idea on the song and then edit it later.” With possibly only one album left in their repertoire, the group will part ways with wisdom that shaped the BROCKHAMPTON experience: communication, collaboration and that family is everything.