Quelle Chris Talks ‘Lullabies for the Broken Brain’
"You’re in that place where you don’t know if you’re sleeping or awake”
Quelle Chris’ new instrumental album, Lullabies for the Broken Brain, is for the scatterbrained. It mirrors the line between dreams and reality, evoking the split second you fall asleep during a crazy movie and your mind retains the flickering images from the screen.
It’s an album to be enjoyed with pizza, a blunt, and a cheap bottle of vodka; perfect for the moment you’re almost finished with the bottle and you’re not sure what’s real and what isn’t. “You’re kinda jumping in between lucidness and reality, and you’re in that place where you don’t know if you’re sleeping or awake,” Quelle elucidates. “I really hope when people listen to it, they feel like they’re going through the same journey as I was when I was making it.”
The sounds and instruments on the album gently guide this journey, reflecting different points in the dream. The chord progressions each embody a different emotion. With vocal albums, there isn’t always much room for imagination. But with Lullabies for the Broken Brain, the listener is free to write their own story of what the music means—it’s all open to interpretation.
Quelle Chris decided it was time to make an album synonymous with dreaming. Accordingly, Lullabies for the Broken Brain took a shorter time to make because the thought process came naturally. “I was just kinda letting my broken brain pump out what it wanted to,” Quelle explains.
The album was born from a folder of beats Quelle created a few years ago titled “Broken Brain,” in which he placed what he refers to as “broken beats.” The folder had a little bit of everything, from hip hop to funk, new wave to hardcore. “Different types of original and crazy shit,” Quelle explains. “It was kinda like scattered thoughts represented through music.”
Eventually, someone proposed the idea of making an instrumental album to Quelle. As a rapper and producer, Quelle is accustomed to putting bars on his beats. He rarely releases an instrumental album; his last being 2012’s Jock Sin Six Beats. However, he went for it, feeling like he needed to release an album reflective of all the hectic, random, scatterbrained thoughts in his head at that time.
As Quelle thinks back, he realizes he only used one beat from the original folder. “It’s still hectic,” he explains. “But it’s a different hectic where you’re trying to find solace within all the pain and scatterbrain-ness.” Now, the beats on the album embody an internal journey. “A lot of times that’s what dreams are,” Quelle says. “When you’re sleeping, you’re kinda just jumping from flying an airplane to you know, sitting at a house, eating chicken with people you don’t know.”
Quelle is currently working on his next vocal album, Being You Is Great. I Wish I Could Be You More Often, as well as some new Crown Nation music with Denmark Vessey. But making music isn’t always enough of a creative release for the artist. So in addition to music, he is also working on different comedy ventures with frequent collaborator Jean Grae, including live reenactments of movies performed on stage. They’ve done The Goonies II and Ghostbusters 2.5, and are now working on The Warriors II. “For me, it’s not enough to just make rap music. It’s not enough to just make hip hop music or all genres of rock or classical shit,” he says. “I wanna touch everything I can possibly touch.”