Printz Board may not be a household name…yet, but we guarantee you’v heard him. This multi-talented artist has been creating hit songs for the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Chris Bworn, and Sheryl Crow for years. In fact, he could probably list the stars he hasn’t worked with quicker than the ones he has! So there is no question his debut album Board Games and first video “#1” is creating more than a bit of buzz.
With writing and producing credits on hit songs like “Where is the love?” we had to find out why Printz has waited so long to make his recording debut! We sat down to get the inside scoop!
PPLA: How did you get started in the music industry?
PB: It chose me, I didn’t choose it, that’s for sure. I didn’t know it was an industry in the beginning, I was ten years old when I started playing trumpet and it was just something that was part of life, part of the school curriculum. I didn’t know it was the music business…it was more like- I’m going to play this trumpet and this is fun! Then you fast-forward to graduating from San Diego State and coming to LA, you realize oh my God I’ve come into this fishbowl where you have to dodge the sharks. I was fortunate to move in with this group called Stepchild that was on Warner Bros. and from that I made a few relationships. I was playing around L.A. with my group called Phazz (we changed our name to Gravy for a bit) then I bumped into Will and Taboo (of Black Eyed Peas) as well as Dilated Peoples, Jurassic 5 and it so happened that Black Eyed Peas got signed first out of this “West Coast Native Tongue” movement. When they got signed Will reached out to me and asked if I wanted to do the musical aspect of the band. I said yes and that was the burst of it all I would say.
PPLA: You’ve worked extensively with Black Eyes Peas since then, what are some other artists you have collaborated with?
PB: Oh my goodness [laughs]. It might be easier to say whom I haven’t worked with. We got to a certain point where as a songwriter I am like a swiss army knife of sorts. I can play horns, I can play keys, accordion, drums, I can produce, produce a band on the outside. I can write topline type stuff. I’ve been getting the calls for everything, from doing the horn arrangements for Macy Gray to writing hooks and melodies for Burt Bacharach to being the keyboard player for Dr. Dre to producing Katy Perry [laughs]. The list goes on, fortunately.
PPLA: It seems like what really helped break your career is the fact that you are a very versatile musician– you can play many instruments, produce, and write.
PB: I was definitely brought up that way with my mom always moving and shaking and multi-tasking. I have a good way of calculating certain things, a lot of things I just compute and put together. I don’t think people are wrong to focus on one thing because that might be better for them rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Focusing in and being the absolute best at what you are works for some people. For me personally, I’m more of a Bruce Jenner. I think this industry is ever changing and that is a pretty cool quality to have.
PPLA: Has there ever been a time where you wrote or co-wrote a song and thought I wish I could have recorded this song for myself?
PB: [laughs] I haven’t actually ended up in that position. You know, fortunately the songs I would think that about would be most of the Black Eyed Peas’ songs. It’s still cool, I may have said like “can I get a verse on that?” [laughs] I’ve been pretty happy with our success, however there are songs where I think “I wish I could have written that” from other artists that I didn’t produce or write on, like that new Daft Punk joint with Pharrell “Get Lucky”. That was in me but I didn’t get called upon for that song [laughs].
PPLA: You’re gearing up for your first solo album Board Games. Why now after all of these years of being behind the scenes did you decide to produce your own music?
PB: It goes back to where we came from. I had my band Gravy, and we were on par with all the bands that were doing it, the next “big thing”. I really wanted to sign with Interscope, but it just so happens that they signed Black Eyed Peas instead of my band even though they were at my shows religiously. I came to realize they didn’t 100% believe in the co-pilot of my project [Gravy]. I’ve always been a front man; I’ve always been a leader, that’s why I was the musical director of the Black Eyed Peas. Black Eyed Peas is not over, it just so happens that we took a break and we didn’t want to oversaturate this industry so let’s come back and let it be fresh. I like to change, I have a Mile Davis mentality about life, you don’t stay idle. I’m going to go ahead and do a project that’s just for me, that makes me happy and I’m totally confident about it. I didn’t do it to for a get-rich-quick type of scheme. How I got into it was so organic. I recorded different ideas, and then I look up and I saw, wow I got a beast of an album here. This is gonna be fun.
PPLA: What can we expect from Board Games? How would you describe your sound?
PB: Board Games is fun, it’s sexy, it’s a romantic comedy, there’s times where I’m going to be more of a kid. There are times where it gets a bit more serious. They are all stories of my life, like “#1” that is the thought of when you keep chasing something and you keep discarding one thing to try and get that same category of thing you think is better elsewhere. Even in the video, it’s the same girl in the video that’s playing different parts. I did it on purpose to make it feel like it was a different girl each time if you weren’t looking closely. Board Games is spicy, I got a song called “Rockstar Moments” that’s about what happens on the road, then I have a song called “Hey You” that’s fun and big. Then I have songs like “Love Love Love” which is where I get my Lenny Kravitz and more musical type of influence. It’s about when I was in love with a best friend and didn’t want to tell her because I didn’t want to mess up the friendship. You don’t know if they are going to reciprocate or run, which “r” is it going to be [laughs]. So this song is me whispering over her shoulder telling her how I feel. The real story is that I was in love with her and said to her that I was feeling this way, and she told me that she was feeling that way too. But she had been with her man for like three or four years, and I think it was literally four days after that her boyfriend asked her to marry him.
PPLA: You’re lying!
PB: No, I’m not. So that’s the age-old adage “a closed mouth don’t get fed”. Obviously I waited too long. Anyways these songs they’re fun, they’re true to life, and then there’s these serious moments–like I said, it’s like a romantic comedy.
PPLA: What can we expect from you in the future?
PB: I would definitely want to do a world tour, which is something I am used to doing and love. I’m shooting the video for my second single “Hey You” this month and it will be out in about a month or so. I think we’ll get a better sense of everything then and see if the people want me to release the album this year, in around October or see if it feels more like a Spring thing. Either late Fall or Spring. I don’t want to do anything around Christmas time because everyone wants to deal with Santa [laughs].
Watch Printz Board’s video for “#1” at PrintzBoard.com