Alex Mazzuchelli, aka Taki Brano, is one of my favorite Rhode Islanders. Born, bred and raised in Providence, he’s a true Rhode Islander who has chased his dreams of being a musician, a mixing engineer and a sound engineer.
“I always loved music. I started piano lessons at 7 or 8, and I was kind of forced to do it, and ‘cause of that I hated it. I hated playing piano, and lessons, but as I got older, especially in high school, I started to realize that bands are pretty cool and that translated into: I play piano, maybe I can apply that to a band.” It sparked Alex’s journey as a musician. Now, his career has spanned over 20 years; he’s been a music producer for nearly 10. Apart from those piano lessons, Alex is completely self-taught, with no professional training, and just “locking myself away and continuing to try and try and try.”
Alex has had multiple bands — two noteworthy names are She’s a Robot and The Funk Underground. With She’s a Robot, Alex was put on a mini-tour and got to go to Ohio, where his band recorded with Johnny Franck from Attack! Attack!, and that sparked love of production. It was during that recording session where Alex realized that he wasn’t far off from being a music producer himself. “Johnny had, like, one thing I didn’t with his set-up, and it was only, like, $100, so I knew I had to dive in.” Alex also discovered a love of hip-hop and became a music journalist, even traveling to South by Southwest in 2019 as he covered all things music, including up-and-coming hip-hop artists. “I cannot credit hip-hop enough for everything I learned and experienced.”
Now Alex works under the name Taki Brano. He has been taking on clients for mixing music and will be getting people into his studio more as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. He’s also currently signed to a publishing contract with Steady Grind Entertainment, a partner of Sony’s music label, so if there are call-outs for apps, games, movies or TV shows, Alex is asked to send samples to this publisher and then they give it to major artists on their parent label. Alex reflects on how funny it is: “You either hear ‘you got it,’ or you never hear from them again.” He also spends time collaborating with people all around the world, with current collaborations happening in India, Iran, Sweden, and of course, Rhode Island. He also works with a production company, In-House Studios, as a music publisher. Though, he says he doesn’t get to work with his production company as much and laughs saying, “With COVID, we’re kind of all on our own journeys.” Alex even left his full-time job just before the pandemic began in 2020 to produce music full-time in his at-home music studio, and to raise his son as a stay-at-home dad, while his wife, Kait Mazzuchelli, works full-time. He says, “The only reason I get to do what I do is because my wife is so dope. She works full-time and she’s an amazing mom. She makes everything possible, she believes in me, she helps me, and I don’t believe in the gender formalities of behind every man there being a good woman, but behind every good person, there’s another good person. She’s my good person.”
Alex has taken to social media to put a lot of his music out there. He offers free samples for his followers and is constantly posting about what he’s up to. His most prevalent platform is Instagram, and he says that he spent a lot of time trying to figure out what people want from his social media and appeal to the masses, but now he focuses on adding value to people’s lives. He uses social media as a way to share music, not promote his brand, which is a pretty rare philosophy.
As for his biggest success, Alex says, “I think it’s finding myself through music. I’ve really, especially in the past year or two, grown, and it goes hand in hand with my songs, realizing how much self-work can be reflected in what you’re putting out into the world. I think my biggest success is finding myself through music.” As for his biggest failures? Alex sees them as learning opportunities. “I don’t know why, but I never felt like set-backs were failures, but that might be because I’ve been blessed enough for so long to know exactly what I want to do. I’d be doing this either way. I learn from everything I do, even if it’s a mistake.”
And his ultimate goal? “I love the creative process and want to earn a comfortable enough living to do more of it,” but he also is focused on what music means to all of us individually. “It’s a big reason why I do what I do, and why I put my stuff out. It’s a positive and light way to make my stuff inspire people and to know that that comes across. I have people DM me who say, ‘I haven’t produced, and I saw your video and it inspired me and now I’ve made songs for three days.’” Alex says that’s what keeps him inspired: his love of music and the thought of bringing it to others.
Alex, aka Taki Brano, can be found across social media @takibrano. His website is takibrano.com. His latest album, Blue Clouds, with Tokari, was released by Tsunami Records and can be found on Spotify.
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