Brae ‘SODA’ Luafalealo
Location: Terrigal, Central Coast, NSW, Australia
Tell us a little on how your journey with Converse X began?
At the beginning of the year in February, I released my first single ‘On My Mind’ with my good friend Jesse Ravlen. Converse Australia/NZ hit me up on Instagram and straight up asked for my shoe size and mentioned they loved the song. It was so crazy to me because they’re such a huge brand and one that I was wearing often, so I lost my shit when I got that message ha-ha. Later that month I went to the Sydney launch event and met all of team and all of the other Converse_x_ members. It was super inspiring.
How did you feel with you were announced as one of the lucky reps to join Converse in LA? Have you been here before?
Man, I was so desperate to get this gig because LA is the placeto go when you’re a creative. You don’t why, but it’s the city of angels and dreams and blah blah. In my head it was where I had to be. Getting that message was amazing and the trip that followed was actually better than I expected. I had high expectations. The people I met there I felt were people I had known for years. Every person there was the best friend you’d have in any friend group only they were all flown into the same place at the same time from all over the world. It was really special.
During the week, we visited Tyler the Creators LA based store, GOLF for the exclusive drop of the latest Converse GOLF le FLUER* Gianno sneaker. In store, you were given the opportunity to interview musicians Jasper and Errol. That night, you were also chosen as one of the artists to perform at the Camp Flog Gnaw pre party alongside Jasper and Errol…what ran through your mind when this was announced and while you were performing in the presence of such legendary musicians?
It was a mixture of nerves but also a firm confidence; kind of a ‘calm-before-the-storm' moment. The whole trip, I was very aware that the experience I was having, one that any kid my age would die to have - so I felt very ready to step into my potential and embody an artist that my eight year old self would be going crazy over. I feel really validated as a creative by the whole experience and it gave me a constant point of reference where I would tell myself ‘you’re in LA, you deserve to be here, so kill it’. I knew I had songs I loved, and I knew I could perform them well so when the night came, I just chose to worry about the nerves after I was done and have fun. It was just another night singing my songs and the fact that there were important people there that I looked up to was just a bonus.
During the interview at GOLF, I heard something a little hilarious was said to you by Jasper. Can you tell us what that was?
HAHAHA, He pointed out I had some dry skin on my lip before we started filming and I rubbed it off and laughed about it. It wasn’t planned, but it ended up being a good icebreaker and I felt more casual going into the actual questions we had prepared. I think it made the interview feel casual and conversational.
The main theme of the LA Converse X experience was Self Expression and its link to fashion and sustainability. What does self-expression mean to you and how is it portrayed in your music?
Music is just an auditory form of my emotions and my way of thinking. An artist’s discography is a journey of their life and the things they’ve learnt and how events have changed them. Self-expression is a very natural urge, the way I feel is like a buildup of energy that MUST be released. Whether I’m singing, rapping, running, screaming, drawing, writing – they're all products of my emotions and how they need to be released. For other people it’s dancing, modeling, photography, fashion design etc. all of which I experienced this week with all of these insane creatives.
Self-expression is present in every way of life whether it be music, fashion, sport etc. While spending time with you, you mentioned LA has opened your eyes on the vast ways fashion is worn and how your personal style has changed after spending one week here with Converse. Can you tell us a little more about this?
I just realised the bar I'd set for what I thought was original, stylish and innovative was set so much lower than what it could be. People in LA wear whatever the fuck they want and that’s the way life should be. If I wear a vest or a fanny pack back home, it’s not seen through a scope of fashion because people dress for practicality and ease (which is totally fine). LA was like a pat on the back that told me to wear what I want unapologetically.
Sustainability is one of the planets hot topics. In LA, we were given insight into how Converse is reducing the carbon footprint but still managing to produce both a stylish and quality product. As the younger generation, how do you feel about the current climate and when world leaders chose to ignore it?
I think people who don’t believe in Climate Change are dangerously ignorant and fucking selfish. Old people running the planet act like Mars is going save us. There is no ‘Planet B’ and there is no time for your insolence.
This week, you experienced Camp Flog Gnaw as a VIP. Who were your favourite performers and why? Do you look up to any of these artists in your own music?
Camp Flog Gnaw was like seeing every headline act we’d ever ask for over in Australia. I adored everyone. Daniel Ceasar, H.E.R, Solange, Blood Orange all set my soul on fire. And Tyler, Juice Wrld, Drake, IDK, Brockhampton all are references on how to make songs that demand death circles! I look up to all of them for different reasons but Tyler I just love, because he’s got a deep voice and that resting bitch face that he held for the entirety of ‘IGOR’S THEME’, and he’s out here rapping about his emotions and experiences in a very vulnerable way. He’s so human in such a unique way where everything falls in to place visually and sonically where you’re not expecting it to. He makes so much sense.
Lastly, where do you see yourself in 10 years? Performing at Camp Flog Gnaw perhaps?
I’ll be at CFG in under 10 hopefully. After I’ve played Coachella and every Australian Festival off a Grammy-Award-Winning Album. This week with Converse taught be to aim impossibly high and that a lot can happen in a year. Baby steps though! I’m not in a rush – I love making music, I love performing and I think that that alone will open up a lot of great opportunities and relationships for me. I’m excited. I’m 21 and I'm at that fearless point in my life where I'm ferociously creative and I never want to lose that drive. This week has certainly shown me that I'm on a good path and I’m so grateful for it.
Interview by Ethan Butler