Sitting in the back of a cathedral praying to a guy I was convinced didn’t exist for five years was part of the package when attending an all-girls Convent school – but that was basic education – I wanted a career, so it paid off in the end, right? It’s perfectly possible to make a living without a traditional education – especially in creative fields – but school is still an institution that is relevant in today’s world. We still need surgeons and electricians. To all those who have turned recluse, buried their social lives and gone into hibernation as a result of upcoming university deadlines or A Level exams, just stop. Drop out of school, forget about the ridiculous fees you owe, pick up a book and self-educate. Call your mates, throw a bonfire party burning the AQA and EDI books you’ve collected over the years, and play some fuckin’ Yeezy. Upon the emergence of The Church of Yeezus last year, there was a media shit storm with criticism from religious groups and atheists alike. Brian Liebman, the founder of Yeezianity, claimed that he was starting a cultural movement that embraces self-education, creativity, and ultimately, our saviour, Kanye West. It seems that the idea behind it comes from a genuine place, but the delivery is all wrong – even if we do bump My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy every single day. We spoke to Brian about his motives for setting Yeezianity up, where he plans to take it and why he thinks ‘’Jesus was a cool guy’’.
What have you been up to lately?
Recently, I've been gathering some music that I'm going to be working on and put out.
How did you become a Kanye fan?
I've been a fan since ‘Slow Jamz’ was released – especially when the song ‘All Falls Down’ came out. He was one of a few artists of that time that I could connect with. Over the years as I've watched his career unfold, honestly, at times, I kind of doubted him a bit. I thought he was going to sell out every time when he’d fade away from the spotlight. But he would always step up his game and it just got to the point where when I saw the Zane Lowe interview, I thought 'this is it, this dude is for real. It's time somebody really acknowledges it.’
What was your role in setting up the Church of Yeezus site?
I did everything – I put up the site after I produced another song and nobody was taking to it, so I thought I needed another way to get people's attention and this was something I could do with the tools I had. It wasn't just about the song – I wanted people to pay attention to me as a creative.
But you just said that you needed another way to get people’s attention on your music.
I do this all the time, it’s not like it's anything new – I'm always creating something that I put out there and put my craft towards something that the public will like. So it wasn't like I was trying to promote my music, but I was trying to test myself as a creative and do what I normally do – create crazy shit. I can't create something normal. I would say with Yeezianity, I was in a mode where I didn't really give a fuck. I posted very idolizing thoughts because that's what I believe Kanye’s representing, but I didn't think anyone would actually care about them.
Would you say it’s a religion?
No, I wouldn’t – I did call it the Church of Yeezus and put a play on religion. I definitely put Kanye out there as a saviour. When it got attention and the initial people started to dig it, I wanted to move it more towards a cultural movement more than a “religion”.
Do you think initially people saw it more as fan base?
I definitely think there was a big Kanye fan base reaction from some people who wanted to take their fandom to whole new level. I really don't like the idea of people perceiving it as worship – it's something that first of all is getting at the deeper part of what Kanye really is and what he really represents. To me, that’s the creative force which is going to manifest. When it comes to the pillars, I was mostly inspired by New Thought literature. I actually read the book The Science To Getting Rich five times over the summer before I actually made the site – I read it five times, in five days. I remember when 808s & Heartbreak came out, which is probably my favourite album, by the way. When that came out nobody really liked it, but I was always saying that's the best album of the year. If you listen to it music now that's literally what it is – he created the future of music with that album.
How do your religious views link with Yeezianity?
Some of my family's quite religious. Their reaction was quite negative at first, however I’m glad it was actually like that because it forced me to rethink the concept of Yeezianity. It's more of a movement; I want people to understand the spiritual principles which it talks about. I was raised Jewish and I’m also half Catholic. Normally, when people hear “church” they think 'oh, that's boring'. They don't realize Jesus was a cool guy!
What do you think of the people telling you you’re going to burn in hell?
All I'm trying to do is bring spiritual understanding and principles to people who otherwise might be switching over another Doritos commercial. Some people lose touch with the burning desire to create and get lazy, but Kanye is the one guy who's always stayed true to himself.
Kanye’s made a few bold statements in the past – what did you make of the Taylor Swift incident?
The Taylor Swift thing wasn't a negative. It was necessary for that to happen for Kanye to reach the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy level. It was harsh and messed up and it wasn't a cool thing to do but we need to cut people some slack. We live in a culture where if one person says one bad thing, it can ruin their career. We can advance by giving more forgiveness and realizing that we make mistakes. There's nothing wrong with failure.
You tweeted encouraging kids to drop out of school – why?
The education system is so bad now. They’re removing the education from education. No one can teach you to be a genius, we're all geniuses, but we all have to discover the genius within ourselves, and the first step to doing that is to stop listening to people who tell you how to think and do things. I don't think I'm alone when I say the common core is a cancer on our kids’ minds. And I firmly believe that the common core is so bad that kids would learn more staying home and listening to Kanye's lyrics than they would going to school.
Giving the fundamentals of Yeezianity, would you say Kanye is like a teacher to you?
More of a cultural model I would say. I wouldn't say a role model. Not a teacher because he doesn't really put much energy into teaching people.
Have you met Kanye? Is there anything you’d like to say to him right now?
No I haven't. When the time is right, we’ll meet. I wouldn't say anything to him right now – the guy's got a full plate, and he's doing great, so I'm just gonna enjoy watching him ride the wave.
Do you know if Kanye knows about it?
I know his publicist knows about it and has seen the site, but doesn't want to comment on it. I assume some people have spoke to him about it. But like I said, he's probably in one of the busiest times in his life right now. You know, his mind is totally focused on his wedding. If it was me I wouldn't give a shit.
What do you think about Kim?
Her personality is just genius in itself. She's the equivalent genius of social things, like Kanye is to music and design. She will suck you in.
What do you want to do in your life?
I want to be the world’s first boho-producer. Bman, my stage name, was inspired by God. As for my song ‘Birdie’, I want to make it clear that it’s something I never expected I would make. There’s been a lot of positive feedback, and I’d be happy if it gets more exposure, but even if it doesn’t, I’m really proud of it. Money is unnecessary to me. Something deeper came out from me to reach that level.
How can you say money is unnecessary and then turn around and glorify an event as expensive as this wedding?
Money can't buy what Kanye and Kim have – that's love, that's not possible to buy. Money can't buy the inspiration to create an event that perfectly expresses the love between two people – that comes from a divine place. Money can buy the expensive location, the expensive food and clothes, but without the passion and love behind it, it’s empty. The glamour that Kanye and Kim have is only an outward expression of the shine that's inside of them.
Why do you put a celebrity on such a high pedestal – why not a scientist or an entrepreneur?
The boldest people these days are the self-made celebrities because it's a shark tank out there and to rise in the music game you have to believe in yourself harder than anywhere else. To have a stream of original hits in our culture you've got to be in touch with the divine, 'cause that's the only source of knowledge and inspiration that could create such success. There are creative geniuses in many other fields – Kanye is just the best and the boldest – but he's not the only awesome person out there. I feel like Elon Musk, Lebron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger are also up there.
Where do you see Yeezianity going?
It's going to take off as a cultural movement. The only reason it hasn't is because a lot of people don't really understand what it's about – they think it's some weird cult. This isn't a cult, it's a global celebration of our creativity through the person who has dedicated their life to being the modern day model of greatness. It's not really even about Kanye, it's about you – it's about what you can do, it's about making the most of yourself and your life. Who isn't down for that? Debbie Downers and those old people who always talk about how "bad the world's become" – yeah, those people won't like it.
Kanye West will be at Wireless Festival this summer, buy tickets here
Words by Courtney Axford