When Musical Passion Shines Through | An Interview With Electronic Producer, birdboy

–by Quincy Tejani, Music Conoisseur

birdboy-photo-melissa

Toronto-based producer, birdboy (Photo by Melissa Veerasammy)

There is a certain energy that you get from people who you know are excited and passionate about what they’re doing. Although the first time I heard anything from Toronto-based producer birdboy wasn’t until a few weeks ago, I could really feel his passion shining through on his new LP POLYBIUS. Because I believe that the single most important factor that goes into making music is passion, I decided that I had to interview this guy. Throughout our interview, birdboy’s answers to my questions continued to prove his love for what he is creating and for that reason I am incredibly excited to share his music with you:

Q: Your new LP POLYBIUS is an impressive piece of work. How long did it take you to produce all 20 tracks? 

BB: Thank you for saying so! I’d been collecting synths, drum machines and samplers for a while, digital production has always been very intimidating to me, so once I had enough electronic instruments, I made Halftime and got excited – I usually have a lot of trouble finishing things when it isn’t for someone else or with someone else, so I just posted Halftime on May 24th with the announcement that a full EP would be out on June 25th – it didn’t matter that I only had one song or if anyone was waiting because I said I’d do it. POLYBIUS I came out June 25th and was followed by II and III on July and August 25th, respectively. The LP is all three of those EPs combined – with three extra tracks I made in September, so I suppose it took 12-14 weeks.

Q: What is your personal favourite cut from the LP? 

birdboy's LP, Polybius

birdboy’s LP, Polybius

BB: Oof – it’s kind of hard for me to single one track out – it’s weird, since I made each group of 5-6 tracks at the same time – I kind of consider each of them to be one really long song – like three really long songs. I don’t really know which one is my favourite – honestly, since I’ve learned so much from making them, it’s hard to hear anything other than mistakes – I can say I’m really proud of “Priorities” because it sounds kind of like the electronic music I listened to when I was a teenager.

Q: Have you ever collaborated with other producers or do you prefer to fly solo? 

BB: I don’t really know how to do music production – meaning I’m intimidated by VSTs and digital production because it’s seemingly limitless – that’s a lot of responsibility. I really respect producers for their craft – takes a very new kind of discipline. I’ve performed with others before, but never really written music with another person since my first year of film school. To answer your question, I’ve only just now started collaborating with producers and I’m not sure if that’ll become anything, but it’s exciting – flying solo is a lot of pressure, but can be pretty nice too – If anything is bad, it’s my fault, so there’s a lot of self reflection there – sometimes it can feel pretty awful. I guess making POLYBIUS was kind of a way to reach out to other musicians – find people who want to add what I can do to what they do – so far it seems to be working out alright.

Q: Are you considering doing some live performances in the future? 

BB: Oh yeah. There’s a good chance that’ll happen within the next six months, but there’s a lot of work that has to go into that. As I said before, I’m not much of a digital producer and so all of these sounds come from individual physical instruments – gotta find enough people willing to help me play them all on stage – gotta teach them the songs and, ideally, write some new ones together. If all else fails, I’ve been working on stripped down ways to play them solo, but I’d really love to perform them properly. 

birdboy-photo-melissa-1

Photo by Melissa Veerasammy

Q: What’s your favourite thing about being an artist in Toronto? 

BB: There sure are lots of us here. It’s great and awful – lots of like-minded folks, lots of noise. It’s pretty great that the artist community is almost inescapable though – almost everyone here is making something or knows someone who is. My favourite part is probably the market for weird implements in this city – you can find a store for most anything. I also love how intense the transit can be – I record a lot of weird happenings I find while in transit and almost all of them are on POLYBIUS

Q: Do you predominantly listen to electronic music or do you like to branch out to other genres as well? Who are some artists you listen to? 

BB: Talking Heads, The Microphones, The Velvet Underground/Lou Reed, Boredoms, Kraftwerk, The Modern Lovers, Radiohead, Nina Simone – tons of artists – when I was a child my parents would play Arlo Guthrie, ELO, The Guess Who, Eurythmics – Electronic music is something I’ve loved since my later teenage years – Mr Oizo/Venetian Snares/Aphex Twin – but it’s not my favourite genre at all – I guess it just seems less explored than guitar-centric music – I used to only play guitar and found it difficult to write something without feeling like a hack, yet there’re always new artists popping up with original takes – I think there’s just so much guitar music swirling in my head, it’s hard not to compare anything I make with a guitar to every other song with a guitar ever. 

 Q: Finally, would you rather go for a night out with Trump or Clinton? 

BB: Now, to be clear, I’m assuming this is a night where both humans(?) would be off the clock and assured they could be natural – like some alternate dimension where anything they do/say that night will have no relevance on anything in their lives. If so – I really wanna grab a few beers with Clinton – I think I have a decent handle on what Trump’s deal is – I think most people have a solid idea of what a night out with Trump would be like. I have NO idea what Hillary finds funny or does for fun, what pisses her off, what music she actually likes – who she is. If this were some meet and greet in real life, well… I think Hillary would do a better job of being begrudgingly polite, so I’d rather it be Trump – He’d be terrible at it on purpose and his passive-aggressive jabs at me would be priceless. 

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Quincy Tejani is the co-founder of The Violet Wave and is also editor of music. When he’s not listening to or writing about music you can probably find him walking through the forests of Ontario or questioning the inner workings of the universe. He also never turns down a cold Pabst… never.

Twitter: @thevioletwave

Facebook: The Violet Wave

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