Today's mini mix & interview will be quite special. Not only that our guest created one of the smoothest r&b-driven mini mixes so far, but it's the first time I'll have the pleasure to interview a beat maker from my home country. I bet you guys won't be disappointed with what Boyan had "cooked" for us!
Before scrolling further down and diving into this smooth mix and the awesome interview we did with the Sofia-based producer, we've got a little surprise for you - this is just part 1 of the mini mix series we prepared with the talented artist.
The 2nd part of this beauty will be released next week, so stay tuned!
TRACKLIST (part 1):
Hey Boyan! Really stoked about this interview. Before anything, could you share some information about yourself?
Hey! To keep it short and simple - I'm a 24 year old dude,born & raised in Sofia/Bulgaria and music is my life. I am an instrumentalist/producer & a DJ, sing in choir and have a degree in sound engineering. When I'm not behind the speakers, my main getaways are nature and being with friends.
You've started producing at the age of 15 and doing mostly trance/house music. Could you describe the evolution path of your sound to where you stand today?
Before I have even heard electronic music I was an almost exclusively metal head. Hip hop occasionally, but mostly heavy guitars and screaming was my music and that was because of my father and brother who were listening to only that. Than one day I accidentally (though I firmly believe everything happens for a reason) I came across Armin's A State Of Trance Episode 150 and was totally mesmerized. It was something totally different but calming in a way. One thing led to another - I started DJing,than i felt the need to start making my own music and started producing trance/progressive.
That was my style for a long time until one day, again “accidentally” I was introduced to real hip hop and soul music. That was the true game changer because I was already getting tired of the whole trance/electro house scene which was getting extremely boring and repetitive and was soon to become EDM. Hip Hop/Soul music instantly and kinda magically clicked in my mind in the right place. Than I discovered artists like Galimatias & FKJ who opened a world of unlimited possibilities in front of me. I found out that music has no boundaries and that you can combine any styles and instruments in a track as long as you felt it right.
Because of that, whenever I get asked a question about my style I always answer this - I've got no style. For me genres are only there so that you can put a particular song in a category, but I firmly believe that music should be only divided in two - good & bad. That is why you will always find my tracks different and I'll always be experimenting with my sound.
You're an academically trained musician and piano player? How important do you think playing an instrument is for the young generation of producers (despite the incredible advancement of software nowadays)?
This subject has always been an endless discussion between me and my producer friends and we always differ in opinion so I will share with you my view based on my experience: I have been playing piano since the age of 6, took classes for 12 years, tried a couple of different instruments in that process and I still sing in choir but when I started producing music professionally (not just as a hobby) everything I learnt during those years just went through the “window”. I am not trying to say that all those years behind the piano are not helpful, because when making music it really helps you to know the chords/chords structure/basic harmony/polyphony/keys and etc. When a harmony pops up in your head for example, it's really nice if you can quickly structure it and record it on the go. It is also an extremely good ear practice!
However, in today's modern music and technology, if you have the will and dedication, all you need is YouTube and a lot of patience and practice. I will always give as an example FKJ, who to this day I still can't believe never took any instrument lessons, but plays 4 instruments perfectly and sings at the same time!
How does your average day look like? Is music a full time thing?
Since I produce music full time and that is my profession, all my days usually revolve around the studio. I try to get up early, have my morning coffee with the daily social media scrolling (as I like to call it) and than it is - WiFi off/ Music on! I'm behind the speakers and instruments 5 days a week, 10 hours a day - working on projects, experimenting or just practicing.
W hen I was young my father always used to tell me that if you want to be really good at something, you must dedicate at least 8 hours a day on it without any distractions, and that is what I try to do. On the weekends I'm usually at gigs or just out going to clubs, trying to stay up to date with the music scene and what people like as music.
Many of the producers nowadays relate heavily on Internet "friendships" and supporting each other online. In the age of those online collaborations we've seen and heard lately, how important do you think is a musician's presence in their actual local scene?
Very important! I think every musician should use the Internet to his advantage because it is really amazing how nowadays we can connect online, talk and even work freely with anyone we like from around the world. I myself have worked with my long year partner Randy Boyer from the USA, producing music and connecting through Skype and it is amazing because while we are from opposite points of the world, so many people have heard our music!
That being said, I think every musician should never forget from where he is, how he started and what formed him as a musician and he should always give his best to help the local scene. That is particularly important for Bulgaria because our music scene is just starting really slowly to grow and I really want to help and be apart of that development! I always try to participate in events here in my hometown Sofia, and I try to bring people's attention to new quality music and different genres! If we - the musicians - don't do it, who will?
That being said, lets talk about Bulgaria. As a fellow Bulgarian, I could tell there has been a movement in the scene back home. Could you share your view on what has been going on in the beat/electronic scene the past few years? Any artists you would recommend?
I'm really proud of what is happening on the music scene in Bulgaria lately. The last couple of years we have seen artists from around the world who I wouldn't even dream about seeing back in the days. The electronic scene is finally catching up and people are starting to look out for new and fresh artists and I couldn't be happier about it! I think we have a loooong long way to go and we are still at the starting line of it, but I actually find that really exciting because we (the musicians) have the chance to make the difference and help speed that process. I'm very happy to see artists like KINK, COOH (Balkansky) & L 33 being able to represent Bulgaria in the biggest electronic events worldwide!
If you could choose 2 or 3 artists to collaborate with, who would that be? Other producers or you would prefer to invite some prominent vocalists / instrumentalists and why?
I can't really choose because I have so many favourite artists right now, but the one I would absolutely love to work with is Galimatias! He is the reason I started producing the music I do now and he has always been a huge inspiration. I would just sit and watch how he works and how he thinks and I'm sure it would be amazing!
But if I have to be honest, I prefer working with vocalists/instrumentalists because they bring an element of the “liveness of music” . It is always challenging to work with such artists because you have to combine the electronic/software workflow with the live instrument and sometimes that means to get in the other's person shoes and start thinking like him!
What's the hardest thing you had to sacrifice in the name of music?
Calmness, safety, the fact that you don't have a monthly salary, social life, stress - just to name a few. In all honesty in present times it is extremely hard to be a musician. The sacrifices you have to make are beyond count and they are an necessity if you want to succeed. But if you do it from your heart and for the right reasons you are “doomed” to succeed. The feeling I get when I see that I make people happy with my music is beyond words. It is that feeling that got me into music and that is the main and only reason I will continue to do it - to make people happy!
If someone gave me the option to turn back time I will go back and do it all over again.
Thanks a lot! It's been a real pleasure - any last words of wisdom / randomness?
I just want to thank you guys from Stereofox for this invite and to tell you that you are amazing! Never stop doing what you do!
To everyone who is reading this - I really hope you enjoy the exclusive mix I did, every single piece of music you hear in is 100% my own production made with a lot of love. Stay calm and inspired!
As I said in the beginning of the feature - this is part 1 of the 2 mini mixes which the talented producer created for us. If you want to stay in touch with him - drop by Boyan's artist page. Next mini mix will be live in a week or so, meanwhile - feel free to grab a free download copy of part 1 here.