I remember when I first stumbled upon Birocratic's music a few months back. That was the day I created my "music to groove to" playlist which has been a proper mellowness remedy ever since.
The young American producer has his own way when it comes to production and the one thing I always enjoyed when listening to his instrumentals is how "live" they sound. That's why today I'm super stoked to share his mini mix and the interview which I hope helps people get to know him better.
Birocratic is a lengthened form of Biro, my nickname from college. It ultimately comes from B-Row, an abbreviation of my real name, so it’s pronounced Bee-row-crat-ic.
Yeah! I actually started taking piano lessons when I was 4, and joined a band in middle school. I played guitar, bass, keys, and drums throughout high school, and took up audio recording at 15. When I was 17 and bought my first computer, I started to dabble with production, taking it seriously by the time I graduated high school.
Well, I still work full-time to pay back my music education. But I only work at night which is awesome - it means I get to spend all day, from when I wake up until about 3 in the afternoon, focusing on music. On top of that, I enjoy myself a good gym visit a few times a week. Standard stuff really; I kind of treat music like my morning job, even though the money situation is a bit more nebulous and the hours are completely up to me.
Well, I was raised on classic rock, and some of the funkier/jazzier stuff stood out to me, like Steely Dan or Jeff Beck. I’ve always been a student of music, and to me, jazz music (and prog when done tastefully) understands the importance of musicality. I’ve always thought about music rhythmically too, so when I found hip-hop that sampled jazz but was rooted in a modern understanding of rhythm, my head exploded.
One of my two full-time jobs, I suppose. But it’s my career. In five years I’ll be on tour with my friends.
Thanks man! I suppose they do go hand-in-hand in that my interest in both media is inspired by the same subjects… often loneliness, open spaces — a kind of austere, subdued optimism that I think pervades my way of looking upon the world. I often look at/pursue my own photography to draw inspiration for my music, and vice versa; I’m currently working on several projects that more tightly integrate the two.
Oh man, that’s tough. I love visuals and would love to explore photography further as a business venture. I also started a screen-printed apparel business with my brother and a good friend at home, which has been a really fun venture. I can’t really imagine my life without being invested in music, but I know I’d still be entrepreneurial in some capacity, no matter what.
Hah thanks, Ivo. I’ve been looking for a more concentrated way to connect with fans of mine who also make music. I think it’s a neat time we live in, where there’s not only ripe opportunity for unspoiled fan-to-artist connection, but there are also a million potential protégés out there who could benefit from a view into the world of a working producer. And I know there are producers out there who’d never spill their secrets or anything… but I’m not losing anything if I show everyone what plugins I use, or how I set up my drum tracks. If I can’t graciously offer my two cents to the growing legions of prospective producers, I’m not contributing positively to the community.
As for what’s next - I’m planning on doing this #BiroMakesABeet thing throughout the next several weeks/months, but not forever. If I can put out ten or twelve one-day beats and stream them all live, that’s ideal for me. I might pick it back up in the future as streaming technology becomes more robust and the options expand.
Absolutely. I’ve been thinking for a while about how sampling records influences a particular way of thinking musically. My sampling techniques and idiosyncrasies have defined my sonic identity since I’ve entered the scene. But I play instruments too - and I’m realizing that my sound is pretty different when I don’t incorporate sampled records. So when my next EP (which is almost finished) comes out, expect a shift in direction. It won’t be entirely familiar to every Biro fan, but hopefully everyone’s willing to ride with me. That’d mean everything.