We caught up recently with French producer Blackbird to talk about music, influences and his upcoming album. Check out his interview here…
Hey Blackbird, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
Hey I’m really honored to participate to this interview!
I’m based in France, I don’t really travel a lot now because of college but I used to travel a lot when I was younger, it was really nice. Right know I’m at my parents’ home for Christmas but normally I live in the city of Nancy.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music?
Before high school I wasn’t really interested in music, I mean I played guitar but I was really bad at it and grew bored of it, I would sometimes listen to old hard rock music on the bus on my way to school but it wasn’t until I listened to Pendulum that I really fell in love with music,
I don’t know it was so different, so refreshing, it was like eight years ago now.
How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?
I started making music like 6~7 years ago. Fl studio and video games were probably the only thing I was able to concentrate on more than ten minutes, electronic music was really interesting for me.
How did you decide upon the name Blackbird?
Not that long ago, I changed my name because it didn’t really fit my style of music anymore. I’ve been thinking “something cold and maybe a bit eerie like…a Blackbird”, and there it is. It’s not really original but it’s who I am.
Have you made or released music under any other name?
Yes, many names. Before Blackbird I used the name Sunlight. I’ve made a lot of music under that name and before Sunlight it was DjPink3 and even before DjPink3 I had a horrible name that I won’t write here because its cringe and I came up with it when I was young.
Can you describe your music for us? Is there one particular track or album which you think encapsulates who you are as an artist?
Well my music is based on the sample technique, I like to take a lot of samples and mix them so you can’t even recognize the original sample. I think my track “Night Train” and EP “Music is Dead” are good examples.
Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?
No I’ve never played live, well maybe one time as a DJ for a birthday party. I would love to do that in the future of course but as a DJ I have many thing to learn and I need to change my turntable.
What have been your biggest influences?
So many artists and music have influenced me as a composer but the biggest ones are probably Phaeleh, Burial, Flying Lotus and Massive Attack.
Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?
Of course both are required, you can have the best imagination and think about the best sound ever created but you’ll need tools to make them and know how to use those tools. Some style require more technique and some others require more imagination.
Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?
Personally I let my imagination wander, I mess around with my software and eventually something will begin to form then I will develop it more and more. It helps me in difficult times of course, making music makes me forget about my problems. It really helps when you tend to get anxious about everything like me.
Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon?
Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?
Well I’m experimenting with many styles on another channel called “Foxtail” where I can explore a bit more myself and try new things like hip hop, vapor wave, etc,
Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
I think it constantly evolves, from “Craftwerk” to our days, it never stopped. New styles appear every day, musics labeled as “experimental” today that we will probably listen in the future are posted constantly.
Any new releases coming our way?
Yes, my first album is coming mid-January and I’m so excited about this ! It has been a long project, I’ve worked on it for 7 months now and I’d like to make a crowdfunding to put it on a vinyl as well. Hope it will work out and people will like it.
Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?
Well generally when I decide to work with someone it’s when I like what they do at the moment and I wish to work with them. For now I’m not interested but I’m open.
Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?
I don’t really have a favorite artist, there are too many (for example C418 or Disaster Peace) but my favorite track of all time would be “Zodiac Shit” by Flying Lotus.
It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?
Yes it is and that’s sad. Just because we are not making something considered “useful” to the society we are not paid for all the work we make. We need to ask people for money, to make them buy our work and that’s not fair for me, that’s why all my releases are free but people can give what they want. I don’t work yet, I’m in college and so I can give people free stuff but since I’d like to make a living with my music I’m afraid I’d have to charge people for it one day.
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?
I would say that you need to make music for your own pleasure first before thinking about what people might say about it. Don’t try to reach for glory, just be yourself.
Yeah I know that sounds cheesy but it works.
Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?
I would love to make a full OST for a game or a movie, that’s another dream of mine. But after this album I think I‘ll need a bit of rest and concentrate on school.
And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
My friend “4lienetic” of course who makes amazing ambient music.
Another friend of mine called “Solus Mind” who makes really different music and it’s refreshing. He started using Fl Studio not long ago.
And of course my sister who makes a lot of voices for me and has an amazing band called “Luna Queen”.
Thank you so much Blackbird!