Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy
With his undeniably unique sound, impressive live show, and just plain catchy songs, renowned producer and DJ Birthday Boy is lighting up the Toronto music scene.  He recently caught up with AMBY to discuss his upcoming project, collaborating, and bad birthdays.

AMBY: Where are you right now?

BB: I’m in the kitchen with my boy Alex drinking tea.

AMBY: How did you start getting into production?

BB: I remember doing stuff early on, on a program called adobe audition. I was making drums in this weird sequencer thing I think called DrumCraft then I would put it together with samples and bits of keyboard I recorded through a VCR haha. Eventually got FL Studio and that was my joint up until I got a Mac.

AMBY: Do you remember being inspired by a particular artist at a young age that made you want to get into music?

BB: I remember going crazy to my parents’ vinyls. They had Queen and the drums on We Will Rock You had me live! Recreating it on tables etc. They also used to listen to a lot of Irish music and I’m still trying to rediscover a few records.

AMBY: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?

BB: I used to work in film and went to school for broadcasting, I think it would be something in that field. I view music as a hopefully lifelong career but also intend to branch into film and television at some point.

AMBY: How did this project start?

BB: My current project is called Loot4leo. It started over here at my house, making music every day and trying to reflect the ups and downs of what was going on. The earliest tracks might be about 2 or 3 years old but the bulk of it was started in 2015 or early this year.

AMBY: Can we expect your album to come out in 2016?

BB: No. I’ll release at least 1 or 2 more EPs/ projects but wont do my proper first album until I have the resources. I have a vision that involves getting outside players, studio time and certain gear I don’t have regular access to.

AMBY: When did you write most of these songs?  Have you been sitting on them for a while?

BB: The Loot4Leo stuff was kinda burning a hole in my pocket, even if I didn’t have it for that long. Not all the ideas are finished but I feel like it encapsulates where I was at and I want to put that forward to people so I can move on from it mentally.

It’s a beat-tape and I’m delivering it to people as a continuous play mix. It’s going to show some future directions and also help close the beginning chapter of my development as Birthday Boy.

AMBY: Any artists featured on it that you’d like to shout out (or is it a surprise)?

BB: Pretty much no features. I sing on a few songs for one of the first time so I guess that’s like a new artist I’m featuring, haha. But most of this is instrumental music. I’m also debating putting on a song from a new artist I’m working with and very excited about.

AMBY: What was the best birthday party you remember as a kid growing up?

BB: To be honest I actually hate birthdays. I remember once having a party playing soccer and dislocating my shoulder haha. Another one these two kids got into it with baseball bats and my neighbor had like a panic attack over it, scared of these 8 year olds.

AMBY: You’ve been known to work with a lot of talented artists in your home of Toronto.  Namely A l l i e and Drew Howard.  How important is it to work with the talented artists around you geographically.  Is it by choice or convenience or just people who you respect and admire who are around you naturally?

BB: It’s crazy because there are just so many dope artists here. Before the spotlight was on our city we had great artists and it’s amazing to see the world starting to take notice. All the collaborations so far were super organic as we admired each others music and had mutual friends. I’d like to work with people from other countries and cities eventually, but before that I have a few more Toronto cats I want to try something with.

AMBY: Can you speak about your experience working with Drew Howard at all?

BB: Working with Drew was cool, we got different styles so it was cool to take in each others’ approaches. His songwriting process is unique and involves kind of experimenting and recording which is dope. I also like to rejig things, re-record, sample, flip all the time so each song has like 10 versions. I’ve learned from all the other artists as well and also just been moved, in a room listening to someone like Allie or Trish sing is an experience.

AMBY: What have you been listening to lately that you really like?

BB: Some European beats-ey house shit like Max Graef and Frits Wentink. Really into Seven Davis Jr right now. New Kanye. Classics like Little Dragon, Dwele, Jai Paul.

AMBY: What artist(s) was/were your gateway drug into hip hop would you say?

BB: It’s kinda funny but I think it was Del tha Funkee Homosapien. I just loved his flow and tone, could relate to the goofiness because that’s 100% me too haha.

AMBY: How do you beat a Toronto winter?

BB: Man you just don’t. It beats you. You just try to survive through to spring then everything gets bless again.

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Thank you Birthday Boy, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Rosemary Fairweather

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