Bleepolar interview ~ Colombian sounds & visions

From Cumbia to Techno and from music production to graphic design and video, Bleepolar has a wide range of interests and talents. His remix of Amsterdam by Marlon Asher & Leah Rosier (Dubbhism Deluxe) was picked up by the Global Bass blogs, a DJ's favorite.

marlon asher & leah rosier - amsterdam (bleepolar remix) by DUBBHISM

But of course there's much more. Like the new EP Chiquita for Hipi Duki that's coming soon, check out this preview...

Chiquita by Bleepolar

Here at Dubbhism we are especially interested in artists who combine the visual and musical side of things in their work, so right now we take time to talk to the Colombian master of sound and vision..

Mr. Bleepolar, i think you have a very strange personality disorder. On the one hand you love traditional Colombian music and on the other hand you're a techno addict. How do you achieve mental & musical stability? On your Soundcloud page the Colombian styles are on top. Is that where your heart is?

Hola Tony! (laughs ;) well part of my name Bleepolar talks about that polarity. I have been an electronic music junkie since childhood. Then i started to research Colombian sounds and i fell in love with them.

I always wanted to have both kinds of sounds in one concept: the punchy and dancefloor shaking vibes of electronic music, and the native american and african hard driving rhythms. But most of all i wanted to create music to make people dance and have a good time.

Of course my heart is hooked with my country and it's cultural wealth. However i'm always feeding myself with all kinds of rhythms, especially the club ones since they combine a lot of energy with the simpler elements.

So how would you describe the style of the Chiquita EP? How is it different from 'MarimbaChontaSalvajeAlbina' for Biatch Corp?

The main difference between MarimbaChontaSalvajeAlbina and Chiquita is that in the first one i was exploring my techno side. I wanted to give it an underground and agressive feeling. Things got a little bit crazy when i made Marimba but fortunely Biatch Corp liked it so much that they made it the main track of the release.

Marimba (preview) by Bleepolar

Chiquita represents the path i have been discovering, a warmer fusion of electronic elements, synthesized drums and melodies with an ancient vibe deeply related with my Colombian roots.

I'd say the Chiquita EP is not just inspired by Colombian music or techno. For example in 'Venenosa' and 'Atarraya' there seem to be some echoes of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters sound. An 'electronic jungle' kinda atmosphere. Do you agree? Are there other influences as well?

As i told you before my influences come from everywhere. One of my first musical loves was Jazz (instead of Rock like all the kids of my age) then i discovered Funk, Soul and Disco to end up with House and Techno music. So i guess that through that journey i absorbed some of those sounds. Mr. Hancock was of course one of the many stops :)

Afro-Pacific rhythms and specially Currulao are one of my greatest discoveries recently. Even though they are Colombian by tradition they still have a lot of those african syncopated beats, hypnotic melodies and of course that wild jungle mood that makes them so special. So i feel kind of natural while i'm playing with them.

The sonic quality of the Chiquita EP is really very good. How did you achieve this big, fat, spacious, transparant sound?

Man you're really flattering me! ;) I made these songs to be played in front of a lot of smiling people. So in order to create that "big, fat, spacious" sound i took those elements i learned by producing House and Techno and put them into my own fusion.

You are both a musician and a graphic designer. For the Biatch Corp release you did both the music and the artwork. What is for you the biggest difference between designing a cover and programming a rhythm? Do you feel that the experience in one 'discipline' makes you more creative in the other? Or does it help to solve certain problems?

The biggest difference for me are of course the senses you use in the execution of graphic design or music production.

However there are moments when the synesthesia attacks and i start to think about the colour of a sound and vice versa. Graphic design helps me to strenghten my sound giving it a face. And music helps the pictures to flow in the head of those who listen.

When i'm 'creatively stuck' while creating a new image or a new song the other discipline is almost always the answer to solve the problem.

Could you tell us a little more about the artwork? Is it all done on a computer? Are these 'characters' like symbolic personifications of the music? Why the frogs in the Marimba drawing?? And what about the two dogs in the Salvaje drawing?

The artwork illustrations for Biatch Corp came a while after i finished the songs. I wanted to catch the feeling of each track and yet to have 4 related images. I use a mixture of both analog and digital techniques to achieve that final look.

Those frogs are actually Poison Dart frogs, one of the natural jewels of the Colombian pacific jungle as well as the Amazonas jungle. Colombia is the #1 country in the world for amphibians so again i wanted to link the whole thing with the wealth of my country.

I drew the two dogs in the "Salvaje" artwork following the fierce feeling of that minimal techno track. Every element is related somehow with the music.

Which blogs about graphic design or art do you like? Are you going to do video clips or something like that in the future?

One of the first things i do when i sit in front of the screen is to check Abduzeedo, FFFFound, Yayeveryday and many other design and illustration blogs. They are part of my breakfast as well as Soundcloud to complete the menu.

Talking about video clips, i already have one! Haha it's a little videomapping experiment based on Marimba

Mapping Marimba Visual from Tonner-v on Vimeo.

I'm gathering some friends to start producing them. Mainly to be shown live while the music sounds.

I like the way you use percussion samples very much. Do you have experience from playing hand drums or other percussion 'live'? Or do you only play drums with pencils and brushes? Or maybe you are a very clever programmer with a good sense of rhythm?

I studied drums for 4 years, as well as some latin percussion. I 'performed' live when i was a kid in the church gospel pop group ;) but once i discovered sequencers and production software i got obsessed with the detail you can achieve in every hit so i knew it was my thing. I'm always playing drums with my pencils or beatboxing. My sister calls me "Walking Drumset" cause i just can't stop doing it!

You are able to change styles without any problems. What is it you like about changing styles? Or is it more like a curse or some other personality disorder maybe?

I love all the genres in the so called Global Bass including Kuduro, Moombahton, Dubstep, Balkan etc. i would really like to try a fusion between them and Andean and prehispanic beats. Just need to find and create the proper material to do so.

I think that all that genre-changing is part of my style, i always want to surprise people, even if sometimes my sanity is at stake!

What's next?

I'm currently working on my live show, practicing the DJing a lot and trying to give it a solid concept. As i said before i'm gathering some talented friends to be part of it by projecting visuals and doing live performances. I would really like to create an experience that involves all the senses. They are some other house and techno releases coming as well as some other tropical project proposals.

I don't know if you heard of Sancocho e' Tigres (Tiger Soup) which is a Nu Cumbia collective created by a bunch of collegues including Caballo. Now as a collective we're working together with Subatomic Soundsystem. We expect to do great things together :)