Archive for the ‘Biiko’ Category

Automagic EP - Biiko

Brett Cooper, aka Biiko, is an experimental indie-pop artist from Chicago, Illinois who fuses live instrumentation and electronic manipulation with a steady pop beat. His new EP, Automagic is out TODAY, and features Shawn Rosenblatt of Netherfriends. Biiko spoke with Tuned In, Turned Up about his new EP, as well as inspirations, influences, and goals for the future.

How would you describe your sound?

This EP was a lot of fun to make, a lot of which came from trying to carve out my own electronic themed niche. It leans toward pop pretty heavily, and I did a few more vocal stacks than I have in previous releases with my previous project. I’m not particularly sure what genre to place it in myself, but me and a couple friends have used the term “hypnophonic.” The EP is a lot of dreamy synths underscored by a sort of alternatively light and heavy feeling with the beats and percussion. There’s a lot of things going on in some songs, but I think it’s place is pretty well balanced between accessible and offbeat.

What was the inspiration for your recently released EP?

Well, I’ve recently started to play shows, and unfortunately didn’t have a full band. My friend Chris Gourlay has been joining me on drums and he’s excellent to work with, but before he was involved I was figuring out how I’d still play a show. Everything I’ve released has been done by myself, but I had to approach it from the aspect of something that would go over well when done in person. The recording and editing softwares I’ve been using have afforded me a lot of creative tools and they definitely influenced the instruments I was selecting and how I was forming them among the arrangements. Lyrically, I’ve pulled things I wrote years ago and stitched them together with things I’ve written in the past 5 months or so. The songs are mostly about relationships, though not necessarily romantic ones; more just stories of human interaction in a one-on-one basis. The exception to this was First Breath, which fellow Chicago musician Shawn Rosenblatt (of Netherfriends) sang on for me. I gave him the instrumental and he wrote out his part while we were at the studio. We had it recorded in under three hours, and in that time I was basing my melodies and lyrical inspiration off what he was doing, and I was very pleased with the result.

Which other bands or artists have helped to develop and influence your music?

I’d have to say Nickelback. I really respect the way they push the boundaries of music. Additionally, my anatomy teacher in high school had a CD he’d play during the holidays composed entirely of songs featuring pitch shifted cats meowing Christmas classics. That was pretty cool too. I think it was named “Meowry Christmas” for anyone interested.

How did you get started as a musician, and when did you realize that creating music was something you wanted to do?

My parents forced me into piano lessons around the time I was 8. It was always just a hobby for me during for the first few years, but I found myself enjoying it more as I started to develop. I started recording music in my parent’s home when I was 17, which was about four and a half years ago. Those initial songs were quite poorly recorded and the singing was uncomfortable, but I was finally doing something with the lessons I had taken. I even seemed to be having a good time doing it. Like the piano lessons, recording was just a hobby, but then I transferred schools in 2009 to come to Chicago and major in recording engineering. I love putting songs together and the feeling one gets after finishing, being able to sit back and look at all the different waveforms going on, and listening back to the finished project. I’d been focusing on studying and graduating for a longtime, but one day, about a year ago, I got in touch with a friend who was looking for an artist to manage. He’s helped push me and Biiko along with deadlines and ideas for what I’m trying to have Biiko be.

What are some goals you have for yourself as an artist, and for your music?

I told myself in 2010 that I wanted to have at least one album a year, but I didn’t have anything for 2012 completely ready. Automagic is the first release as Biiko, and I plan to follow it up around March with a guitar and beat themed album (tentatively named Milky Eyed), so at least I’ll be catching up. There’s plans to release a mixtape featuring whatever 20 tracks I’m choosing from the 35ish started projects I have in the works, and I’m hoping to get a lot of contributions from friends and other Chicago bands. It’ll feature a grab-bag of genres and will serve as more a collection of vignettes than a full, themed album. I like the starting point of Automagic for my catalog, but there’s so many other sounds I want to try and feelings I want to evoke.


Listen to the entire Automagic EP:


Biiko’s Automagic EP can be purchased on Bandcamp.

Additional Biiko music and information can be found at:

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