Hailing from the North Island city of Tauranga, Stacey Bidois is a producer/singer/songwriter/designer who is beginning to carve out a genuine creative identity. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator and BROCKHAMPTON, the talented artist effortlessly glides between genres to create a distinctly unique sound. With the recent release of his impressive debut album ‘Forever’, the artist continues to cement himself as one to watch in the New Zealand music scene. The album is home to some oozing electronic production, mixed with a moody and soulful vocal delivery, leading to an immersive and cohesive listening experience. We caught up with him to discuss his recent projects, music inspiration and how he likes to create.
Drawing inspiration from a variety of genres, Stacey Bidois is an artist who doesn’t like to be boxed in. Whether it’s the crooning vocals of Frank Ocean, the unique stylings and energy of BROCKHAMPTON, or the unsolicited funk of A Tribe Called Quest, Bidois seeks to draw ideas from a variety of sources to add to his ever-evolving sound. Being solely responsible for the production of his music allows the artist to experiment with different ideas and sounds. This eventually culminated in his debut album ‘Forever,’ which is a glistening 13-track mash-up of experimental tracks that represent his journey as an artist.
“It was basically a combination of how I was feeling for the past year, and everything I’ve gone through in the past 2-3 years. Because it was my first attempt at an album I was kind of learning as I was going. I figured out over the process that in order to make something that’s cohesive, you have to be able to make sure that all the songs have some kind of relation to each other. Whether that’s the theme or how they actually sound, and for that I made around 35 songs, but then over the year, as I was learning how to make a project that actually came together, I eventually had to cut it right down. I was listening to so many different artists like J Dilla, Tyler the Creator and Tribe Called Quest and I figured out what type of sound I wanted to go after. ‘Forever’ was a learning process for me and I know I can do a lot better than that in the future with my next project.”
Not wanting to slow down, the talented artist followed the album with a 3-track EP called ‘Yellow’, which built upon the ideas of ‘Forever’. “‘Yellow’ was something that came after I put my album, ‘Forever’, out. It was originally a part of the album, but I couldn’t quite find a place for them to fit. I made all three of the songs at the same time, and they kind of represented how I was feeling at one specific point making the album. I just thought I can’t fit it on the album, so I’ll put them into another project and put it out after because they all relate to each other in a similar context.”
Following the warm reception of recent projects, the diligent artist wants to take a small break from making music to reacquaint himself with inspiration, looking to explore different genres and their intricacies. “I’ve actually taken a wee break from making music and I’m using that time to get inspired again. I’ve been going through a lot of Tribe Called Quest and just being drawn into that early 90’s hip-hop sound, you can listen to it for hours. I love the way that it’s mixed, that kind of music isn’t as harsh as it is these days, where the snare and the kicks can hurt your ears after a while. My next work will definitely be inspired by a Tribe Talled Quest and De La Soul, but then also trying to channel what’s popular now like electronic music and future bass.”
Taking this break is an important part of how Stacey Bidois crafts his music, with the artist revealing the small unpredictability’s of life help to inspire the creative process. Whether it’s just strolling down the street on route to the supermarket, the young artist always has an accompanying soundtrack. This immersion helps to spark ideas and listening to new music helps to introduce new production styles and techniques.
“I listen to a lot of music, if I’m walking to the shops I’m listening to music, just whatever I do I’m listening to music. If I don’t have any ideas I go and listen to new music, even like Italian lounge music. Then I’ll just take what I like from different things. A good example is a couple of months ago I listened to a Tribe Called Quest song called Footprints, and I really liked how the kick and the snare sounded. It was really weird and had a different swing, but everything seemed to work. I take what I like and I start with that, which is usually the drums or the chords first.”
These ideas carry on to how the multi-talented artist approaches producing, where Bidois takes a stylistic approach seeking to link different sounds and styles together.
“When I’m producing, I like to start with the melodic stuff, which is usually chords first. I really prefer to use major chords, just because I prefer a happy song. I’ll start with a chord progression and over that, I might get my Mic out and chuck some autotune on and match it to the key that I’m in. Then I’ll just sing little pockets and try to match it up. The drums are pretty straight forward, as soon as I know what type of drums I want, I’ll be able to hear what the song will sound like in my head. If I’m putting some Dilla drums down, then I know the whole songs going to have that swing to it. Or if it’s got boom-bap drums then I know that the bass-line is going to sound a certain way, even the way its mixed will sound a certain way. Or if it’s an old school hip-hop type of song, then in the mixI’ll intentionally make it sound more broken.
“My favourite part about making music is taking a sound that’s really pretty and smooth and breaking it down and turning it into something unrecognisable. Clean sounds have a place, but for me, I really like the gritty imperfections of songs. Like having a really distorted vocal then I EQ it and put certain filters on to make it smooth and make fit in a mix. My process changes a lot and it really comes down to the environment I’m in and how I’m feeling. What I’ve been listening to really affects my process as well.”
Music plays an integral part in the life of Stacey Bidois, who uses it as a way to express new ideas and deal with issues that aren’t always easy to talk about. With the artist believing that music is a universal language capable of being understood by all. This idea embodies what he tries to create, with the hard-working all-rounder seeking to create an idea bigger than just a song.
“Music is essentially the soundtrack to my life. I think one day I would like to have my music as a way to look back on my life. I don’t make it to be cool or anything, I really just want it to be the soundtrack to my life. Music affects how I feel, and I think it’s the most profound thing because it’s invisible but it can physically affect you and that’s why I love it. I really see music as something that can be used to inspire people, because it’s inspired me and it’s helped me get through tough times. Music is one language that everyone in the world can have a mutual appreciation for and understand. Like if something sounds good it sounds good. If something makes you feel a certain way it makes you feel a certain way.
“I just have such a deep appreciation for music, and I feel like it’s my responsibility as someone who can make music, to make it for the same reasons I love it. To help inspire people and to help people get through tough shit. In my music I try to stay as true to myself as I can, there might be some moments where I become a caricature of myself, but that’s more for the point of getting a point across or exaggerating something. I really appreciate music and the ability to make it.”
Check out Stacey Bidois debut album ‘Forever’ below.