Imagine the most soothing melody paired with hyper-satisfying visuals calming enough to make you forget that 2020 still has 5 more months. With credit to Spanish artist, producer, multi-instrumentalist, sculpture, jack of all trades, Bichopalo, the aforementioned really exists. With the help of his two birds, Pico and Verdi, Bichopalo creates trance-inducing melodies that incorporate synthesizers, various percussions, spiralling water, marbles, a toaster(?!), and lots of nature that are just as much of a treat for the eyes as they are the ears. We caught up with Bichopalo to learn about how he came to create such works of art and if we can get our hands on his awe-inspiring musical sculptures.
Electric Soul: Tell us about your musical beginnings.
Bichopalo: As a kid, I always had instruments around. My father had a drum set in the house, so I started to play drums from a very early age. Drumming has become second nature for me. Throughout my life, I´ve been in contact with different musicians and every genre of music, but it’s only in the last 3 years that I became completely obsessed with electronic music and synthesizers. I got my very first little synth a couple of years ago (a Volca Keys from Korg) and I was fascinated with the enormous potential of this instrument and how this little thing can inspire such creativity. I needed to understand everything about how this synth worked and that was the beginning of everything.
ES: You’ve been called a musical sculptor. Is this how you describe yourself?
B: Personally, it´s very important that the music I write has a visual aspect so you can have a complete experience. If you hear a cello, it’s nice, but when you see the musician playing it and you see how the cello is vibrating and shaking, that’s a completely different thing. I consider all instruments pieces of art. They are beautiful. So, when I write music, I make it about how the instrument is actually playing the song. There is so much to explore and sometimes how it plays defines how the music should sound. So yes, “musical sculptor” would describe me quite accurately.
ES: Initial reactions to your instruments and pieces are “holy, that’s so soothing, but what is it?”. How would you explain your creations?
B: I don’t know. I just follow my intuition and create the things I would love to see and hear. Maybe trying to give an explanation of any instrument is irrelevant. I make the things that come out from the gut with no particular logic. I create just for the joy of creating. You know when you have this voice that says that you have to make something, regardless of time or resources, there’s just no option, you have to do it? Having that intuition and then seeing that the fantasy is tangible and functional is one of the most satisfying experiences ever.
ES: How long do you spend on a musical sculpture?
B: It really depends on the complexity of each piece. For the “Plantyflutesizer”, the last piece I created, took a year.
ES: How can someone get their hands on a Bichopalo instrument?
B: I’ve received a lot of questions asking me if I sell my instruments. For now, all the instruments I create are just beta versions, but I’m working to create simplified, yet robust and solid versions for any person interested in getting one.
ES: Is the visual just as important as the audio for you?
B: The visual part is important to me as accompanies the music creating a complete and unique experience of what you are listening to. But the visual is not the most important part. You can hear the radio and listen to music and feel transported to other places, but if you try to watch TV without sound, it just doesn’t make sense. Visuals help the listener become more interested and focused on what is being heard. These days, people are always in a rush with so many inputs coming from everywhere. So, if you want people to give the amount of attention that your music requires, you need an extra element. In my case, that’s where the visuals serve their purpose.
ES: You do some outdoor sound recording. What do you collect these sounds for?
B: I love having outdoor sessions and hunting sounds. You always stumble upon happy accidents, interesting textures, and flavours in nature that you would never be able to create in a digital way. All these textures are so incredibly useful. You can create all types of percussion, snares, pads, or melodic instruments to incorporate into your process. You can use your default library samples of your DAW and it’s totally fine, but using your own sounds is way more fun and helps to create a more personal sound, bringing it to another level, I think.
ES: It seems that the true stars of the show are your birds, Pico and Verdi. How important are they to your creative process?
B: There’s no doubt about that. They are rockstars. I always have been surrounded by animals, but in the last years, these little fellas appeared in my life. I never had birds before and I´m so amazed at the love that these little animals are able to give. Even though they are so small, for me, they are like real people. They have such strong personalities. I love making them part of my videos because they are always around me. They are really special creatures, and in a way, they have been on this path with me and I wanted to share their existence with the rest of the world. My pieces would not be the same without them, for sure.
ES: Where do you pull your inspiration from? Are there other musicians or artists you look to?
B: I listen to all kinds of music from Pantera and Napalm Death and Dream Theatre to King Crimson, the Beatles, Chick Corea, Daft Punk, Rosalia, and Bjork. I love when talented people from any genre try to do their best and push themselves to achieve the highest expectations. When I hear their music I always learn something. You always take a little something from here and there. On my RSS feed, I follow a lot of young artists that I think are incredibly talented, not only musically but intellectually as well, sharing their process and motivating emerging artists. An example of this would be the great artist, Andrew Huang or the genius LookMumNoComputer. Both are incredible artists and composers but also love to spread their knowledge and experience in their fields. In a musical level, I don’t have a particular reference when I write my music. It normally happens accidentally when I’m cleaning the dishes or the classic moment in the shower when a melody comes up and needs to be written down before it disappears! Visually, I do feel highly influenced by the master Marcel Duchamp and all his incredible collages, and of course, NATURE!
ES: How do you know when a piece is finished?
B: When I feel there is nothing more to take away.
ES: Do you ever plan to do live performances?
B: Sure! I’m currently finishing my very first album and as soon as it’s ready I would love to share it with people in different formats, one of them being live shows.
ES: What can we expect from Bichopalo in the future? B: More music for sure!