Meet biLLLy, the pop musician blending the nostalgic and the new.
With sonic influences ranging from Prince to Drake and Jai Paul, biLLLy isn’t your usual pop artist. Hailing from Mile End, and taking great influence from London’s thriving music scene, biLLLy’s sound is both nostalgic and new. A hard feat we know, but by freshening up classic, soulful sounds and combining them with layers of drum samples, live percussion and synths that fade in and out smoothly, biLLLy creates sounds that have their roots buried deep in music history but are made fresh and exciting for 2016. Resulting in an eclectic mix of self-described “fat gassy sounds”, biLLLy balances out the big sonic elements with light vocals that together with his sparse production methods create a vulnerability and honesty that is often lost in pop.
In “Can’t Blame”, biLLLy explores the dependence and vulnerability in becoming close to someone and the emotions that play out during the strengthening of that bond. Capturing the anxieties of falling in and out of love and dealing with relationship issues, biLLLy addresses the feelings we all experience. A solid bassline and lyrics such as “you’re so dependent on me” and “you always take it personally” create a dynamic and emotional sound. Lyrically, he tends to explore the struggles that many people go through, with this honest writing being a huge part of his new EP, “Up In The Air”. Consisting of playful hooks, raw lyrics and a slight melancholia balanced out with upbeat production and mixing, “Can’t Blame” fills a hole that has been missing in pop.
We chat to biLLLy about rhythmical ideas, Mile End and emotions.
Describe your sound in three words?
Soulful, Dynamic, POP
What was your starting point for your track “Can’t Blame”?
The closer you get to someone the more dependant and vulnerable you become, and at times that emotion can feel stronger than the relationship. I wrote the song to work through it a bit.
What makes you want to create music?
It has always just felt like the easiest and most natural way to express my emotions. I love the feeling of creating a new piece of music and the process a song goes through to get to the point I’m ready to let it go.
What can we expect from your debut EP “Up In The Air”?
There’s so many playful hooks and melodies that ultimately make it a pop record, but I wanted to challenge the listener as much as keeping them engaged with the music. I’ve tried to be honest lyrically and with that comes a fair amount of melancholy as a juxtaposition to the general good feeling you get from the upbeat productions. There’s plenty of RnB and soul in my songwriting but I’m also a big fan of progressive dance producers too. There’s going to be more of that to come.
Who are your main influences?
SO MANY! quick ones off the top of my head – Prince, Arthur Russell, Drake
You’re from Mile End – has London’s music scene affected your sound?
Definitely, and largely because of the countless amount of new music there is in London. I feel the community we’re surrounded by gives out the best energy for creativity in music.
What themes do you like exploring in your music?
I like to take a melodic or rhythmical idea and build the entire piece of music from. Could be a 70’s soul track or maybe a west african record that starts the writing process, then I sculpt the ideas into my own feel. Lyrically the topics tend to drift into the kind of struggles we all go through.
What’s your vision for 2016?
Definitely continue to put more music out and push my sound as an artist. But also excited about producing other artists and projects too which is a big part of my creative outlet. Right now I‘m working with Colombian artist ‘Lao Ra’, this project in particular shows a more diverse side to my work.