Seeing as this new music Friday will be spent by most basking in the British sun, we thought it only fair to introduce you to our new favourite artist ahead of the long weekend. Making his debut, 36Birds is exploding onto the scene with his eclectic cut “Boy”. One to have you headed straight towards the dance floor, the artist’s synth-laden vocals meet a soul-piercing production on the track which is sure to have you in a trance and letting loose on the dancefloor. Also accompanied by a candid music video, the track situates itself as the perfect introduction to 36BIRD’s serene sound.
When discussing how the track came to fruition, the artist explained, “When ‘Boy’ was created I was initially working on another song but needed some breathing space from the project. I had been listening to Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and we just started having fun with the melody and references of the original song. In my head, it was just me at a party, exploring the options and atmosphere.”
Upon the release of his debut single, the artist sat down with Wonderland to talk the meaning behind his name and a year filled with new releases. Head below to enjoy our conversation with 36BIRDS…
Hey 36BIRDS! How are you doing? How has this past year been for you?
I’m doing good, thank you! The past year has been a bit of a rough ride! I went through a lot of changes and I still need to adapt to everything but it was also super nice to find some normality again, to be able to work on what I love and to reunite with the clubbing scene, of course. A lot of us had to put our projects on hold, so you can definitely feel the extra drive, which is great.
Let’s start with your name! What inspired you to create such a unique moniker?
The name 36birds comes from a hallucinogenic plant, mainly used in Central Africa, that they call trente-six oiseaux – 36 birds in french. The psychedelic drug was used for rituals and initiation ceremonies but has found its way among the pleasures of the youth. I like how the name leaves room for interpretation. It does not give away a lot about the artist behind it. It does not immediately call a specific genre in mind, it could be the name of a rock band, a techno DJ or whatever.
Would you say your Congolese heritage influenced your sound in any way?
It‘s funny because I never really thought about this until my mother pointed something out. I grew up listening to a lot of Papa Wemba, a Congolese rumba singer, and you can hear his influence in how I use and play with my falsetto voice.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
I think my biggest influences must have been The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. I was obsessed when The Weeknd when he came out with his first mixtapes. He was this underground phenomenon and came with this new sound. And then of course as a gay man, Frank Ocean definitely opened a door for me! I remember when I listened to “Thinking Bout You” for the first time and peeped him singing about a boy, it was the first time I was really able to identify with a love song.
What is most enticing about writing music for the club scene?
For many people, the club scene has been a place to escape from everyday life and where we can finally be ourselves. It’s where I first found love, acceptance and formed connections with my friends. So if I write music for the club scene, I write music for the ones going through the same things I went through, exploring the same things I did then.
And congratulations on the release of your debut single, “Boy”! What went through your mind when you coined this track?
When “Boy” was created I was initially working on another song but needed some breathing space from the project. I had been listening to Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and we just started having fun with the melody and references of the original song. In my head, it was just me at a party, exploring the options and atmosphere.
How does it feel to release your first track? Does it make you feel nervous or excited?
I’ve been waiting for this for so long so I’m super excited that it is finally seeing the light. Of course, I’m nervous because my life or at least a big part of it basically depends on it, but I’m mainly just happy to put out all this music I’ve been sitting on and set the ball rolling. Let’s see what happens.
And it also comes with a dynamic music video, what do you hope people can take away from it?
I hope it is as fun to watch as it was to film. It is basically just footage cut together from videos we filmed on gopro cameras and iPhones whilst “Boy” was being recorded. Just like the song, the video came together by me just having fun with friends, playing around and going loco.
And finally, what’s next for you? Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
I definitely will be doing more visuals and get back into the studio to work on an EP, but first I will be releasing my next single “Break Me” later this month, which will be followed by “Free Now” in June. They both come with remixes by some of my favorite artists such as VTSS, Rui Ho and Anastasia Kristensen, to name a few.