The Futurist: Bipolar Sunshine and the ‘Aesthetics’ of his Life
Editor’s note: Welcome to TheBoombox’s new column The Futurist in which contributor Sean Lynch aka Kidd Future introduces readers to best emerging talent in the ever-changing worlds of hip-hop, R&B, and progressive music. This week Kidd Future talks to Manchester UK singer Bipolar Sunshine.
Born Adio Marchant, the 29-year-old Bipolar Sunshine was the lead vocalist of the genre-bending (and criminally slept on) band KiD BRiTiSH from 2007 until 2012. Now in 2013 Bipolar Sunshine is making noise as a solo act and can count DJs in his native England as well as Harlem’s A$AP Rocky among his fans and supporters. Bipolar Sunshine got Rocky’s attention when video of his emotional cover of ‘Long Live A$AP’ made its rounds on the ‘Net this June. However his proper introduction came in the form of his debut EP, ‘Aesthetics,’ which dropped in July. The project features vivid, image-evoking songs like ‘Rivers,’ ‘Fire,’ and ‘Blossom.’ A listen to the EP is trip into abstract recesses of Marchant’s mind. Too far out for you? Read our interview below and learn about the Bipolar Sunshine experience from the man himself.
Who is Bipolar Sunshine? What was your first introduction to music?
Bipolar Sunshine: My name is Adio, I’m from Manchester, United Kingdom. My first true introduction is courtesy of my mum, who was the one who first introduced me to music. From what I can remember she played a lot of reggae music and The Carpenters. My dad was actually a drummer.
As far as the name, I wanted to create an ideology for myself. Something to write towards, that gave me scope to write whatever I wanted … without being constrained by anything.
Outside of music what was your life like growing up?
BPSS: Life growing up was standard, my mum and dad split up when I was four. I wanted to play football [soccer] before music. It wasn’t until I was 19-years-old when I suffered a bad injury that I stopped [playing football]. I was always making music with my friends, but I never was too serious. Life was good outside of music, I mean bad things happen but they happen to everyone, so we just keep going. Interesting enough I used to work with my uncle, making grills, we made a pair for Rihanna last year.
Explain your artistic approach to music, from the titles, to the subjects, all the way to the artwork.
BPSS: My approach all started with the name. I chose “Bipolar Sunshine” to help me tailor my ideas and concepts, as I like having something to write towards. Most songs I freestyle for a while, record it, then go back and listen to it and piece it together. Songs like ‘Fire,’ the first two verses were just freestyles that I left because I just liked it and the flowed nicely. The titles always come at the end. I always have to visualize what I’m saying so I can paint a picture in my head and figure out where the story is.
You seem to have a very intricate recording process. Where does your inspiration come from?
BPSS: [It] all depends. I usually work with my main producer, Jazz Purple. We know what angle that Bipolar Sunshine’s sound is, so it has to be emotive and be thought provoking. Even the melodies have to be strong. Then refer back to the name Bipolar Sunshine and find a topic that would work in this lane.
Will you always release music under the name Bipolar Sunshine?
BPSS: No, I’m working on another project as we speak. I have a few [other] names I’m going to use.
Why are doing music under other names? Do you think that will have a negative impact to your legacy?
BPSS: I find it very therapeutic to write different projects. It grants [me] space and allows me to see different things and angles that I don’t want to mix into the same project. I think it will only enhance my legacy to be honest .. Look at David Bowie.
At what point in your career did you choose to start your own label rather than signing to one?
BPSS: Before this I was in a band [KiD BRiTiSH] and we were signed. We didn’t know anything about the industry we released one record and was dropped. That was because we didn’t establish anything with the release. So I decided to set up my own own label to put my first EP out, thus allowing me to build something for myself from the start. I think it is important, so you can put your own views and artistic values down first. People get a much clearer view of your style and concept.
You’re one of the best kept secrets in music. What type of mainstream co-signs have you received and if you haven’t is that something that matters with you?
BPSS: No, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just doing me, you know? The right people will hear me at the right time. I did a cover of A$AP Rocky’s ‘Long Live A$AP’ which he posted on his site and even mentioned it in an interview in Poland. He played it for the interviewer saying it was “dope.” That was so cool to see, as I’m a fan of the whole A$AP Mob movement.
Explain the plans for the rest of the year and 2014. Will we see a studio album?
BPSS: No LP till at least 2014. I am currently working on my second EP which will be out in October. Just going to keep building, keep enjoying and making music. I know what its like to make music that you don’t enjoy. It becomes a job and music can never be job for an artist because then you are doing it for the wrong reasons.
The genre-blending aspect of your sound is riveting. Do you like not being placed in a box?
BPSS: It’s alternative-pop. As that means everything, but still means nothing at the same time. I believe genres died when downloading music began.
Speaking of downloading … What are you listening to right now?
BPSS: Arctic Monkeys, Miguel, Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus.’ I’m actually getting into Future as well.
What body or bodies of work do you inspire you the most? What are some of your favorites?
BPSS: To start I would have to say Michael Jackson‘s ‘Bad’ and ‘Off The Wall.’ Lauryn Hill‘s ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,’Kanye West‘s ‘College Dropout’ and ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ The Smiths’ ‘Meat Is Murder,’ Coldplay’s ‘X & Y,’ Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ and last but not least, Drake‘s ‘Take Care.’