Mama's Mini-Interview with Birovius

Birovius is another one of those artists with such overflowing talent his creativity demands multiple outlets. He is deep thinker and a pithy Tweeter, a poet and a music creator. His music spans many genres. His classification of his tracks on Soundcloud includes: Rock, Electronic, Orchestral Jazz, Beat Generation, Indie, Metal, Dubstep, Classical, Pop, Ambient, Deep House, Hip-Hop & Rap, Religion & Spirituality, Soundtrack, and Sonic Tone Poem. WOW.

I first heard Birovius’ music last summer, on the episode of White Art Collective’s Saturday Night Livestream where I mispronounced his name. Biro-virus. BYE-row VIE-rus. I wasn’t even trying to make a WuFlu joke. And I’m pretty sure I encouraged Jeff to mispronounce his name, too. But we weren’t making fun of it, just clueless. Enter the Birovian Spirit. The following week, Birovius released a new track: “BIRO-VIRUS REMIX ft. Mama P. and Jeff Winston.” This playful genius snipped clips of us mispronouncing his name and made it a song. A good song. (For the record, I still don’t know the correct pronunciation. Is it bye-ROW-vee-us? Or maybe, bee-ROW-vee-us? Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. I’ll just call him AMEXOME.)

1. When did you start making music?

I came to music early on in life through my father's collection of classical music and Hungarian folk music. Early on I was drawn to the music of Grieg, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and other classical romantic composers. Later on, the sweeping Landscapes of Sibelius captured my imagination.

I don't know where the musical gene entered the family, I have a younger brother who is an extremely talented classically trained musician and composer, highly skilled in keyboards, with an incredible memory and relative perfect pitch. He won the Frank Sinatra Award at UCLA on of all things the pipe organ, which is incredibly absurd since it typically goes to singers. He played an original composition, which was incredibly complex and awesome. He performed it without a score, requiring him to memorize 4 separate lines of musical notation for 2 keyboard manuals, foot pedals, stops, and actions. We used to have heated arguments on whether poetry or music was the superior artform. Other than him there is no discernable musical talent to be found anywhere in our family line.

As for myself, I struggled greatly with piano, guitar, flute, and electric bass, never achieving even a moderate level of musicianship at any one of those instruments. I did show a glimmer of potential at writing music, however. At University I ran the music library in the evenings, where I had an immense collection of music to explore and many musicians to interact with. It was there I became obsessed with Bartok's string quartets, and his piano and violin concertos. I was also heavy into modern jazz and progressive rock and fusion. The first album I ever shelled out my own hard-earned cash for was ‘Deep Purple Concerto for Group and Orchestra’, just to give you an idea where my head was at. Later, I wore out Tales of Topographic Oceans. ‘Foxtrot’, ‘Nursery Cryme’, ‘Trespass’, and especially ‘Selling England by the Pound’ by Genesis were immensely formative. Okay, so now you know by the influences I mentioned that I'm at least 200 years old. No matter.

2. What inspires you to make music?

I actually began creating music as a background for poetry I was writing. I was looking to create a symbiosis between sound and spoken word. The two Gestalt tracks that I put together are examples of what I originally had in mind. However, I got carried away in exploring DAW's, soundpools and what they could do. Most of those explorations veered completely away from my original intent. Something completely unexpected came to the surface and took on a life of its own.

3. Can you tell me a little bit about your process?

I don't have any set process. Sometimes I'll have a certain instrument in mind or a certain rhythmic pattern to begin with. Almost everything I do seems to start in one place and end up somewhere completely different, like a sonic journey. I don't seem to be able to follow the norms of songwriting, projects end up mostly being experimental in nature. For me, music has a three-dimensional quality, it occupies space as well as time, like a 3 or 4-D puzzle. I have bits and pieces of music laying around for years at the time because I can't immediately solve the puzzle. When I get back to those fragments after time, interesting things tend to happen. Moving on, I like altering the dynamic energy of a track, extend the range of an instrument and then let it suddenly drop out, or bringing in an unexpected instrument for half a measure, and then gone, just to see if I can get away with it, all for the purpose of creating an expansive or mysterious landscape. These are the same things that appeal to me in poetry: Tension and Release, Intensity and Serenity, Crescendo and Cadence.

In respect to all this, I consider myself to be a poet who has inadvertently stumbled into a form of sound-based poetry; I consider most of what I have put to music to be in the category of 'tone poems' or 'sonic' poetry.








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