Russian producer Biicla is a rising artist in the international indie electronic music scene. Biicla was discovered by Good Luck Have Fun Media, the same artist management company that introduced Mason Ramsey, Whethan, and Oliver Tree. After achieving success in Russia, he recently made his name in the U.S. by releasing his first two global releases, “No Place” in August and “Girl” in October.
Aside from his music career, Biicla is also a visual artist and has been studying graphic and and clothing designer for the past three years. On November 25, 2019, he released his latest single, “Heart & Stay”, which is a very energetic house banger that is sure to pump up crowds in nightclubs, festivals, and house parties alike. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with Biicla, who may become a globally-known name in the future.
Kenny Ngo: What influenced you to become a DJ?
Biicla: Electronic music in Russia started to gather pace in 2011 and it was something new for me. That time, I discovered music by Gemini, Flux Pavilion, Skrillex, Chasing Shadows, and Foreign Beggars. They inspired me and I realized that my music tastes became different from my friends. It seemed to me that I got a mission to enlighten people and show them a new, promising sound for those times. That’s how I started to think about becoming a DJ.
Who were your favorite bands, DJs, and/or artists before you began making music?
In my childhood, I liked Blink 182, Green Day, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit. Then I found EMINEM, LMFAO, Chemical Brothers, and Black Eyed Peas. All of them had their own unique sound and image, that’s what I really liked.
How was your music career like in Russia when you began?
It’s important to notice that the word “producer” has a slightly different definition for most Russians. If we’re speaking about my DJ career, everything was bad. I wanted to play non-business music that my friends and I like, so there were no future prospects. Then I realized that I needed to make my own parties. Just gather soulmates and start doing something. That’s how I started to meet artists and get deep into making music and creating my original style.
In your opinion, what are some of the major differences between the Russian electronic music scene and the American electronic music scene?
I don’t think the difference is huge. We have lots of promising artists if we mention them. But there’s another story with venues. Simple and, I would say, primitive, virus music is in high demand here. That’s why we don’t have a large electronic stage here.
How do you feel about creating tracks that are streamed and liked by many international music listeners, particularly those that live in the United States?
To be honest, I couldn’t even dream about it. I’m a bit worried when I see other artists support me or when I check the statistics. I’ve never thought not just my friends would listen to my songs.
How did you react when you heard that your track, “No Place” was praised by Billboard?
I still can’t believe it happened. Many Russians don’t know what Billboard is, that’s why this case means nothing to my local listeners. But for me, it’s great respect and motivation to make music.
You released “Girl” in October, what are the significant features of the track?
It’s a good question! Of course, “Girl” has a deeper significance for me rather than for a casual listener. This track is really about girls; the sound is unpredictable and it changes from a cozy opening into an enchanting and blowing drop, then it’s calm and smooth, and then goes that broken beat, you got me? The track is about mental instability and unpredictability of girls, about beauty, joy, and sadness. When I found the a cappella, everything fell into place immediately.
How was it like producing the remix for Kanye West’s “Use The Gospel”?
It was just a while ago, I spent 40 minutes on the remix, had rest and finished it in a couple of hours. It was just a version for my sets. I sent it to management just to check, but then Adam said that Kanye’s label approved exclusive release on Trap Nation. I was shocked like for a week and couldn’t believe that it was really happening.
How was it like producing your latest single, “Heart & Stay”?
This track may not be a banger, but it’s so simple and light and this must be its peculiarity. That is what many new listeners really like. I was looking for something unique but comprehensible and then I was looking for vocals for a long time. The old version is longer and sounded a bit different, so another difficulty for me was to cut it and leave only the best. I think I managed to do it.
Do you have any suggestions of Russian electronic music festivals people should attend?
There are not too many cool electronic music festivals in Russia. The most popular is, of course, “Alfa Future People”. This year, AFP was a little bit under the crowd’s thumb, so opinions vary. There is also a festival of atmospheric music called “Abstraction”. It is about lo-fi music, as well as ambient and so on.
There is another cool festival, “Present Perfect Festival”. If you are a techno lover, you will definitely enjoy it. Also, there is a party in Belgorod (I think they can be called a festival soon) called “Karma”. Unique design and location, the very warm audience compensate for the small shortcomings of the organization but they are on the right track!