[INTERVIEW] BIJOU Talks On His New Single "Saint Tropez", Pioneering G-House, & More
Once every few years, an artist comes along with a vision that helps shape the future of music. The head of the global g-house movement, known as BIJOU, is one of these artists. Stemming from the mind of Phoenix-born Ben Dorman, BIJOU has cultivated this signature genre of house, which has grown exponentially since its emergence. However, this innovative DJ-producer hybrid first broke onto the scene when he dropped his thrilling collab with Dr. Fresch, "Hello", in 2016.
Fast forward seven years to today and BIJOU has become a household name in the electronic music spectrum. In addition to viral house heaters, like "Chop It Up", "I Know", and "Kung Fu", BIJOU founded his own label, DND RECS, which highlights the best upcoming established g-house artists. He has also showcased his blend of hip hop and classic house at EDC Vegas, Escape Halloween, Freaky Deaky, Lollapalooza, Shambhala, Beyond Wonderland, and other prominent venues. With mind-bending upcoming releases and highly anticipated performances, BIJOU is on track for a killer 2023.
Check out iEDM's exclusive interview with BIJOU below.
iEDM: How has growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as its music scene influenced your tastes in genre and career as an artist? What is your favorite venue to perform at in Phoenix and why?
BIJOU: Growing up in Phoenix in the 90s I really got that west coast hip hop vibe that was coming from Los Angeles. It bled into our city and you can feel that culture embedded into the culture here. It's one that has stuck with me since the age of seven when my cousin first showed me who Tupac was. I gotta take it back to my roots with that one and say Zuma on Mill Avenue. It's where I got my start and began building a foundation in Phoenix. I still pop by there from time to time.
iEDM: Your fans often refer to you as the king of G-house. How would you describe this subgenre of house to someone who’s never heard it before?
BIJOU: The best way to describe G-House is hip hop vocals over a 4x4 house beat with a grimy baseline. Plain and simple.
iEDM: What was the process behind taking Baby Keem’s lyrics from “Gang Activities” and building a bassline around them in “Gang Gang”? Why do you think rap and hip-hop blend so well with your production style?
BIJOU: Honestly, I was in a mood where I just needed to hear some gangster shit and remember where I came from as an artist. I was immediately inspired and went to work and had the song done a few hours later. I think it allows me to feel free when I’m producing and have no restraints, which is important to me when it comes to the flow of writing my music.
iEDM: What inspired you to create DND RECS and what is the vision that you have for the imprint?
BIJOU: I was really tired of my music being turned down by labels. My sound never really fit a mold for labels that were releasing, so I wanted to create an avenue where I could represent who I am as an artist and the sound that represents that.
iEDM: Your sets are always full of energy and keep the crowd on their toes. What are some of your go-to mixing techniques during club performances to surprise your audience or quickly change their energy?
BIJOU: The biggest thing for me I think is taking risks and taking chances. If you aren't doing this then I really believe you aren't pushing the boundaries as an artist. A big thing for me too is mixing in key. It just allows everything to harmonically be seamless and more pleasing to the ear.
iEDM: What led to your collab with PAJANE on “Rude Boy” and what did you enjoy about working with him? How were you able to chop up the lyrics in a way that creates a sense of balance between them and the drum-heavy beat?
BIJOU: This one was easy because I was just a fan of his music. In the end, I'm a fan first and I want to work with people who I'm friends with and also a fan of. It made the process of us working together much easier because there was already a vibe. Vocal chops have always been a fun thing for me and something I implement in the majority of my tracks. The best way to do this is to slice the vocal itself to midi then you can move each word around in the arrangement you want it to be. Makes things super fun and unique.
iEDM: What have been some of the highlights of your Stay Fly Tour with MARTEN HØRGER? In regards to your production and DJing style, why do you and Marten make such a good team?
BIJOU: The entire tour was INCREDIBLE! He's such an amazing guy and just fun to be around. I think Phoenix, San Fran, and LA were the highlights for me. Every single city was great, but these rooms just had a different energy to them, especially SF. I think as a team he and I both bring our own vibe. We are opposites in a lot of ways but also very similar in a lot of ways which makes things really interesting in a lot of ways. We have an energy between us that's different from our solo sets and it's a different experience for the fans.
iEDM: Your recent track “Six Shots” is an absolute banger! What was the toughest obstacle you faced when producing this anthem and how did you overcome it?
BIJOU: First of all, thank you! I think the toughest part for me was getting all the instruments to mesh well. The steel drum is something new I've never worked with before and I wasn't really sure how it would turn out. Took me quite a bit of time to really find the right transition from that, to go into the build and drop.
iEDM: What sparked the idea for the steel drum used in “Six Shots”? What impact does it have on the track’s overall vibe?
BIJOU: I was in a vibey summery mood and I think I wrote this back in June or July. I can't really remember to be totally honest. I wanted to experiment with new instruments and this one really stuck out to me. It brought a different vibe to my music that was uplifting and happy which I really enjoyed The opening of your new single “Saint Tropez” encompasses chilling vocal echoes and an interstellar soundscape that grows in intensity.
iEDM: What was the process behind creating this intro and how does it lead the listener smoothly into the buildup?
BIJOU: The biggest thing with this was building tension that led into the drop. We didn't want to give the listeners too much at first but just enough to keep them interested before the full vocal hook came in.
iEDM: How would you describe the vibe of “Saint Tropez” to someone who’s never heard your music before? If you had to choose, what setting do you think the song fits best in and why?
BIJOU: The vibe with this record is upbeat, fun, and sexy. I want you to feel like you're at the beach with your best friends about to have the time of your life. This song fits any setting, it encapsulated the vibe of any situation.
iEDM: How does it make you feel that Zaerd dropped his first track on DND RECS and now you two have collaborated on this heater of a track? What similarities does your signature sound share with his?
BIJOU: It's been really cool to watch him grow as an artist and producer over the last couple of years. He actually started as one of my students in my online music academy I used to have while he was also going to ICON collective in LA. We've worked on a few songs together and never really been able to nail anything until we got this one. I think it's a mix of his more pop-based sound with my darker sound that really brought this record to fruition.
Photos courtesy of BIJOU
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