Melbourne weird-pop provocateur Blyolk returns with latest track Artshole, an equally magic piece of glitchy off-kilter goodness to match the early rad standard set by debut Don Wowry. Self-produced and mastered by Joe Lambert, Artshole is a brilliant and ballsy statement on personal freedom and self-belief. To help decipher the Blyolk enigma, and extract his particular views on the music biz, he kindly answered the following questions for your information and pleasure:
WF: What’s Artshole all about?
B: Artshole to me is about being fearless, projecting yourself and saying exactly what you want. For me that is what I do in the blyolk project, I become a character, an exaggeration of myself. This track’s meaning has changed for me, but I don’t think this matters as it’s art which we all interpret differently.
WF: How have you found the music biz so far?
B: I think overall it’s really supportive. I learn more and more about managing myself as artist. For me, this involves separating the business from the creative process of my music. It’s super rewarding though, meeting so many other impassioned people, making great friends and learning so much about oneself along the way.
WF: Is it easy to keep it real and be authentically yourself, or is it challenging?
B: It is and it isn’t, it can be a real mental challenge at times. I often need my friends to bring me back down to earth when I’m getting too caught up in a particular thought. While it can be great to take inspiration from one’s peers, larger artists etc, it’s crucial to not compare oneself to the point where it inhibits one’s own creativity.
For me now it’s about controlling things I can control (the music I write, my live performances, my happiness) and trying not to worry about the things that I can’t.
WF: What sort of expectations are you having to deal with in the biz?
B: I think mainly personal expectations. My first track Don Wowry did far better than I expected. While I’m always proud of the work I make, the opinions of others aren’t up to me. I think Artshole a little more of a complex track, possibly less easy to catch on to, but it’s the music I needed to make at the time. Regarding other’s expectations, I feel that people (maybe even myself included) wanted a dancey psych pop project when Don Wowry came out.
I just don’t see the point in boxing myself in like that. I’m just not as creative when I’m trying to reproduce the same type of song. I think I write songs in cycles and if I happen to come back to something that sounds just like Don Wowry, then so be it. That said, I’ve developed little techniques and ideas that seem to flow between the writing/production/mixing of each song and that’s probably what helps tie everything together.
I’ve always loved melody and don’t find it particularly tricky to write a pop hook. I don’t have a lot of shame with pop melodies either, I really think it balances out my music to the point where I can do something completely strange and still have a tangible, recognisable element.
I love the genre tag ‘weird pop’ because it says so little and gives me so much scope for what I’d like to continue doing.
WF: How have you found the Melbourne music scene in particular?
B: Growing up as a musician in Melbourne at first feels like a huge maze to navigate, but is really such a connected wonderful place. I love how progressive it is, it opens my mind up to so many new ideas and at the same time though, there are so many voices which can be especially overwhelming (see the ‘Melbourne burns my eyes’ lyric in Artshole).
In a large place, It can be easy to follow others and equally it makes sense to do your own thing. Melbourne can be a real incubator for some interesting projects. For me I’m inspired here to make the music the way I want to, there always people willing to listen. It’s hard to know whether I would have been making the same music if I’d grown up in another place.
WF: What’s coming up for Blyolk next?
B: I’m finishing up a few new tracks which I might compile onto an EP for release in the very near future. I’d like to travel to more places, reach more people and write a lot more music this year. My single launch is this Thursday 9 March at The Workers Club. The amazing supports for the show are Null, Francesca Gonzales, Paradise DJs and Analogue Sunset DJs.
I’m also touring up to Brisbane playing two shows at the Foundry on Sunday 19th and Saturday 25th (Solo).
Everyone listen to Artshole and love it right now:
Photo cred: the talented Briana Davis