Toronto Producer on the Rise: Bwana
Serious interviews are boring. I wanted more than musical influences from the artist behind those sexy drops and glistening vocal samples, shaking up the music world one track at a time. Nathan Micay is situated to be one of electronic music’s brightest stars, quickly grabbing the attention of everyone from RinseFM to Resident Advisor, and now Mad Decent…except he grew up playing the banjo and listening to classical. Check out my interview below with the passionately driven and extremely honest Nathan Micay of Bwana, in which he graciously answers my questions on everything from a dream collab with Koreless, plans to incorporate instruments into his live set, if a genie granted him three wishes, Facebook, Odd Future and more.
AA: Describe your sound in one sentence.
NM: Meant for a club that has a fireplace.
AA: The layering of samples in your music is a big part of your sound. Can you talk a bit about that.
NM: The samples really started as a way to make my productions stand out. When I started producing last year I didn’t understand anything about drum programing or synths, and still don’t know very much, but I was able to make these catchy vocal arrangements by chopping the shit out of little sections of old Rnb tunes.
In doing that I’m able to use them as both a melodic and percussive element which I think makes my tunes sound fuller than they actually are, haha.
AA: Most outlandish description of your music you’ve read so far?
NM: “Like a flaccid penis becoming ever so erect until the final climax, exploding in your face”
I remember reading that on a blog in August just after I put Baby Let Me Finish online. Stuck with me more out of me being disturbed than flattered.
AA: What artists are you really digging and would recommend to a music nerd like me?
NM: Kevin Mcphee will be the biggest name to emerge in 2012, I have no doubt.
Jesse Futurman is working on the follow up to his debut EP, it will be nothing short of amazing from what I’ve heard.
Really enjoying what I’ve heard of the new Midland EP
AA: Where do your song ideas come from? And what is the song creation process like for you?
NM: Um they just sorta come. It all depends on the weather really. I work best when it is sunny. I just sorta sit down and start out on something. I pick some random accapela and only use that one per a song. I’m determined to make something with the supplies given in that one vocal, sorta a challenge to myself I guess haha.
AA: What is your live set up like?
NM: At the moment I’m using an APC 40 and moving closer to a full ‘live’ thing.
I don’t wanna be one of those dudes with loops who calls them self a live show, if I’m gonna start billing as live I wanna incorporate my keyboard(s) and drum pads etc…I hoping to have that done by the end of summer.
AA: You play a variety of instruments, including the viola. Any plans to incorporate any of those instruments into your live set?
NM: I haven’t played my viola in a while. I’m big on my banjo these days. I think it would take a while to figure out how to use that in a live show, but I’d love to do that.
AA: What’s next for Bwana? Full length? Tour? Any plans to come to the US?
NM: My remix for Arthur Beatrice came out last month. I plan to take a few months to catch up in sound design and production techniques. People seem to think that I know what I’m doing when in truth I’m quite amateur, so I’d like to gather the tools to make better songs. I’m moving back to Canada in August, so perhaps the US will come about.
I’m touring the UK and EU for the summer.
AA: What food/dish best describes your music and why?
NM: A shwarma, because it is very layered and there are many ways to approach it.
AA: Explain Twitter to your grandparents.
NM: Facebook for people with ADD.
AA: If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?
NM: 1. All the powers of Goku from Dragon ball Z…I could make world peace with that and get into the NBA.
2. A time machine
3. The ability to drift into cartoons and be a part of episodes.
AA: What’s your favorite sound and why?
NM: An A-minor chord strummed on a good banjo. I just love it.
AA: Dream collab. If you could collab with anyone, who would you pick?
NM: Koreless maybe? Jamie Vex’d?
AA: Are you a big spoon or little spoon?
NM: I prefer to be a fork.
Word Associations: (Just say the first thing that comes to mind)
AA: Immature, obnoxious, attention whores.
AA: Snobby while sometimes very enjoyable.
AA: Me standing in a corner sober.
AA: An addictive, but useful tool.
AA: Honestly, just release the ‘Changes’ Harmonimix, please.
AA: Mixed feelings
AA: Yea they aight
AA: Daunting, but fun.
Finish this sentence:
The best way to listen to music is….in the car, alone.
The last song I heard today was….Jesse Futureman-Funds
When I was in grade school my favorite band/artist was….Brad Paisley
If the internet disappeared for a week, what would you do with all your free time?
AA: I’d probably be incredibly happy…but only for a week.
You can get Bwana’s beautiful remix of Arthur Beatrice’s “Midland” single on 12″ wax here, and be sure to hit up his Facebook for all the details on his last few European shows before he heads back to Toronto.