Bijan Amir is a humble dude. From the moment I hit him up, I could tell he was grateful for every relationship he had cultivated from friends to artists to producers. He’s worked with a host of great artists, most famously, Rory Fresco. He’s only 20 years old and has already created timeless beats that are sure to catch more and more ears.
We recently wrote about his amazing EP Wild. It was only 2 tracks, but I was so drawn to it. It’s the best piece he’s come out with and I couldn’t wait to learn more about it.
As you’ll read further in the interview, this dude is way beyond his years. He always tries to not only better his music, but himself. It is admirable. He answered these questions so meticulously and it was so beautiful to see. Get to know Bijan, his humble beginnings, upcoming work with Rory Fresco and Jazz Cartier, and his sound progression.
Hey Bijan. Thanks for sharing your time!
Thank you so much for taking YOUR time to write these questions Julie!
I want to start off with the question I’ve wanted to ask the most. Why no picture of yourself on SoundCloud and Twitter?
There’s honestly no crazy reason for this, I don’t do it to be mysterious, I do it so people can judge the music before they associate a face with it. They can find out what I look like on Instagram easily, but it a lot of time people create assumptions based on a look, and I want to just let the music do the talking.
Ok so you just released the EPIC EP Wild. I posted it, admired it, and still listen to it. How the fuck did you create this??
Yes, I did! Thank you so much. Wild was interesting to create. I had been finished with The Baddest for MONTHS, but didn’t want to release since I felt I wanted to save it for something more special. King Kong on the other hand, I had started a few days prior to the release of Wild, though I wasn’t really feeling it. Later on in the week a wave of inspiration hit me, I was able to build around it and it became what it was, I couldn’t stop building around the beat, I fell in love. That song itself gave off such an animalistic vibe, I put together the EP and named it after that song, as soon as I finished it.
I wrote about the quality of the album artwork. Who designed it?
This is embarrassing … I found it on Google. I searched “minimal animal artwork” and that was one of the first things I saw. I believe it was an iPhone wallpaper.
One of your first tracks ever posted on your SoundCloud was with Rory Fresco. How long have you been cool with him?
Since roughly the time I posted that track, maybe about a month before I had met him over Twitter through a mutual connect, and from there that’s been my brother. I always knew he would blow up and I love working with him.
I do admit it’s kind of an odd track. It sounds great but some may find it experimental. How did the song do commercially? What space were you in when you created it?
It was a test track of sorts, I wanted to test out some new vocal mixing software I had recently acquired. I asked him to send just a random acapella for me to mess around with. I ended up liking it so I built a beat around the acapella and released it just for fun, it wasn’t anything too serious. I liked it, and my friends ended up liking it too, it’s definitely different but I think the concept is cool. I would love to revisit it and make a new song using the same lyrics.
You remixed his track ‘low-key,” and have provided a ton of beats for his songs. Can we expect future collaborations on YOUR albums?
On mine? If his label allows it, I would love to have him feature on some beats – he definitely knows how to make my beats pop. So if the labels allows it, yes, you can expect future collaborations.
What some may not know is you’ve produced for a ton of artists. Your playlist #BIJAN4THE1TIME can attest to that. How did you create all of these relationships?
A LOT of my relationships on that playlist started on Twitter. It’s such a powerful tool and great for connecting with people. Rory, ‘shaad, Hudson, Izzy, Vince, Rashaun, Journell, Auzel, Wilson, Alex Preston, and Ohini I met through Twitter, usually from them hitting me up asking for beats, and just built from there. Of course a lot of these people are much more than Twitter acquaintances now, and have become good friends. Zeina – I met through Instagram, she hit me up (no pun intended) about working together and she has such a great voice how could I say no! I’m really excited for what she and I have coming. VNCHY, I met through a mutual friend, Jordon Manswell. Jordon introduced me to VNCHY and his crew to help out with some production for V’s projects, and from that point we’ve continued working. Grant Chris I met because someone stole my beat, sent it to him, and he rapped over it. When I found out we rectified the situation and continued working.
You’ve produced almost an entire album for Journell Pierre. It sounds so dark, yet so cohesive. What are your thoughts on your collaborations with him? What was that like…working with him?
I need to send that guy more beats! Journell is a great lyricist and his flows are nice as hell. I enjoy working with him because he understands how to sit in the pockets of my beats well, and always finds a flow to match. Putting together that project was fun – it was really the first time my name was all over a project, so it was a good feeling. He was very receptive and open to any kind of beat and made working with him fun.
Let’s talk a bit about you. What are your humble beginnings? How old are you, where are you from, etc.
I’m 20 years old this year, from the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga to be specific. I’m just a regular kid who likes to do well in life, whether it be school, music, sports, etc. I was born and raised here and have thankfully been fortunate enough to have parents who have provided me with a great life. I’ve never been musically trained and my family doesn’t have a background in music, so I guess I’m the black sheep.
When did you catch the beat making bug? How long have you been producing?
I was 12 years old, Grade 7. Now that I’m 20, I guess that totals to about 8 years of producing. It’s been a long journey, but it will pay off. I started making beats because I was pretty uncool when I was young, I was unconfident, self-conscious, and I mean I wasn’t the most attractive guy. I saw that the cooler kids liked hip hop music and figured that could be my way in, so I started listening to the genre and fell in love, especially with the melodies and beats. I downloaded FL Studio 9 shortly after and the rest is history.
What is your history with music? Which artists did you listen to in your childhood?
I actually never was a big music fan until I started making beats. I loved movie and video game soundtracks, but nothing really in terms of lyrical music. When I started producing, Lil’ Wayne was a huge inspiration, I always wanted to, and still do, want to work with him. I started discovering new hip hop artists and enjoyed all of it. Roughly a year later, I got put onto Drake when he dropped Over in 2010. I actually didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me, and now I love that song. My entire musical background has been hip hop related, which may be a bad thing but I think I’m doing okay, haha.
How do you think you’ve progressed since your first beat?
My first beat – wow, I just listened to it to answer this question. My beats have definitely become more complex, and intricate by all means. The melodies, the drum patterns, the drum sounds, all have evolved. My first beat(s) were very simple, basic, boring, copy-paste from what I was hearing. Maybe 5-6 patterns maximum. Nowadays I try to experiment a lot more, to separate myself.
What do you think is your best quality as a person and as a producer?
I really try to work as hard as I can in my life, and always try to keep it real. As a person, working hard means I try my best to succeed at school, be a good friend, and do things that make me happy as a person. In production, it means striving to make more connections, make better beats, and try new things. Keeping it real means staying true to you, if I don’t like something, I won’t do it. If I don’t like you, I won’t talk to you, or produce for you. Simple as that, if the vibe isn’t there, neither am I. I think it’s important to me to be these things because it defines me for who I am, not who everyone else is.
Has music helped you in your daily life? What does it do for you?
It helps me think, and it helps me take the stress off from school. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in making a beat and losing track of time as you just keep building and building. When I start overthinking things and getting stressed out by school, I start on a beat and it helps sort out my thoughts.
Back to the music…your last EP was called Self Poor Traits. Obviously this is a play on words. Explain the title please.
The title was actually not my creation, it was my friend Thomas’ (@thomasfelt). He is so great at art and I felt the art and caption for that piece was perfect. To me, I understood it as a reflection of poorer traits that one sees in himself or herself. I obviously have my flaws and my insecurities and I always find myself reflecting on these traits, which is why the title spoke to me. A self-portrait is a reflection of self, but spelling it Poor Traits I think Thomas was trying to convey the idea of looking on the bad aspects of oneself, which I loved.
This, in my opinion, is a very different sound from WILD. What message were you trying to get across on SPT?
You start with a Romance, but as the sample from the song suggests, it’s not perfect. Eventually, you move onto the Nexxt one but you can’t help feeling the Deja Vu as you again find yourself in a broken relationship, and you can’t help but feel like you’ve been here before. Cara is really just a bonus track I threw in because I thought it was hard. I think however, everyone can relate to the struggle I described with the first three tracks, and that was the message I was trying to convey.
You’ve been dropping pretty short EP’s…are we ever getting a full length from you?
Hopefully! I want to, when I have more time, work on something a bit longer in length, maybe 7 or 8 tracks, but only if I feel each track can both stand on its own and as part of a group. Hopefully I could get some of my friends to feature on some of the instrumentals as well.
Can you share who you’ve been working with in the past couple of months?
Some really great people. Jazz Cartier, Sean Leon, Zeina, ‘shaad, Rory, and VNCHY mostly, artist wise. All of whom inspire me to make crazy, better beats.
You seem to be a really humble dude…but what was the most exciting point of your career? What recognition have you gotten?
Thank you, I try to be. This is a hard question to answer, as I am easily excitable haha. Probably the most exciting part is having my peers respect me, tell me my beats are nice, and support me. That’s what I care about most, having my peers in production and artistry, tell me that they like my stuff. People like Frank Dukes, Metro Boomin, Travis Scott, and Jazz Cartier have told me they mess with me, and I have created connections because of that, which is really exciting.
Any last thoughts, shout outs, or words of wisdom?
This has been really fun, thank you. I’d like to shoutout my girlfriend Molly one time, she always holds me down. As well as the person who set me straight on the path today all those years ago, Wondagurl. I would be nothing without her!
My departing words of wisdom – don’t be a certain way just because people tell you that you should be. Do things that make you, you! For instance, I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t do any drugs, never have even tried it, but that’s because I don’t want to, and that’s my decision. The real ones will respect that, as my friends do, and fakes will try and clown you for making your own life decisions. Keep doing you and don’t mind the fakes, life is a lot easier that way.
Thanks again Julie!