BOKKEN 木剣

BOKKEN is a true cyberpunk, a creative musician and a kind human. With several releases under various labels and his signature TECHWAVE sound, you need to take a dive into the world of BOKKEN and receive a glimpse of the future. He was nice enough to give us a chance to explore his world and get some insight.

 

1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what style of music you create?

MY NAME IS KONRAD, AND I CAME FROM POLAND. I STARTED PRODUCING MUSIC WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD IN 2000. I’VE RELEASED SOME MUSIC ON NNJL, the_accidental_poet, NOIR, AND CZELUŚĆ AND 3 SELF RELEASED EPS AND PLAYED TWO TIMES AT CZELUŚĆ FESTIVAL WHICH IS A BIG POLISH FESTIVAL THAT FOCUSES ON BASS MUSIC AND BOOKS PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND ALSO PROMOTES YOUNG POLISH ARTISTS. AS MY NAME SUGGESTS, I’M FASCINATED WITH JAPAN, ANIME AND MANGA, AND ALSO SCI-FI LITERATURE AND MOVIES. I CREATE MOSTLY MY GENRE CALLED ‘TECHWAVE‘ WHICH CAN BE INTERPRETED AS TECHNOLOGICAL WAVE/MOVEMENT IN A SENSE OF CULTURE, OR JUST AS A “FUSION” OF TWO GENRES: TECHSTEP DNB AND WAVE.

I DON’T LIMIT MYSELF WHILE MAKING TECHWAVE. IT GIVES ME FULL FREEDOM ON WHAT I CAN DO. I CAN MAKE AN AMBIENT TRACK, SOFT WAVE TRACK OR MORE HEAVY DNB INFLUENCED STUFF. MY GOAL IS TO TAKE EVERYBODY ON A MENTAL TRIP WITH MY MUSIC AND VISUALS, JUST TO TELL A STORY ABOUT THE FUTURE AND TEACH SOMEBODY A LESSON. I JOKE THAT MY MUSIC IS FROM THE FUTURE, COS I HAVE A SYNESTHESIA AND FOR ME SOUNDS ARE COLORS, SHAPES, OR SCENES, AND VICE VERSA. SO I CLOSE MY EYES AND FULLY EMBRACE THE SETTING I WANT TO INCLUDE IN MY STORY AND TRANSFORM IT INTO THE SOUNDS. AND MY MOTTO IS “STAY SAFE, STAY TRIPPY”  😉

2. Who are your influences?

OH THERE ARE TOO MANY TO SAY, BUT I MOSTLY TAKE INFLUENCE FROM BOOKS, MOVIES, ANIME AND MANGA AND THAT TRIGGERS ME ENOUGH TO MAKE A TRACK. IN TERMS OF MUSIC… BILLAIN !!!! THIS GUY IS INSANE IN HIS TRACKS, VISUALS AND AESTHETICS, AND HE ALSO MAKES FUTURISTIC STUFF SO HE IS MY BIGGEST IDOL, BUT ALSO NOISIA, EVOL INTENT, G JONES, DEADCROW, AND MY POLISH FAM SOKOS, LOAA, AND BIG UP TO GEDZ RAPPER AND PRODUCER THAT INSPIRED ME FOR A LONG TIME AND HE IS THE REASON WHY MY CARRIER EVEN STARTED !!

3. Do you have a method or pattern on how you create each song?

I DO HAVE A SPECIFIC WORKFLOW AND COLOR CODING COS OF MY SYNESTHESIA. THE BASS IS VIOLET, LEADS BLUE, DRUMS ARE RED, PERCS ARE GREEN AND EFFECTS ARE YELLOW. SO I ALWAYS GROUP SOUNDS IN THAT MANNER. MOST OF THE TIME I MAKE EVERYTHING IN ONE PATTERN AND THEN I JUST SIMPLY MAKE ‘A WHOLE TRACK’ AND ASSIGN TO MIXER CHANNELS AND BUSES, AND THANKS TO THE FUNCTION IN FL STUDIO CALLED ‘SPLIT BY MIXER CHANNELS I HAVE THEN EVERYTHING SEPARATED INTO PATTERNS AND I CAN ARRANGE AND MODIFY FREELY.

I DO A LOT OF SOUND DESIGN STUFF, OR JUST TAKE A SIMPLE PRESET AND MODIFY IT TO SUCH EXTENT IT CAN’T BE RECOGNIZED, COS I USE A LOOOOOOOOOOOOT OF GLITCHING AND ‘ERRORS’ COS EVERY MACHINE MAKES ERRORS. PEOPLE JOKE THAT ‘I BOKKEN THE SHIT OUT OF SOUNDS’ HEHEH. MOST OF THE TIME I JUST START WITH A LEAD, BOKKEN THE SHIT OUT OF IT, MAKE A REESE BASS, AND ADD SOME DRUMS ETC AND VIOLA. THEN SOME ARRANGING AND SOME CRAZY AUTOMATION AND THE TRACK IS DONE. IT TAKES ME FROM 1H TO 20H TO FINNISH A TRACK. FOR EXAMPLE, “DIGITALIZATION” THAT I RELEASED ON CZELUŚĆ TOOK ME 10H AND 23MIN AND IT’S ONE OF THE MOST COMPLICATED TRACKS I’VE EVER MADE.

BOKKEN 2

4. You create concept albums that tell a larger story as a whole rather than just a random collection of songs thrown together. Is there a specific inspiration for this?

I ALWAYS TRY TO RELEASE AN EP ON MY BIRTHDAY (15TH DEC) AND EVERY TRACK HAS A MEANING AND EVERY ALBUM IS BASED ON SOMETHING. MY FIRST EP CALLED KOMOREBI (SUNLIGHT FILTERING THROUGH TREES) COS MY SURNAME IS GAŁĘZIA (WHICH MEANS A BRANCH IN POLISH) AND I CALLED MYSELF BOKKEN (WOODEN TRAINING KATANA), AND IN THE SAME MANNER AS A BRANCH NEEDS TO BE MADE INTO A BOKKEN, I HAD TO DEVELOP AS AN ARTIST TO GROW, TO NOT ‘SEE THE SUN THROUGH THE TREES’ BUT TO GROW ENOUGH TO BE ABOVE THE FORREST.

ALSO MY FIRST TRACK I MADE AS BOKKEN WAS MOKUTON NO JUTSU (A TECHNIQUE FROM NARUTO THAT THE USER CAN FIGHT WITH A WOOD AND PLANTS) THAT I MADE INSPIRED BY THE FIGHT IN THE NARUTO OF THE 5 KAGE VS MADARA. SO I’VE FINISHED READING NARUTO AND ADAPTED HIS ‘WAY OF THE NINJA’ THAT NO MATTER HOW BAD YOU WERE IN THE BEGINNING, CONSTANT TRAINING WILL MAKE YOU BETTER AND BETTER, AND YOU WILL BECOME THE BEST. SO KOMOREBI EP IS 100% ON NARUTO MANGA AND IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF MY JOURNEY.

IKIGAI (IN JAPANESE IT MEANS THE WAY OF LIFE), I’VE READ THE BOOK “FUTU.RE” BY DMITRY GLUKHOVSKY WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO ANYBODY INTERESTED IN CYBERPUNK, AND IT IS MY LOOSE INTERPRETATION OF IT. IT TAKES PLACE DURING AN EXTERMINATION MISSION THAT THE MAIN CHARACTER HAD TO TAKE, AND HIS CHANGE OF CHARACTER AFTER MEETING THE EASTERN PHILOSOPHY. I WAS SO FASCINATED BY IT THAT MY EP WAS READY IN JUNE. IT ALSO REPRESENTS THAT I FINALLY FOUND THE WAY OF MY LIFE, THAT MUSIC AND ART IS EVERYTHING FOR ME AND I WILL FULLY DEDICATE TO IT. EVERY TRACK ON THIS EP REPRESENTS THE EMOTIONS THAT THE MAIN CHARACTER FELT.

AND FINALLY THE TSUJIGIRI (A JAPANESE TERM FOR A PRACTICE WHEN A SAMURAI, AFTER RECEIVING A NEW KATANA OR DEVELOPING A NEW FIGHTING STYLE OR WEAPON, TESTS ITS EFFECTIVENESS BY ATTACKING A RANDOM DEFENSELESS PASSER-BY). IT IS THE EP I’VE RELEASED AS A FULLY FLEDGED ARTIST “A TRUE SAMURAI” AND IT IS ALSO AN INTERPRETATION OF AKIRA, MANGA AND ANIME. I TRIED TO BALANCE THE TRACKS IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE MOVIE AND MANGA STORY ARCS TAKE PLACE SO IT GOES FROM SOFT TUNES, TO HEAVY BASS TRACKS. IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY YOU WILL HEAR IN THE TRACK ‘LATE NIGHT IN NEOTOKYO’ THE VOCALS FROM THE ORIGINAL AKIRA SOUNDTRACK, A HOMAGE TO THIS MASTERPIECE.

5. You also DJ. What sort of music do you do in those sets?

THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE. I PLAY BASS MUSIC. DNB, DUBSTEP, GRIME, AND EVERYTHING THAT IS WEIRD OR GOOD ENOUGH TO TRIP EVERYBODY INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION HEHE. I ALWAYS TRY TO MAKE PEOPLE REALLY FEEL THE VIBE AND MAKE THEM GO WILD.

6. What are some of your favorite films or series?

MOSTLY CYBERPUNK AND SCI-FI ONES. AKIRA, GHOST IN THE SHELL, THE MATRIX AND ANIMATRIX, BLADE RUNNER AND ITS SEQUEL, ALTERED CARBON, OBVIOUSLY NARUTO, ATTACK ON A TITAN, AND I LOVE DARK TOO. I ALSO HAVE TO POINT OUT THAT MOST OF THE PHILIP K. DICK’S NOVELS ARE HUGE INSPIRATIONS FOR MY ART.

7. What is it about cyberpunk culture that fascinates you?

IT’S EVERYTHING, TECHNOLOGY, THE POLITICS, THE PEOPLE, CITIES, THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, THE ARTIFICIAL LIMBS, THE A.I. I MEAN EVERYTHING. I DO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALREADY LIVING IN A CYBERPUNK SOCIETY BUT I WOULD LOVE TO LIVE IN A  MORE FUTURISTIC WORLD AND HAVE AN A.I. COMPANION, AND THAT I COULD CONNECT TO THE COMPUTER SO I COULD MAKE MUSIC AND ART FASTER AND BETTER.

8. Any recent albums or releases you’ve been listening to a lot?

OH WHATEVER I FIND ON SOUNDCLOUD COS I DIG A LOT. JUST CHECK MY REPOSTS HAHA. BUT RECENTLY I LISTEN TO DEADCROW – TRANSMISSION EP, AND GEDZ – BOHEMA LP, AND BILLAIN – NOMAD’S REVENGE LP.

9. What valuable lessons have you learned since you started making music?

THAT PATIENCE IS THE KEY AND LIKE NARUTO, NEVER STOP BELIEVING NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE SAYS. I’VE BEEN WAITING 17 YEARS FOR BEING DISCOVERED AND NOW MY HARD WORK PAYS OFF. ALSO YOU NEED TO STAY HUMBLE AND HELPFUL. THAT’S WHY I EVERY TUESDAY I HAVE A FEEDBACK SESSION WHERE I HELP PEOPLE WITH THEIR TRACKS, COS I LOVE TO SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE.
AND REMEMBER, STAY SAFE, STAY TRIPPY 😉

 

BOKKEN 木剣:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Spotify

Soundcloud

Instagram

BOKKEN 4

 

 

Author: [ESTÉTICA CIBERNÉTICA]

ESTÉTICA CIBERNÉTICA is a record label based out of San Francisco.

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