Some artists seem to have an entire life before they turn to music. That is entirely true for Bijou who, prior to his establishing his kingdom in G-house, was a professional baseball player, studying to be a defense attorney, and dabbled as a trance producer.
Then something magical happened in 2012, and Bijou found his calling: blurring the genre lines between house and hip-hop. He’s played ginormous festivals like Paradiso, Das Energi, and EDC Las Vegas. He released a brand new EP last month, G-Code, and is currently on tour with Angelz and Ciszak.
We had a chance to talk to Bijou after his set at Electric Zoo, and you can read it in full below:
You’re pretty huge in the subgenre G-house. How’d you get interested and involved?
I was always trying to find a way to mesh hip-hop and house music. It was probably 2012 I heard Torren Foot, Rondo, Destructo was playing from Australia, and I thought, “Oh, they did this.” So I decided I was going to figure out my own way to incorporate my sound and work it in different ways. That’s what I’ve done, and I’m incorporating a lot more hip-hop into it.
Was it always a part of your sound?
I started as a trance DJ of all things. I always loved hip-hop, though. I kind of gravitated, and as soon as I found that, it clicked. Trance was hard, I never really wanted to produce it. I was always trying to find my sound. Once I found G-house, it immediately just stuck. Over time, it’s progressed.
You’re announcing a big tour in the fall. Do you have any dream destinations?
Brazil, Australia, which I’ll say both of those we’re working on for next year. This tour is going to be a North American tour. I’ve been really wanting to go to Vancouver. I went there previously, but just to go, not to perform. London, China, and India. India is number one. So everywhere.
If I had to really pick, it would be India for sure. I’m so intrigued by their culture and everything that goes on there. In some of my music, you can actually hear it. That would be my number one destination.
Have you ever been there before?
I have not. I was playing in Salt Lake [City] a couple weeks ago and someone I met had just been there on a tour and said it was amazing. We’ll make it happen.
Do you have any favorite shows you’ve played?
Paradiso was probably one of the top ones. The Gorge, you can’t go wrong with The Gorge. Das Energi was amazing. EDC Vegas! I got to play EDC Vegas main stage. That was something I never dreamed of. I never thought it would happen. I thought I’d probably play EDC at some point, probably not main stage, but then we got the offer.
My manager, him and I go back and forth messing with each other. He sent me a message saying “Yeah, we just got the EDC main stage offer,” and it was on April Fools’ Day. So I didn’t believe him. I hit up my agent, and that’s when I found out it was for real.
Is this your second tour?
Yeah, second tour. We did the Guru tour in the first quarter of the year which was amazing. We booked that tour ourselves. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so we just decided to book our own tour.
Did you travel with an entourage, or was it just you?
Um, no. It was just me and my tour manager, who gets to go with me to most places.
Got any weird tour stories?
Not really. We’re pretty low-key. I’ll go with no, for now. [pauses] Well… Electric Forest was amazing.
It seems like a really cool set-up, being totally immersed.
Yeah, and we did artist camping. I just went. I wasn’t performing. Dr. Fresch and SNBRN were playing, so I knew I had to go. I needed a vacation really bad. It wasn’t much of a vacation, it was more like one big party.
I got a story for you! It was the third night, and we all decided to have a crazy after-party. We took a crane, and you know the lighting fixtures you can actually power stuff with? The crane took the lighting fixture, picked it up from one spot in artist camping and brought it to our campsite so we could power CDJs and speakers. We had an insane party ’til 11 AM. Fresch, SNBRN, Ekali, Jackal, Cherub… It was an insane huge B2B for hours and hours. Win and Woo were there too. It was the first time it had ever happened. There had never been an after-party in artist camping.
Maybe it’s a new tradition!
I don’t know if I’d go back like that. [laughs] We were there for a week! By the end, I was dead, but it was great.
You’re from Arizona originally. Where are you based now?
Phoenix! I’m still there. I don’t know if I will ever leave. It’s my home. My whole team is there, my family is there. Everyone always tells me, “Move to L.A.! Move to L.A.!” L.A. is only five hours away from Phoenix driving. It’s an hour away on flight. Vegas is right there; San Diego is right there. Everything is close. The scene in Phoenix is really growing. People are actually moving to the city right now because of the growth of the scene. We get multiple festivals a year there now. It’s strong and it’s growing.
I like seeing it from where I started to where it is now, because for me, that’s a homegrown thing. That’s important to me. I like to help other artists coming up there as well.
What’s your day-to-day like in Phoenix?
I wake up early, around 7:30, and go to the gym with my brother. I get coffee, then I’m in the studio eight or nine hours a day. It’s pretty much the same, every single day. It’s funny because people think producers have glamorous lives. On the road, yes, it’s great. Behind the scenes, what you don’t see is we work a lot. It’s 24/7. It’s almost like doctors that are on call. You’re always on call.
I’ll take a day off, sure. I’m still taking calls, answering emails. There’s never really a day off.
You’ve said in the past if you weren’t a producer you’d be a baseball player or a lawyer?
Correct. Where did you even find that? [laughs] I actually played baseball for my entire life. I played in college and professionally for a year and a half then decided I was done with it. I was going to school to be a defense attorney. I was a pre-law major. I probably would have been a defense attorney, but I decided, eh, I’m just gunna go the music route and see what happens.
My dad was a manager; he was in music for years. He plays the bass guitar and sings. I grew up around a lot of music. I decided to give it a shot. If it didn’t work, I could always go back to school. That’s not going anywhere.
Congrats on the new EP. Can you tell us about it?
Four tracks! For me, it’s my proudest body of work. The single’s been smashing. I’ve been playing that one and the collab with Torren Foot. That collab—we’ve reworked multiple times. It’s almost a year and a half old. We were happy with it, but we didn’t feel like it fit anywhere yet. I was saying Torren Foot was what got me into G-house, and I’ve always wanted to because it’s where it all started, and now it’s coming to light in the perfect spot, I feel like.
I have a feature from a rapper, this guy from San Francisco, Blak Trash. That’s cool. Four tracks are all club smashers. It’s out on Nightbass.
Do you have any dream collaborations?
That’s a big one. I would want to work with Kendrick Lamar or Future. Future all day—I did the cover to “Moneytrack” and I sampled Future, and I just feel like in a lot of ways from what I’ve read about him, he keeps very to himself and his crew. He has a solid crew. With what I’m doing, it’s very similar, so it’d be the same type of vibe.
Suicide Boys too. Rappers mainly because for G-house, the hip-hop scene is going to catch hold of it next. It hasn’t done it yet. Destructo’s done it, Wax Motif’s done it, but it hasn’t caught on yet consistently.
Guys are going to start getting features, and I want to focus on the rappers.
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