Born in Moldova, now living in NYC, Serge Bulat is an electronic music producer / singer-songwriter, whose hybrid sound fuses electronica, neo-classical, trip-hop and alternate elements. Equally distinctive and fascinating, Bulat’s forthcoming LP Queuelbum, see him take the listener on a time travel inspired journey, with experimental music, visuals and conceptual art all in store for the fans.
1inmusic: What is unique about you and your music?
Serge Bulat: I think it’s pretty difficult to describe your own sound and still be humble about it. I would have probably addressed this question to a critic or someone, who would be as unbiased and restrained from my music as possible… If I speak about “Queuelbum”, which is my most recent project, it’s a whole mixture of music genres and various art forms: I’ve put writings, photo and video art into the album’s representation. All revolved around temporal relocation, and, generally, why the clock is the biggest trickster of all time. While working on the concept, I suddenly became this sci-fi nerd, who would ask these strange questions, like “what the black holes spit out, and if it was an audio, how would it sound like?” … At the same time, I felt like a project of this kind, had to have a visual body and talk in philosophical language… this is pretty much what Queuelbum became: a sonic, visual and philosophical meditation on the subject that intrigued me for years… or a quest to find an answer, if you like.
This is what my drive comes from: music and art explored in all the possible dimensions. The more I look into the future of music, the more interaction I see …
1inMusic: What shaped your music and who supports you?
SB: Life certainly, and, the lack of opportunities to write music. I had, and have, a contrasting life… coming from a small, isolated country locked by land and built on outdated values, – to a place of experimentation and pulsating art scene, which is what New York undoubtedly is. Always wanting to make music but, for instance, having no piano or a basic laptop to train my skills. I’ve consumed music as much as I could: from listening to records, going to all sorts of concerts, to music education and hosting my own radio shows. Then, there was a moment of realization: – “I had to start contributing to the field I love and it has to happen now”.
I am super lucky to have family and friends who supported me from the start… I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. At the same time, people who weren’t there – stimulated my perseverance too. It’s all about balance…
1inmusic: When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?
SB: When I experienced the moment of clarity, understanding that there is nothing in the world to fulfill me the way that music does. And, as soon as that realization happened, – life made more sense. If I think about it, there was always a part of me pulling towards it: radio, theater, sound production and remixing… I suppose it was a matter of time, before I fully dedicated my life to music.
1inmusic: What type of music do you listen to?
SB: Depends on the mood or stage of life I’m in. But essentially: classical, electronic and lots of world. I’ve been listening to Wagner, Puccini and The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices lately. Olafur Arnalds is also incredible, and I absolutely love Anoushka Shankar’s “Land of Gold”. It’s stunning! Then there are James Blake, M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, who I think are truly phenomenal. This is just to give an idea of how diverse my playlist is.
1inmusic: Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
SB: I think, calling an artist “undervalued”, means branding him as unhappy. Artists I admire were initially underappreciated, but that doesn’t necessarily make them unhappy. Fact is we all have our own priorities and values… Bach lived a miserable life, but composed the most magnificent pieces, that built a foundation for the next generations of musicians. Tesla offered free energy and other groundbreaking ideas a century ago, but was overshadowed by Edison, though see how much their inventions matter now. Then Modigliani and Picasso, and so on… It depends on one’s perspective…
Nowadays, for an “indie” artist, a small sold out show in Brooklyn could mean great success; for a major pop star – 75% filled stadium a complete disaster…
In today’s music world, art is generally undervalued… The artists, who are trying to push the boundaries and deliver quality + innovation, are sinking under the shock value and immediacy of the internet. Trends are great, but won’t inspire or substitute creativity.
To answer the question: the producers and songwriters, who are left behind curtains and rarely given full credit for their work.
1inmusic: How do you prepare for your performances?
SB: Queuelbum is more of an audio-visual experiment and the goal is to deliver it “installation style”. And although music comes first, the presentational aspects are to maximize the impact of its message. I worked with Michael Rfdshir and Abraham Sprinkle on visuals, and we all agreed, that the best way to fully experience this material, is to show it in rather intimate spaces. The premiere of “Third World River”, which is the centerpiece of the project, took place at a small art festival in Paris, France. While the video was screened in Europe, Michael hosted an art exhibition in his native Russia; I promoted the album in New York and Florida on my end.
We will keep doing this kind of things and bring the work to other parts of the world.
It all might develop into something else completely (as the Queuelbum has proven so far), but this is what the project is for now.
1inmusic: What ignites your writing flow?
SB: Life inspires me; so much to get done and experience…
There is this inexplicable urge to write something, and I’m always restless, until I actually place my hands on the keyboard and play. I walk a lot, and while walking, I’m the most creative. My mind is racing; I get super hyper and can’t wait to get home to capture a particular thought or feeling. I love open spaces, and like walking non-stop until I get tired. It’s nearly impossible to do so in New York, but, luckily, there is a boardwalk near my house, where I pretty much come up with new melodies and ideas. I put Queuelbum together this way….
1inmusic: What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
SB: I accumulate experiences, which, eventually, develop into themes for my new projects: from reading books, listening tons of music, to traveling and meeting new people. I love literature, and when in the reading phase – can finish dozens of books in no time. I get hungry for information…
Then, I have the same appetite for movies and documentaries. I’ve just recently re-watched all seasons of “X-Files”, Peter Brook’s “Mahabharata” and “Planet Earth”.
When travel, I spent time whether on the beach or near mountains… nature reminds me of who I really am…
1inmusic: Success to you is…
SB: … Being able to do what you love the most. No boundaries, no compromises, – just creative freedom… It’s a very big question, and, honestly, means a lot of different thing to people.
1inmusic: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?
SB: Tolerance. I am super blessed being in the music at this age; as an adult you have more patience and wisdom. I try to see thing for what they truly are… If you get a “no” in response – that’s totally ok. It might become a turning point, eventually refusals make you bolder and braver. There is a lot of negativity; people are more interested in mocking you down than supporting all the way through. Important is to have a vision or to be a part of a great one… There is no point in waiting for perfect timing, just do what you love, believe in what you do, and luck will eventually find you. I’m not trying to teach a lesson here, I feel like I am giving advice to myself too. I always believed in the power of “try”…
1inmusic: Any upcoming projects?
SB: I’ve been working on remixed version of “Queuelbum” recently.
Got some very talented producers from all over the world, involved so far are : Feral Creatures (UK), Andres Gavidia (El Salvador), Brux (Italy), Clan Balache (Argentina), Kossko and Jake Jones (USA). Some tracks sound completely different from the originals, as the challenge was to bring the record to the dance floor. If Queuelbum is for “absorbing and thinking”, the remix album is for “bouncing in ecstasy”.
And that’s the next release for now.
1inmusic: Where do we find you music / music project?
SB: My latest album is everywhere, from iTunes and Google Play, to Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud. I constantly post updates on my projects on social media, (@SergeBulat) and now, for instance, give away a free track to the ones who found a special Q-card or Queuelbum promo material in New York and Orlando newspapers. You can find all the details on sergebulat.com. Cheers!