‘I’d describe my sound as a very pleasant train crash’: an interview with Bipolar Sunshine

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With one of the freshest sounds around, increasing radio plays and coveted summer festival slots, Bipolar Sunshine are sure to make it big soon. Especially when frontman Adio Marchant is such a super-cool guy. Previously a co-singer of ska band KiD BRiTiSH, his solo project Bipolar Sunshine is a fusion of different genres that keeps things interesting. His music is parts dreamy and uplifiting, and parts electronica and soul; his songs have less a distinctive sound than a feeling. With heartfelt, relatable lyrics and upbeat melodies, Bipolar Sunshine is a man of oppositions – a genuine musical contradiction. Sitting down with him on the first night of his tour at The Joiners, where he gave me good advice on the way to live a happy life, you really get the sense he seems to live by his song lyrics ‘Love More Worry Less‘ and a motto of ‘I’ve been low, but I’ve been higher‘. It’s hard not to be charmed by someone who seems so passionate and open about their music.

So you have quite an individual sound. For someone who hasn’t heard your music yet, how would you describe it?

As a very pleasant train crash.

A train crash! Okay! How have you shaped your sound to how it is now? Has there been a build-up?

The build-up has just been from getting better and used to what we’re doing. Obviously I worked close to Jazz Purple; everything’s a development, just developing the sound, playing more shows, you feel new ideas come all the time, so we’re always redefining and refining at the same time.

Do you have a writing process? Where do you get your inspiration for your songs?

Songs can come from overhearing conversations with your friends or being in certain predicaments yourself, and that’s how the angle starts. I rarely go ‘oh its 10 o’clock, let’s sit down and write a song now’. There needs to be a moment of inspiration. That’s why it’s good to have a phone, you can just record it to your phone, record the melodies, and usually when you get those back, you can work from them.

What about the inspiration for your lyrics? Where does that come from?

Life, having to live that life of going through relationships and hard times and shit times and getting over it. Everyone can relate because everyone goes through it at a certain point in their life. I think we’re all human beings, and if you get it down to the rawest form, which is like, your love and hate relationships, or your simple emotions, then you’re going to feel the same things.

What are your plans for after the tour and the rest of the year? When will we get an album?

The album should come out at the end of the year. I’m going to do some more tours, play some festivals this summer and also we’re going to go back to America at some point.

You were at SXSW – do you think America is good for you?

Yeah, culture-wise it’s great, shows were great, it felt comfortable to be there. It was more of a place I wanted to be to be honest, as in the culture and the way they take music over there and the vibe that I’m trying to come with, I felt it was pleasantly placed there. Not that it hasn’t been nice in the UK, I wouldn’t write it off, but definitely America is somewhere I can see myself living.

You mentioned that you’re going to be doing a lot of festivals. You’re on the line up for Parklife this summer; how did you feel when you got the news?

Yeah same stage as Snoop, we’re gonna make sure we partake in his certain circumstances and his –isms, and make sure we get involved. I  wanna smoke with him to be perfectly honest, maybe just get a little photo with him.

That’s the dream. What are you into music-wise at the moment?

Music-wise I don’t know… I feel like every time I turn the radio on, I want to turn it off again.

Well I don’t know what radio you’re listening to cause we heard YOU on the radio last night actually – in the Radio One Live Lounge last night doing a cover of ASAP Rocky, but I’d heard you do it before; do you not like covering other songs?

We were meant to do another one, Lorde’s ‘Team’. It’s a tune innit, but we had to change what we were going to do because CVRCHES had done it before. We got told we could do it but by the time we got round to it CHVCHES had already done it which was PANTS.

Oh no! I’m really sad, I would love to have heard that.

I wanted to make it a challenge.

Do you have a pre-ritual before you go on stage?

Yeah, we all scratch each other’s backs, intensely… No – what we do is we have a little shot of Sailor Jerry’s before we go onstage. It’s just the way we do it. We all look into each other’s eyes, like true Vikings. You can partake if you wish.

That was our ritual before this interview so I think that makes sense for us! So what’s your inspiration for doing what you wanted to do?

Inspiration is just life, and trying to make life better for everyone else around me to be perfectly honest. You see people in situations around me and you think like, can I try and help out? My mum’s a strong person behind me so I’m always trying to do the best by that, and just look after your friends and family. It’s pretty simple, I think people like to complicate shit. I’m enjoying this shit. I do this every day; I wake up and make music.

Do you prefer playing bigger festivals or smaller, more intimate gigs like tonight?

I don’t know, like tonight could be amazing compared to festivals, but at a festival, when someone’s in the same tent or whatever, you know they’ve practically come to see you, cause they could just leave the tent. You don’t really need to stick around at a festival to watch something you don’t want to watch. It should be nice to see how it is this year as we were really new on the scene of what we were doing, so now we’ve had a bit of time to develop it, it’s going to be nice to see if people come out and get involved at our show.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Get Hans Zimmer on strings, Beyonce… some people I hear their music and I’d love to collaborate with them, the usuals like your Kanyes and Pharrells, the best at what they do. But if I had to pick a new person, I’ve been getting into this guy called Travis Scott. He’s pretty sick, I’m liking the angles he’s coming in with. He’s just an artist making great music, and that’s the basis of how music is moving now; a lot of the good artists – good musicians – aren’t just rappers or singers, they’re able to come in with more than the one format.

Just like what you do! Are there any artists you aspire to be like?

Dolly Parton.

You’re almost there I think…

There’s no one I really aspire to be like, just carve a name for myself. A lot of people I use for inspiration: Kanye, Morrissey, Pharrell, I like Pusha T…

Do you have a performance persona on stage or are you just yourself?

You have to go along with what the music is, there’s no point in the music being a certain way and then going against it on stage, it’d just be like ‘what is this?’  I allow it to take place, I allow the music to take over and the energy to take over, relying on who’s playing just to manoeuvre and that always shapes the way we go about doing things. Just got to allow it to happen naturally, otherwise it’ll look forced. Cause people aren’t stupid, they know when it’s fake. It’s going to look daft.

So you set your own record label up. Has that given you more authority over how you present yourself?

We set our own label up, so now when we’re talking to the labels we get our own leeway, more than most artists would get. You can’t give them everything. If they have have fifty acts, they’ll give you all the same marketing strategy. It’s good to work with people but  you have to be hands-on. It’s your shit, if you’re gonna allow someone to do what they want to with it, remember what you want. I’d rather do what I want than what somebody else does.

Thanks for your time!

No worries. Vibes.

Bipolar Sunshine have just announced a show at Shepherds Bush on October 17th and tickets are on sale here. You can catch them playing this summer at festivals such as Parklife and Secret Garden Party.

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