Everything Distorted, Cuz That’s How I Really Feel: A Conversation with biichftt

by Nolan Moss aka donttrustlando

N: Could you introduce yourself? How would you describe what you do?

B: I’m Lesli, I make music as biichftt, it’s kinda weird electronic, angsty stuff. I’m leaning
into visuals and editing as well now, just trying to broaden my horizons into other
creative things.

N: Right off the bat, I’m gonna hit you with a quote. Recently on Twitter you said
“everything distorted cuz that’s how I really feel”. I’ve noticed that you’ve been
posting more visuals lately, like the snippet for “wait 4 me” that dropped a couple
weeks ago. I wanted to ask why you started in that direction, and what’s behind
the sort of distorted, grainy style you’ve been going for with those visuals?

B: Why I started? Probably just because I’ve always had a fascination with good visuals
alongside music, and also out of the force of not having anyone to provide that. So I had
to start learning and teaching myself editing and stuff like that, just like I did with
Ableton. And now it’s more about, I have more visions where I can hear a song and
have a completed vision for what that visual could be, even if it’s not my song. Going
into the distorted thing, that tweet’s really real cause on the front level of the art, yes, but
also my mental state feels distorted a lot, and where I fit in the world feels distorted at
times. So having that go into the visuals, I want stuff visually to look very distorted, but in a pretty way. Also growing up with early 2000s music videos on camcorders and stuff,
obviously reaching for that stuff that I grew up on.

N: You said “distorted, but in a pretty way” and I feel like that’s such a perfect
way to describe your music. Going back to the visuals, you recently shot a video
with Rocco Bunko for a song off their upcoming album. If you had to pick one of
your own songs that’s released to do a really professional high-end video for,
what song would it be, and what would that video look like?

B: Right now, that’s out, probably “closer” with pearlblade. That song came out a few
months ago, but it’s not fully released (on streaming). I’m trying to rehash it, re-master it
and then do a full release with the video. As far as what it would look like, it always gave
me sort of a wintery feel, so I want snow to be there, just leaning back into pretty but
distorted. It would be peak beauty, but with a digital haze over everything.

N: Speaking of pearlblade, I was looking back through your catalog and realized
you don’t work with a huge range of producers. You tend to keep the circle pretty
small, but you’ve worked with pearlblade and lily forest a ton. How did you meet
those two, and how would you describe the process of making music with them?

B: So that was earlier this year when I first hopped on Twitter and started promoting
myself online. I just ran into lily through Twitter, they sent me some beats and we made
a song super quick. I started chatting with them just on the friendly side of things,
getting in Discords and stuff, and then through them I met pearl. Pearl was actually
living like a 10 minute walk from where I was living at the time, which was just a crazy small world thing. More Discord sessions, and we’ve just kept in touch. I’ve been
working with pearl a lot, we have some more stuff coming, hopefully a project soon. I’ll
always have love for pearl, I love everything that he does.

N: So I know you semi-recently moved from Iowa to Philadelphia. What was life
like growing up there, what’s the music scene like?

B: Technically Minneapolis, and I just stopped at my parent’s place in Iowa for two
months before I moved out here. Technically I grew up in Iowa, but I’ll just call it growing
up in the Midwest, because it’s the same vibe there. I moved from Texas when I was 11
to Iowa/Minnesota. The Midwest was immediately a culture shock, everyone has these
really nice like nice family values, but they’re also pretty behind on pop culture, and
music and art and the things I’m into. I haven’t felt heard in the Midwest much, whether
it’s listening to my songs, or doing projects. The Midwest is influenced by the Midwest,
and I knew I needed to jump to a bigger city if I wanted to be around more like-minded
people.

N: Since moving to Philly, do you feel like the move has influenced your music or
your process at all?

B: Absolutely, first just meeting all my Twitter friends here, it kind of goes into what I was
saying about (the Midwest) being behind in the times and what’s on the internet now.
That’s our baseline for communication and news or whatever’s new. Everyone in Philly,
I met them on the internet, so I knew everyone was gonna be up to speed. And then since I got here, it’s been night and day. It’s been very inspiring, and I feel seen and
heard here. There’s a real place for niche internet music in Philly.

N: On that same thread of being more heard and seen, you recently played your
first ever in person show. How was that experience?

B: It was wonderful, I was so grateful to have all my friends out, I’m glad you came up
and performed our song, that was such a moment for me. It was dope. I’ve been waiting
to do a show that was exclusively mine for a long time, cause I’ve DJed in the past, but
this was my first show as biichftt. Definitely learned some things, some things I don’t
want to do again, but I’m super grateful for that experience and the people I was able to
share it with.

N: It’s probably worth noting that that was a hardcore show. You were the only
electronic act, and then it was four hardcore bands, which I thought was super
fun. You did some classic, more hyperpoppy biichftt, but you also played some
heavier songs. Is bridging genres and not trying to get pinned down into any one
sound something you focus on?

B: Yeah absolutely. On our project there’s a lyric, “They try to shove me in a pocket.”
which is like, I’m not gonna let anyone shove me in a pocket, not even myself. As soon
as I feel comfortable in a certain genre or style I’m making, as soon as I reach a peak
where I’m comfy, I’m like no I need to switch it up. I need to get out of this pocket and try
a new one. I definitely get sick of people worrying about whether their song or a song
that they’re hearing is cut out in certain genres, because I don’t view music that way. I think it’s a culmination of all your influences up until that point, put into this feeling you’re
trying to convey. Whatever that ends up sounding like, sure there’s some genres you
can pull out, but mashing those together is super important to me.

N: Is there any specific sound you haven’t tried that you want to experiment with
in the future?

B: I’ve been making a lot of dance stuff lately, I’m gonna preview a song tomorrow that’s
straight up dance, clubby style. I’m having fun with that, I also used to be super into
RnB, and I want to do some digi-RnB, but still angsty and raw and distorted. That’s
gonna be my deep winter project I think, but I haven’t really touched that yet. I want it to
be more soulful feeling, but still pulling from those same angsty places.

N: So the same kinds of lyrical inspiration, but the music itself just being more
soulful?

B: Yeah, I also want to try doing music that feels distorted, but isn’t as physically
distorted. Assembling the textures in a way that feels gritty, but is really twinkly and
pretty.

N: Going back to the Midwest and your roots, what was your introduction to
making music, was there any song or artist where you were like “I want to
replicate that.”?

B: So back in like 2011, I was just on YouTube trolling around and I found UKF dubstep
tutorial, like the first one. It’s literally a song that’s a tutorial on how to make dubstep,
and I was like wait, people are making this on their computer? Like you can just be one person and make a whole song? Two more clicks, I found Skrillex. That’s when it took
off, I literally googled “what does Skrillex make music on” and that’s how I found
Ableton. I went and ripped Ableton that day, and that’s how it started. I had an
obsession with Skrillex, I had the Skrillex haircut. It was just years of Youtube tutorials,
watching high-pitched kids try to explain how to use a synthesizer. I was trying to make
dubstep and EDM starting out, I made a few Zelda brostep remixes that are still out
there in the deep woods. A lot of self taught, and then I finally reached a point a few
years ago where I was like “Ok, I know what I’m doing now.”

N: It’s so funny, there’s so many people in the scene that come from different
directions, but the one thing uniting everyone is Skrillex.

B: That fact is so close to my heart. Every time I hear that Skrillex did it for someone
else, I’m like you get it. I think it’s beautiful that he was able to inspire an entire wave of
people like you were saying. Everyone in the scene has some pull from Skrillex.

N: Going off that, if you could pick one producer to make a song with, and then
one vocalist to do a feature, who would it be?

B: Vocal feature would absolutely be Alice Glass, production would probably be Skrillex.
I want him to do the song and then get Alice to feature.

N: What have you been listening to recently?

B: Mostly my friends’ stuff, some 2013 era hardstyle like Ephixa, mid 2000s club. A little
bit of deathcore, there’s this Japanese band called DEVILOOF, they’re this really scary nasty deathcore with cool aesthetics. I’ve also been really getting into vampire
synthwave stuff, and I’ve been dabbling in making synthwave. Scenecore too, Sleeping
with Sirens, Breathe Carolina.

N: It’s funny you mention Ephixa, didn’t he also have some Zelda remixes back in
2012 or so?

B: Yeah, he had the hardstyle version, so I was like let me try to make the
brostep/dubstep version.

N: As we wrap things up, do you have anything upcoming that you want to
promote?

B: Our project, whenever that comes out. We’re aiming for December right? That’s my
major focus, I want the most attention on that for this year. Until then, just gonna be
some dance songs, some different styles I haven’t dropped before which I’m really
excited about. Also, this is super secret but I’m gonna be making plush bags. Like one
of one, super exclusive plush bags like chummy. Eventually, different versions of
chummy.

N: I’m so glad you said chummy, because that’s something I really wanted to talk
about. Can you explain to people who are uninitiated what chum is?

B: Okay, so chum is just chum. Like chum can be anything, chum is a noun, a verb, an
essence if you will. You can be chummy, you can literally be chum, you can be lacking
chum. It’s a multifaceted word that conveys so many emotions. I like to think of it like when light goes through a prism and shoots out so many colors, that’s what the word
chum is. Whatever you need to put through it, it can convey that emotion. The chum
prism.

FOLLOW biichftt:
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FOLLOW donttrustlando:
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