Hey Bionik, I know you’ve got an extremely busy week ahead with the COMPAS Arts & Crafts event on Sunday and your choreographer showcase at the Cowles Center this weekend so thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Can you tell us a little about your background and what art form you teach?
I am a composer/producer/performer who has spent most of my life creating music. Through teaching, I strive to help others reveal their inner artist and ignite the spark of creativity by creating music, writing songs, and using modern technology.
When did you first become interested in music production? Who were some of your influences?
I have always been fascinated by music and the processes of recording and song arrangement. I produced my first album at age 19 for Scottish crooner John Martyn.
Quincy Jones is a huge influence on my approach and style, as he is not only a composer, but also a musician. He helped me realize that a true producer helps to bring a song to its ultimate and most accessible level. Much as an editor does for writers, or a curator does for a painter.
What do you think is the most valuable thing creating music can teach someone?
That we all have music inside of us. It is one of the most ancient and sacred of art-forms that can transmit emotion, connect us and touch those around us... if only we open our hearts and minds.
What do you gain from teaching that you don’t gain from creating your own work?
Watching someone realize that they can create something beautiful and personal through music is truly inspiring. This inspiration fuels my own work, and builds positive connections in our communities by allowing many perspectives to shape and influence us.
Can you tell us where your professional name Bionik came from?
My super hero name was given to me 20 years ago by a friend and artist named Griffen who said I was “part human, part machine.”
Have you been working on any new projects lately? What are they?
Presently I am music director for the upcoming Mixtape Part 3: MP3 choreographer showcase at the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts May 10th-12th. I also have a new album in the works for local diva Sophia Eris (GRRRL PRTY, Lizzo), produced by myself and Lazerbeak (Doomtree, Shredders) which is due for release later this summer. In addition, I just got some of my songs placed in Ubisoft’s Trials Rising video game, and Comedy Central’s new hit show The New Negroes.
You joined the COMPAS roster last year, why did you want to get involved with COMPAS?
I wanted to help enable and inspire my Minnesota communities by facilitating the creation of music and allowing individuals to tell their stories. I also wanted to expose youth and others to new technologies and lessen the fear factor involved with using computers and software in the creation of today’s music.
What do you see as benefits of working in the Minnesota arts community?
Minnesota has done so much to shape my own artistic voice and vision, I want to give back and contribute to the rich fabric of the arts that exists here. There are also many under-served communities here that I believe will benefit from exposure to “non-conventional” paths and careers in the arts. Art is the foundation of a healthy society.
How do you practice creativity in your everyday life?
I spend many hours every day creating, planning creative ventures, managing projects and setting goals in order to complete and present my musical ideas with the humble hope that I may touch or inspire others through my art. Almost everything I do has a connection to the creative process.
Anything else you’d like us to know about your amazing career?
I feel very fortunate to be part of the COMPAS team, and I hope I can be an example that a career in the arts is not only possible, but extremely fulfilling.