20 Questions With Blond:Ish: The Producer on Crypto, Digital Detox & When John Legend Made Her Cry
By Billboard Staff
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By Billboard Staff
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This strange era of dance music (and human) history is also one that Blond:ish is uniquely well-suited for.
Everything about the Canadian producer screams "of the moment," from her exhaustive knowledge of Bitcoin and NFTs, to her participation in the global Clubhouse community, to her successful Twitch platform, her mission of eradicating single use plastics from the dance scene, her efforts to balance an affinity for tech with the grounding comfort of nature -- and, of course, her music, which hits that Burner/Tulum/sunset-to-sunrise/deep house/high-vibe sweet spot that transports you to the tropics, even if only in your mind.
Case in point is the latest Blond:ish release Human Nature (Day). Out today via the artist's own ABRACADABRA Records, the mix album was curated by the producer, and features contributions from a globe-spanning collection of acts including Carla Valentia and Achilla. A companion project, Human Nature (Night) drops in April.
Much of this new music will surely be heard during Human Nature's marathon release party, a four-day online affair that began Thursday (March 18) and continues on through the weekend, with more than 50 hours of music from many of the artists involved in the Human Nature project. Streaming live on Blond:ish's ABRACADABRA TV Twitch channel -- which Bakos runs with her partner Liana Hillison -- the weekend will also include the season two premiere of Blond:ish's weekly Human Nature show, billed as a "multi-sensorial experience [that] preaches positivity, participation, hedonism and healing energy."
Here, Bakos talks about cyrpto, digital detoxes and the time John Legend made here cry.
1. Where are you in the world right now, and what's the setting like?
My partner Liana and I are currently in Hawaii, part business, part pleasure. We came here two years ago with our friend, who brought together a bunch of musicians to jam and make music in paradise. This time around it’s just a few of my close friends and a studio setup. Magic is on its way!
2. What's the first album or piece of music you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
Great question! Probably something from Soundgarden, Green Day or Pearl Jam, and it was most definitely a CD.
3. What’s distinctive about the place you grew up, and how did it shape you?
I grew up in a middle class family in a small town in Canada. The life there was pretty mundane and simple, nothing crazy ever happened. I couldn’t wait to get out to explore the world, and so I did. I think growing up there made me pretty humble -- or sometimes I like to call myself naive!
4. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid, and what do they think/did they think of what you do for a living now?
My parents were both blue collar workers. My dad was a sailor, and my mom was my mom! When I told them about wanting to pursue music, they were very supportive and always trusted the process. The only thing they asked was that I finish my degree, so I’d always have something to fall back on. For years, they would always ask me when I’d stop, always thinking this was just a hobby -- until last week, when they asked me to invest in crypto for them. Now they think I’m a superstar!
5. What was the first song you ever made? Who did you play it for, and what was their reaction?
"Lonely Days"! I made some DJ friends of mine listen to it, and they all loved it! They were all very surprised about what I had done with the song. Up until then I had no idea it was actually from a movie!
6. If you had to recommend one album for someone looking to get into electronic music, what would you give them?
Daft Punk, Homework.
7. What’s the first non-music gear item that you bought for yourself when you started making money as an artist?
Easy -- a bemer mat! You lay on it for a couple minutes a day, and the pulsed electromagnetic waves help create a better blood flow, which serves so many benefits!
8. What was the first electronic music show that really blew your mind?
It was a rave in Toronto, Honey Dijon was playing. I was 12 or 13 years old! I remember being on message boards way back then, that was how I was able to sneak in, and even made a fake ID. I vividly remember the sweat dripping off the ceiling and the insane energy. I was high on life!
9. Your cause is eradicating plastic, through your nonprofit Bye Bye Plastic. Give us your top three reasons plastic is lame?
Yeah, my non-profit, Bye Bye Plastic, is dedicated to removing single-use plastics from the music industry by 2025! Plastic sucks because: 1) it doesn’t satisfy the cyclical loop of nature, it doesn’t fit in our system; 2) it affects our endocrine system (our hormones) and for women especially, it can affect fertility; 3) and of course, it hurts our animals and our planet.
10. As a person who travels a lot, how do you cut down on your own plastic consumption?
Every time I go on a trip, I do what Liana calls "plastic" surgery, where I scan everything that goes into my suitcase and see where I can eliminate plastic. It’s a really good practice because it allows me to change any bad habit I might have picked up.
11. You know a lot about cryptocurrency. What's something we all need to know about bitcoin?
First and foremost, you need to own a digital wallet and know how to use it. That’s the most important thing you need to know. If you don’t have a digital wallet, you won’t be able to interact with anything -- NFTs, social tokens, etc. Considering that in the future every artist will have their own social token, you don’t want to sleep on this!
12. You're an advocate of digital detoxes -- what are the benefits, and as a busy person how do you pull it off?
The benefits are infinite! It really helps me stay grounded and humble. It’s all about being close to nature, reconnecting with our roots and honing in what makes us human. Longer digital detoxes are hard to fit in my schedule, but we try to do one at least once a year. All that said, a digital detox is something you can practice daily -- set your phone down for an hour, read a book, meditate, take a walk, connect with your loved ones. Teach yourself to take a time out of your day everyday to refuel your soul.
13. Finish this sentence: The most exciting thing currently happening in the dance scene is ____ ?
The revolution! We are seeing a convergence of art, finance and tech - it’s finally here! Everything I’ve been so passionate about for so long is now coming together. The music industry is moving away from profit, heading towards impact.
15. What's your preference -- a big city club set or a dusty late night set at Burning Man?
The latter, obviously!
16. What's been the hardest part of being off the road during the pandemic? The best part?
The hardest part has been not being able to hug everyone. I really miss being able to interact and connect with everyone. On the flip side, not traveling as much has its benefits! The pace is much slower, and it allows me to enjoy every single moment a lot more.
17. What's the best business decision you've made during your career?
Taking a leap of faith and starting ABRACADABRA TV with my partner Liana Hillison. When the pandemic started, I had a dream about finding a way to stay connected to my fans. That’s when I started streaming my show Human Nature, which back then didn’t even have a name. It was about spreading love, high-vibe music, and a multi-sensorial experience that preaches positivity, participation, hedonism and healing energy.
We quickly realized we had the opportunity to bring everything we loved, not just music, into one place and create something impactful. That’s when we got on Twitch and ABRACADABRA TV was born. Now we’re streaming music, magic, self-love and activism every week. And we’re doing ABRACADABRA Fest! We’ve had insane headliners play, like John Legend, Major Lazer and Snoop Dogg, alongside self-love programming like yoga, breathwork and astrology forecasts -- all while raising money for charity. It’s testament [to the idea] that when you combine all your passions, you make magic happen.
18. What's one thing you'd like your fans to know about you?
That I’m at their service! I preach what I teach. I’m available for my community, it’s very important to me. You can text me at +1 (310) 347-4879, chat me on Cameo, join me on Discord, hang out with me on Twitch. I’m starting a new show in the "Just Chatting" category on ABRACADABRA TV where we can all just talk in real-time. I can’t wait!
19. You rung in the new year with your Abra Fest, which had a pretty major lineup with Major Lazer, John Legend, Kaskade and many more. What was the peak moment of that event?
John Legend, by far. We manifested that! I remember watching him perform on New Year’s Eve, ringing in 2020 on FOX, and wondering what the odds were of him ever performing at one of my festivals. Fast forward a year later, and here I was sobbing in my living room as he was performing at ABRACADABRA Fest. It was a pretty epic moment and proof that we can make anything happen if we believe in ourselves.
20. One piece of advice you'd give to your younger self?
Don’t ask, don’t get. This has been dope. Thank you and much love!