BON-PSY: THE MAKING OF A FUTURE ELECTRONIC ICON
The grind never stops for Gianluca Cardinale. You would expect him to be overjoyed to hear one of his songs on the radio for the first time, but that isn't quite the whole story.
"Funnily enough I was still critiquing the track thinking how I could have structured or mixed it better," Bon-Psy said about the first time he heard his track "Ikigai" on the Radio. "But aside from that of course it was really exciting and even though I do this for myself, it's nice to hear that it resonates with other people too."
As Leonardo Davinci said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned." But is this constant drive for self-improvement and growth (even after a song's completion) that allows Bon-Psy to create melodies that resonate with so many people.
Cardinale, who performs under the name Bon-Psy, is a 23-year-old UK-based producer. You may have heard his track "Ikigai," which is seeing much success on BBC Radio. It boasts plays on BBC Music Introducing…Three Countries Radio and BBC Beds, Herts & Bucks with Jaguar and BBC Radio 1. The tracks crowning achievement? Being featured on BBC Radio 1's Chillest Show.
Music has always been a large component of Cardinale's life even before the project Bon-Psy's creation. Cardinale learned bass and guitar at a young age before transitioning into music production. A strong instrumental foundation shines through in Bon-Psy's discography. The wonky rhymes and grooves are shown off when paired with stirring basslines. He pulls from the ambient and jazz and glitch genres to help him make tunes that sit in the sweet spot between melodic and experimental electronic music.
"A lot of my ideas come from sound design sessions, I'll be messing around and then all of the sudden something jumps out at me," Bon-Psy said. "That initial spark usually inspires me as to what direction I will then push the tune towards. Sometimes I'm able to accurately create what I'm thinking, but other times it goes down a completely different direction, which is fun too. And of course, sometimes you make absolute garbage but that's something you just have to take on the chin and keep pushing."
Bon-Psy performed a live set for BBC Introducing on February 4. He played "Ikigai," "Onyx" and "Serene." Host Danny Howard introduced him as an artist that "just stands out. There's something about him, he's a music producer but he uses all these different influences from ambient and jazz and it creates something that feels totally unique."
Most quarantine live streams are filmed in an artist's bedroom or living room with instruments sprawled around. But Howard commented Bon-Psy's was the "first garden session." It's fitting Bon-Psy chose to make his debut live performance for BBC Introducing from his backyard. He describes his ideal creative space as "somewhere solitary, maybe in nature," but only with the practical condition of not "having to worry about my gear being ruined!"
Sterofox describes "Ikigai" perfectly. Posting it "is the kind of track you're bound to experience a grand musical voyage if you close your eyes and lose yourself in it." If you're transported to an oasis while listening, that means Bon-Psy successfully saw through his original intentions.
"Inspiration can come from anywhere really; sometimes little things inspire me when I'm walking around. I'll notice things like the way the sun's rays reflect through my window and I think 'how could I take this beautiful experience and turn it into music, what would this sound like?"
It is by staying true to himself and using his laser-sharp attention to detail, that Bon-Psy has started to see success this early in his career. Although he still has a long way to go, there is no doubt Bon-Psy has a lot to look forward to in the future.
"Create music for yourself first before others," Bon-Psy said. "I think that helps me to be true to myself and what I have to offer with music, it doesn't matter if people don't like it as long as I know that it's a good representation of where I am at that point in time."
The best advice he's ever received is "Nothing really matters. In 60 – 70 years, you'll be gone and in 60 – 70 years after that, no one will care. Live your life doing what you love, and you will find happiness."
And Cardinale has stayed true to this message in everything he's done. He shows off this message for the world to see in a self-describing social media bio reading "I write songs to make you feel like nothing really matters."
GET TO KNOW THE MAN BEHIND BON-PSY A LITTLE BETTER:
What's one audio plugin you can't live without?
Synplant, it's so underrated.
If you could collaborate with any artist in any medium who would it be and what would you create?
"I always thought it would be really cool to create a visual piece where an artist paints as they listen to my music. I'm not sure who though, the first artist that comes to mind is Henri Matisse but unfortunately, he has passed away. Either way I'd love to do this someday."
"It's not necessarily a specific achievement but I'm proud of myself for who I am. I work hard, I treat others with kindness and I'm so happy that I have pursued music. I'm proud of being able to push myself to create the best pieces of art I can and I hope that continues."
"I want to define Bon-Psy more, I'd love to be recognized as having a certain style or aesthetic, something unique to me. But that's something that will develop over time and I still have a long way on my journey.