Bleeks is Michael, a singer/songwriter and ‘bitoveverything’ as he explains, from a small town in Ireland. He’s currently still in his final year at university, working through his degree and working when he can. He’s loved music from a really young age, and has been making it since the age of 16. He’s gradually gotten better over the years, and even though he makes music for himself, I encourage him to be more confident and take pride in his art, because Bleeks’ sound is unique, soulful and utterly beautiful. I caught up with him to talk about the origins of his love for music, inspirations and upcoming projects. Enjoy!
Describe to me your first memory of falling in love with music?
The earliest album I remember really appreciating was Discovery by Daft Punk. It was one of the first CD’s my brother ever owned, and so I kinda just heard it through osmosis. And I have a distinct memory of sitting in the garden listening to Digital Love, which is still one of my favourite songs ever, and I couldn’t have been much older than 8 or 9. But that’s probably my earliest musical experience.
What inspires you to write?
Other artists mostly. When I hear a really incredible song or piece of music, I always think ‘Wow I would love to be able to create something like that and give that feeling to someone else’. And then I’m inspired for about an hour before I totally loathe everything I’ve done, but that hour is what keeps me going I guess.
When did you write your first song and what was it about?
I used to produce music, like beats and instrumentals, for a while before I actually tried to write a song. Hip Hop was actually what got me into making stuff originally. I was obsessed with producers like Madlib, Flying Lotus, Knxwledge etc, and I wanted to create that sort of thing. But eventually, I tried writing songs and using my voice and decided to stick with it, and it took a LONG time to be happy with any songs I had written. But I guess the first song I remember writing and being like okay that’s definitely a song was a song called “Glitter”. I wrote it pretty spontaneously and had no idea really what it was about at the time, but in retrospect, I think subconsciously I was writing about something, can’t really reveal what that is though.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
They change pretty rapidly. I think a few years ago it would have been Frank Ocean primarily, as he is for most artists these days, to be honest. Also, James Blake and Donald Glover have always been two pretty important artists for me. These days I’ve kinda moved away from that sort of stuff and into a rediscovered love for ‘guitar music’ from my teen years. Listening to lots of My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Alex G, Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens. Been drawn to lots of dreary indie rock. I tend to stick to one specific style or genre for a year or two and move on to something else.
If you had the opportunity to perform anywhere, where would it be and why?
Performing literally anywhere given the current climate would be considered a luxury. I’m not really much of a performer, would consider myself more exclusively on the writing/producing side of things. But probably an old pub in Edinburgh I used to work at, which is now gone I believe. But would have been nice to return there and play maybe. Met a lot of cool people through there.
How would you describe your music style?
Probably quite idiosyncratic, in both good and bad ways. I find it hard to stick to one specific sound or style, maybe out of a kind of creative ADHD or just sheer lack of skill and focus. I often think there is a particular type of sound I always strive for but haven’t quite nailed it just yet. Not sure if I ever will but I suppose that’s just reason to keep making stuff.
If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why?
Probably someone like FKA Twigs. I’d love to try my hand at producing for someone and take a bit of a backseat. I think her voice is incredible and would love to be able to work with it. Her productions are typically quite erratic and all over the place too, and I’d enjoy trying to make something in that style.
What do you want people to feel when they listen to your music & why?
Literally anything besides boredom or indifference. I think that is the worst response someone could have towards any kind of art. I don’t mind if you hate my music as long as you can recall the reasons why you hated it. Otherwise, I’ve kind of failed. But if you love it or find some merit in it that’s great too. I think creative people should practice ignoring both praise and criticism, or else you just get consumed by other opinions. Create things you personally enjoy, and nothing more.
What is your favourite song that you have written to date?
Probably a song called “Always”. I think everything just came together perfectly on that song and I hit all the right notes (no pun intended) I wanted to hit. It just works and that’s all you can ask for when writing something.
Are you currently working on any upcoming projects? & If so what can we expect to hear from you?
I am working on some songs for a few more EP’s, or else just singles. I tend to work on a batch of songs and then decide very last minute what I want to do with them if I even end up doing anything. But expect a few more singles or EP’s for this year at least. I haven’t built up the courage to delve into full album territory yet, but hopefully soon once I finish everything I currently have to finish.
Listen to his most recent 2020 project 08.08 and go support!