Cold, wet and dreary; a typical winter’s night backdrop was apt for our interview with Manchester’s rising starlet Bipolar Sunshine. Emerging from the 2012 split of Kid British, Adio Marchant has moved from strength to strength with his modest yield of tracks that transfer you between soaring euphoria and taxi arguments with your girlfriend.
Whether it’s the dark orchestral optimism of “Fire” or the affable reassurance of “Love More Worry Less,” Adio has carved a warm affinity with his work and its listeners, one that has made so many fans over the past year. But where, what and why? Intrigued and allured, Dave Reid decided to find out from the man himself – one of the UK’s most legitimate and captivating emerging artists of 2013.
As the rain lashed down, hear what he had to say.
SoulCulture: For those of us that missed out or haven’t quite got to a Bipolar show just yet, what can we expect? Of course you’re a bit more used to Kid British in the past but what’s it like now?
Bipolar Sunshine: I would say Kid British was much more of an up-tempo type feel, as obviously it was ska so its always gonna be some jumping up and down type madness, but with me it’s more of a listening, more absorbing the sound and feeling that type of vibe. I’m coming from a completely different angle so the whole live show is completely different – I’m trying to deliver the song first and foremost.
SoulCulture: Are you enjoying it more or would that be a bit unfair to say?
Bipolar Sunshine: I think I’m enjoying it more because I feel like it’s going in the direction that I’ve been angling the whole body of work towards. You start to enjoy it more when you can see the work you’ve been putting in and the people are starting to say the right things about it, so that’s what feels good about it.
SoulCulture: “Drowning Butterflies” is a track I’m sure you’re performing on the road at the moment but could you tell us a little bit more about the track?
Bipolar Sunshine: “Drowning Butterflies” I did with a guy called Kid Harpoon, it’s more stepping into that space of trying to find that next paradox, that zone of like, ‘What am I actually doing with myself? What are we actually doing with all this time and space that we have for each other? But then am I just wasting it?’ It’s about wasted time. That’s the type of vibe I was trying to get into, that’s what I was trying to come up with the whole ‘drowning butterflies’.
SoulCulture: That introspection was one of the reasons I was so excited to hear it, as with every release seemingly comes a different sound. For songs like “Fire” and “Love More, Worry Less” you get this almost orchestral build up of euphoria but on other tracks like “Blossom” or “Fire” you get a back and forth of peaks and troughs. Do you aim for that diversity, that planning or is it more of a ‘let’s get in the studio and it just comes out’?
Bipolar Sunshine: It’s all coming out naturally, that’s what’s good about everything that I’m doing right now. Since I’ve started writing this I’m just allowing the first that’s to come out to be what it is. Like with songs like “Fire,” most of that was a freestyle, I just let [Jazz Purple] put something on loop and I just went in there and tried something and I was like, ‘Alright, I kind of like this’. I don’t have to stick to any kind of structure, I’ve not entered the game to try and go in and be like, ‘Oh, I need to make songs and be like this, so everyone likes me like that’. I get to go and make what I like to make and if people like it then it’s always a great thing and its been nice the reception I’ve been getting.
SoulCulture: That’s the refreshing thing really; you find new artists are either pretty erratic or they’re so rigid because they’re so played pre to coming out.
Bipolar Sunshine: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah! And they’re scared! It’s the general fear of, ‘oh, will radio accept me?’ or ‘will the people out there accept me?’ – and because they’re putting all these obstacles on themselves before making the music, it’s already going to put you in a box without you even knowing it. That’s what happens.
SoulCulture: Very true. So from here on after you’ve got an album coming – is it straight back into the studio now?
Bipolar Sunshine: Yeah, yeah I’ve just been trying to keep it basic with trying to write as much as possible and not stop. I don’t want to stop for six months then try and start writing again because I feel like you’ve got to keep that craft going so I’m constantly trying to write as much as I can. I mean I’ve been in the studio all week and when I’ve got some more free time I’ll try and go in again just to keep things creative so not to be stationary. The majority of the album songs were done before “Fire” or any tracks that were on the internet, I just made about 25 songs that I was happy with and now I’m trying to decipher which ones would be best to use on the album and what I want the people to hear.
SoulCulture: You say you had a lot of the tracks sorted before, but do you find that the direction might of changed a little bit in the past three months with the way things have happened? Are tracks falling off or appearing on the track list again?
Bipolar Sunshine: Definitely, there’s a few songs I’m trying to bring back because I’m feeling it all completely differently now but that’s the best thing about it, sometimes you throw away a song thinking that’s not the vibe you want to do then next minute later your feeling it again. That’s the beauty with writing so many songs that you can pick and choose on which ones you feel best represent you. No one’s pushing for anything I don’t want to do so it’s all pretty comfortable in that position… Usually you’ll have somebody saying, “You have to have this song on,” and it’s never really been like that.
SoulCulture: So it’s evolving with you essentially?
Bipolar Sunshine: Yeah, yeah! That’s how it evolves because sounds change, one year this sound sounds like everything, next minute everyone wants to use this beat. There are so many different things to think about.
SoulCulture: So the big question: Have you got a name for the album yet? Or do you want to give a name for the album yet?!
Bipolar Sunshine: [Laughs] I’m keeping that one quiet just incase. I feel like I might just want to change it yet!
SoulCulture: I thought I might be pushing with that one.
Bipolar Sunshine: Yeah I think I’m gonna hold that one [Laughs.]
SoulCulture: We know you’ve worked with Rudimental earlier this year and I know it mainly just you and Jazz Purple, but is there going to be any other outside input with the project?
Bipolar Sunshine: I’ve done a few tracks with Kid Harpoon, so we’re going to see how they go down but it’s mainly Jazz Purple. That’s my guy, we both just crack on; we’re on the same wavelength. I don’t need to be going out there and finding loads of different producers to work on something that I’ve just been doing anyway. There’s big producers that I’d always love to get on my stuff but I feel like if I can show these people that I can do it without, then the right people can jump on for the next time round or the next song in general. When you’re making your first album I think its best to show your best piece of work first instead of working off everyone else.
SoulCulture: That’s logical, something a lot artists don’t quite understand. 2013 was a big year for you. You’ve signed to Black Butter, right?
Bipolar Sunshine: Yeah, I signed publishing.
SoulCulture: And you’ve got two EP’s out, a tour, you’re getting plenty of love from radio at the minute, and I also noticed you’re on the emerging artists for the new Radio 1 playlist. You’ve had a lot happen but you’ve kind of had this experience of the come up before with Kid British a few years back, so is a lot of it familiar? The industry, the process or are things still fresh now you’re making your own sound?
Bipolar Sunshine: I think the early stages were kind of like, ‘I’ve been in this position before’, but everything from the last couple of months has been new – as many things that I did with Kid British, there’s a lot I didn’t. Now I’m doing my own stuff it’s nice to be seeing different things and it all angles down to the way I’ve tried to enter the game; as in making my own EP first, setting up my own label first, just trying to be as independent as possible without trying to rely on everyone to show me everything – a label to show you everything. From past experience, knowing we walked in there not really knowing anything to now, it’s the case that I know enough to be able to not go down the same road I did last time.
SoulCulture: When the break-up happened, did you already have Bipolar Sunshine in your mind or a particular sound when you guys went your separate ways?
Bipolar Sunshine: From the last year I was always thinking about what I’m going to do, I need to be thinking about writing. I was always open with everyone that I was writing my own stuff because we were all good friends; it wasn’t one of those vibes where people were angry. We all split pretty amicably. I was always thinking about writing my own stuff, something that would represent what I feel very comfortable doing and being able to perform, because the last thing you want to be doing is something you don’t feel comfortable with. You’ve got to actually go on and do it.
SoulCulture: “Love More, Worry Less” has been doing the rounds, particularly on Radio 1, but when you make those tracks – or that exact track – do you feel like, ‘Yeah that’s the one that’s going to be picked up’ or were you surprised that was the one thinking, ‘Oh, I really thought that one was gonna get picked up’?
Bipolar Sunshine: I was pretty optimistic when we were choosing the lead song off the EP. I was just thinking, ‘You know what, I like the song’ – and like I say, it’s too difficult to think which one everyone’s gonna like or which ones the radio’s going to like. I just don’t know how to go into that world so I just go in on the basis of, ‘Do I like it? Does it conjure enough emotion that I want from a song?’ I was like, let’s just go with it, and it’s been good that everyone’s been feeling it on that same wavelength.
It’s just the build, obviously next year I want to be releasing singles and really pushing it but it’s been nice that a lot of people have been coming back to it. Plus the support’s been really nice from new people getting on board so I really appreciate what’s happening really.
SoulCulture: Well as every release comes, the reception seems to get stronger and stronger. That sometimes can be hard early on for new artists who only really have a handful of songs out and so there’s naturally a narrow opinion of what they’re about almost. Is there a little bit of pressure in a way balancing possible expectations?
Bipolar Sunshine: There’s a little bit of pressure when it comes down to choosing it but I’ve mainly just been going off like the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. If the sound doesn’t sound like the next one, I’m not going to be too worried about what does it sound like. My main thing is just, is the sentiment the same? Is what’s being said still cutting through? As long as I feel that then I don’t really mind what the soundscape sounds like, that’s not really what I’m bothered about.
SoulCulture: A year from now; have you any ambitions of where you want to be with your music? You’ve got your album coming but is it a case of taking it one step at a time?
Bipolar Sunshine: Definitely one step at a time but I want to be in a much better place regarding the music, for it just to be well-received. That’s all I can ask for; people just to see my vision a bit more clearer, because it’s hard to see from one or two songs what someone’s really trying to do. On my songs I don’t really try and go down the same route again, I move to something else. Hopefully people will catch onto that. Just be good man, live good, chill with the family and hope that everyone’s living right.
Photography by Martin Sharman