Posted On 08 Mar 2017
BUDDHA was born and internationally raised, West Africa, North America, and East Asia. Buddha has used his cultural experience as a tool to push the conceptual creative boundaries of urban art and music. He is a writer, an emcee, producer, consultant, content developer, and a universal man. Hip Hop is the soundtrack to his journey, however he listens to all genres and types, constantly digging for new sounds, vibes, and messages within music.
BARDOE was born in the 80’s in the borough of Brooklyn, raised in West Africa and East Asia, Bardoe utilizes his past and his experiences in his audio production and graphic/visual design. An avid photographer with a proactive spirit, active in the hip hop and design community. He works in an array of creative mediums, from music production, graphic design, consulting, photography, video editing and more.
Learn more about Buddha And Bardoe and their musical collaboration in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year? What were some of the highlights for you both? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 was turbulent, unexpected, and an exciting year for music, politics, and technology. Some of the highlights, are the craziness surrounding the Trump presidency, Samsung’s exploding in people’s pockets, the rise of Marijuana legalization, as well as the resurgence in interest in music that we have been observing through streaming and social media. We are really looking forward to the ROACHES release, as well as some videos for the project. There is also an instrumental album coming out soon and Buddha is currently working on a follow up to ROACHES, called Diamond Dust.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Growing up my father exposed to a wide variety of genres and styles of music. It was a ritual for him to come home from work in the evenings and play tunes for an hour or so as he winded down for the evening. Since we were internationally raised music served as our main connection to what was going on in the streets in the US during the 90’s, before the internet wave took over connecting the whole world. As far back as 3rd grade I was blasting Cyprus Hill, LL Cool J, and Dr. Dre and Snoop. When we moved to Ivory Coast in 1995, I would come visit relatives in the States during winter and summer vacation, and would have to pick up the latest albums, religiously bumping them and sharing them with friends upon my return to West Africa. As early as middle school I had begun rapping in talent shows and doing little performances at parties.
Bardoe first started making beats when we lived in Shanghai. He was in high school in 9th grade, he picked up his first MPC and with Ableton and began grinding away at sampling and beats. Shanghai had a rich community of avid hip hop listeners and connoisseurs making it a fertile place for Bardoe to experiment and develop and original unique sound. In Shanghai, living in a French style colonial villa, Bardoe would record Buddha in the attic of their home. It started small then evolved to different crews coming through to hang out to record and collaborate.
How did you each come up with your artist names? Was it difficult to come up a name that described you or your sound?
Growing up in Tokyo and Shanghai and living in East Asia had a deep impact on me. I frequented many monasteries and pagodas from East Asia to South East Asia. Buddhist culture and philosophy had left a deep impression on me when I had graduated from high school. When I went to college, I couldn’t resist the hunger for more understanding and insight, so I took classes that deepened my connection with the Buddha and the Dharma. We are all Buddha’s, we just need to uncover our Buddha Nature.
Bardoe name comes from his style of beats the sonic experience. In Buddhism a. ‘Bardoe’ is an intermediary realm in between life and death where one experiences the transitional change of rebirth. Bardoe’s sound is so familiar but ever changing and unique at the same time, it is as if he brings you into his world once you listen to his beats and instrumentals.
It was not difficult to come up with a name we finally settled on. However just like with all names they go through changes over time. Naturally, these were the names that gravitated towards us and bests represents our sound and culture.
How did you two first come to work together? Did you instantly know that you were going to enjoy this collaboration?
We first came to work together naturally, during Buddha’s college winter and summer vacations, he would like up with Bardoe and a group of friends and naturally start cyphers, write songs, make beats, which in turned evolved into recording and producing our own original mixtapes and projects. It was never seen as work, but something we naturally gravitated towards doing in our free time.
What do you think you each bring out of each other? How do you think you help one another creatively and musically?
We push other creatively, remaining in touch with the core principals of HIP HOP while also staying out of the box, pushing concepts and ideas that are not so traditional forward adding a different perspective and vibe to the sound. We have daily talks and discussions about trends in the history, news on music, history of music, politics, technology, art, international media and much more to keep up connected and grounded to our past experiences. Our prime ingredient for our music is an organic process coupled with 100% devotion and compassion to the culture, sound, and lifestyle of hip hop.
I would love to know how your music is influenced by your West African, US and East Asian upbringing? Do you find that it is easy to create a sound that includes them all in it?
It is not easy creating a multi-cultural diverse sound that can compete with the radios template of what is hot or not. Everything from the beat, lyrics, album art, and media around a project serves as mediums for us to share our diverse culture past and experiences. As artists we do not like to limit ourselves to a certain sound, so when we are in the studio creating we pull from our collective past experience and recently accumulated knowledge and throw it all in the mix. Having the ability to display such a wide range of diversity ensures that our future projects will always stand on their own, delivering a unique one of a kind experience.
When can people expect to hear your music? Do you have plans to release singles, an EP or a full album of music soon?
I have an EP coming out on February 17th called ROACHES. All the beats are made by Bardoe. We recently released a single off the EP called, ‘The Honorable’. It can be found here https://soundcloud.com/buddha/the-honorable. ROACHES will be available on all streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Pandora.
Where do you both get the inspiration for your sound and the subject matter of your music?
We both pull our inspiration from our daily lives and grind. Hip hop is based off stories, observations, life, realizations, and the party. The inspiration behind our sound comes from a Zen of living hip hop. My life has been revolving around hip hop since as far as I can remember, and over the years, it has become my life. So our influences literally come from past, present, and future of music as a whole as well as current events, history, and our personal opinions and determinations of things.
Who are you both listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I still listen to all of the greats, Biggie, Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killa, Raekwon, CNN, Kurupt, DPG and the list goes on. All of the legends of the 90’s era continue to inspire me along with artists like Drake, Kendrick, and J. Cole. I would absolutely love to work with Nas, J. Cole, Ghostface Killa, Raekwon, Kendrick Lamar, Rich Chigga, and Dr. Dre.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
I hope my fans take away the fact that Hip Hop is universal, it is not just one sound. It’s the diversity within the collective culture that makes hip hop so unique. I hope my songs will reach ears of Hip Hop listeners who want to hear a lyricists over fire production destroying metaphors of life, the hustle, weed, pop culture, and more.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves and your music?
Thank you for checking out this Q&A. Roaches EP is out February 17th, I can pretty much guarantee you haven’t heard vibes like this whatsoever! Check me out on Instagram: @bodhidarma (Buddha) and @frenchsan (Bardoe). I appreciate you for taking the time out of your day to read this interview. Please show out and support Buddha and Bardoe on February 17th.