Behind the piano: Zir Bijou

A while back I introduced you to a track by the composer Zir Bijou. I was totally blown away about the storytelling behind the answers I got about the song and of course wanted to know (and hear) more!

What’s your name?
My name is Zir Bijou. My mother loved raw mineral specimens. She felt they harnessed some sort of power or energy. Her favorite was Zircon, which is diverse in color, but she favored the pale blue. She said it was the color of purity and that Zircon brings prosperity and self-confidence. I’m still waiting for both. 

Where do you live?
I live in Brooklyn. It’s crammed and loud. When the door closes behind me, the sounds and people of Brooklyn outside my window set my days tempo. 

How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
The only instrument I’m proficient in is the piano. I have an upright in my apartment, that is in desperate need of tuning.I’ve dabbled in guitar, but it didn’t come as naturally as playing the piano. 

Tell us how you started playing music!
My grandmother, God rest her soul, taught me to play around 5 or 6. She didn’t like me to play with the other children in the neighborhood and the only T.V. she had was one from the 70’s with an antenna. It never got signal and the dial was broken so you only got a few stations of static. Needless to say, my only option to relieve the boredom was learning to play the piano.

How long have you been making piano music?
I’ve been making music since 10- 11. Some pieces I remember from the early years, but we didn’t have anything to record them. I compose pieces all the time and record them on my phone. 

Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
It was a work associate who motivated the newest season in my life. They told me I should record them and put them out for the world to hear. Now that artists truly have the tool records labels use, outside of radio, with hard work and networking we can make a living doing what we love.The studio I recorded at, Watersound Entertainment, has a Baby Grand Baldwin, high ceilings and unbelievable mic set up for it. Also, the wife of the producer makes an incredible orange peel tea with honey from scratch. I’m craving it now that I’ve mentioned it.

What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
My favorite Pianist!?! I could no sooner choose my favorite star in the heavens.

Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I play all types of piano pieces. I keep up my playing with the Greats. Mozart, Beethoven… Their pieces are my mental and physical exercises. My grandmother’s mind was as sharp as a tac in her older years. I attribute it to her playing the piano. Her mind never got lazy. She always said there is no such thing as retirement.  I believe she’s correct. 

What rules, in making music, should be broken?
Rules.. break them all when it comes to music. Music is about feeling. It’s a window to our soul. You can’t contain her fury. She breaks through every wall and chained gate. She stops at nothing to be heard and attempt her revenge.As an artist you must unleash her, unbridle her so she can be free to work out her angst, pain and suffering. The soul must free to find  joy and happiness. To work with the confines of rules is only to bridle what can’t be contained. Your pain will always show up somewhere else and destroy something else. Just make the music. You would never tell a painter you can’t mix those colors together or put that shape next to this stroke. 

Whats tour opinion on sampled instruments?
There are some really great samples out there for piano sounds. I can always hear the difference between a live piano and samples ones. The average listener won’t especially because you can add the pedal sounds in etc. Also, it encourages me to put my music out there because I see the amount of people streaming instrumentals. 

Anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much for having me, Johan. I’m a fan of your work too! Shameless plug, I’m recording new music now and should have something released by the end of this year. 

Thank you for taking the time Zir! I’d love to talk some more! Get in touch!

For more information, please check out these following links:
Instagram / Spotify