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BAMBII Speeds Up Her Sonic Explorations

“Let’s make a scene/ Kiss me in the club it’s ecstasy/ I’m in your city playin’ hide and seek,” raps BAMBII on her latest single “SHH,” her voice quivering with soft power. It’s an indicative line for the Toronto-based producer and DJ, who has made a name for herself with euphoric, genre-blending club music that is equal parts sensual and transcendent.

The rare artist who can straddle jungle, dance hall, R&B and techno in one track, BAMBII is not slowing down in her sonic explorations. “I’ve been diving into the ‘what if’ part of my brain a lot lately when I’ve been sitting down to make music,” she tells PAPER. And you can hear that loud and clear in “SHH,” which bristles between hardstyle and ballroom, a looping monologue that is a perfect soundtrack to your forthcoming all-nighter.

Her versatility and tenacity has brought her around the world and connected her with collaborators like Kelela, but it has also cemented herself as a stalwart of her hometown, Toronto thanks to her popular club night JERK, which highlights artists from the Caribbean diaspora and aptly serves attendees jerk chicken. BAMBII’s club night has helped propel the local scene and foster community. It makes sense then that she would see recognition from Canada’s biggest music honor, the Polaris Music Prize, who longlisted her debut project, Infinity Club, earlier this month. (BAMBII also took home the JUNO Award for Best Electronic Album for the project.)

Whether she’s deepening her roots in her hometown, or taking her signature sound across the globe, there’s always much to chat about with the ever-buzzing creative. That’s why PAPER was thrilled to catch BAMBII to chat about her collaborations, the next chapter in her creativity and the toils of touring life.

“SHH” is your first single since Infinity Club. How are you approaching this next stage in your musical output?

Out the gate, with Infinity Club, I really wanted to push this idea of being actually genre-bending and I don’t mean in the way that pop music pretends to be. I would say my next stage in musical output is about treating that idea almost like an artist ethos and pushing it further with all my productions and vocals. I’ve been diving into the “what if” part of my brain a lot lately when I’ve been sitting down to make music and trying not to be shy about it!

How does touring the world shape the music you create?

I mean it’s like Lady Gaga said, “No sleep, bus, club, another club, another club, plane, another club.” Touring is stressful as fuck and puts your brain into hyperdrive with the amount of people, places and experiences you’re having in a concentrated amount of time. It’s really a whirlwind of stimulus. Everywhere I go has its own code, its own underground and tension that’s unique just to that place. And I guess whether it’s a vague feeling or a new song I heard, I try to hold onto all of it when I’m back home making music.

As a DJ, you curate an experience for a specific space in time, but with your own releases, people listen to your music in all types of environments. How do you approach music-making with that in mind?

In some ways, yes, but I think music is for the listener to contextualize whatever way they choose to. I don’t want to do it for them. Maybe 150 BPM hardstyle makes sense when you’re chilling at home, some girls live on the edge!

Collaboration has been a strong thread throughout your career, be it your work with Kelela or your many collaborations on Infinity Club. How do you approach working solo compared to with others?

Working solo I’m probably a lot meaner to myself than I should be [laughs]. There’s always this sense of distrust when I’m alone in my room making something that I battle the whole time to get to the final product. I kind of love and hate it because it feels so good to get through that and complete something you grow to believe in independently. Collaborating is another kind of energy that can be so sweet and, at its best, a type of relationship. You really feel like you are in a team with someone when you share the load of creating.

Creative and photography: Bryan Torres
Styling: Francisco Ugarte
Producer: Isabel Martínez-Zurita
Art direction: Elisa Muñoz Navarro
Makeup: Mariona Botella
Digital: Jonathan Conts
Light artists: Laia Gil, Laia Serra
Retouching: Guille Sotelo
Nails: Pannkks

BTS: Maria José Huiza
Stylist assistant: Mateo Medina
Production assistant: Rita Pereira
Production: Aux Roxo López
Makeup assistant: Sandra Martínez
Art assistant: Clément Froissant
Model: Konig Diouma

Special thanks: City Council of Santa Susana, Joan Campolier, Atzavara Hotel, Camping Con Repòs

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