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Five Steps: Bop

Five Steps: Bop
Jack Smith

To carve a niche out of today’s vast musical landscape is no mean feat. As the pioneer and driving force behind the meticulous ambience that is MicrofunkBop‘s catalogue is simply wonderful. His fantastic debut album on Med School Clear Your Mind was his most introspective and sparse; the follow-up The Amazing Adventures of One Curious Pixel was exactly that – an 8-bit playground as fun as it was intricate. The third LP has just hit stores after a three-year wait since that second – a further expansion of his sound and further proof that the album format clearly much better suits his world than a series of successive singles. Featuring long-time collaborator Diagram (of Abstract Elements fame), former Med School compatriot Synkro and label-omnipresent songstress Elsa EsmeraldaPunk’s Not Dead is predictably superb and even more inventive than his previous work. What on earth makes Bop tick? We sat down for the latest in our Five Steps series: from early neurofunk a la Wormhole and an early affiliation with ASC’s Covert Operations; through to his fruitful relationship with Med School, Punk’s Not Dead and future movements.


Step One: Origins

A big influence for me to start making my own electronic music and DnB in particular was Ed Rush & Optical‘s Wormhole LP. I’ve got a cassette with a mix which were predominantly tracks from this LP among others great artists like C4C, Bad Company, Usual Suspects… all that great early neurofunk stuff. It sounded SO cool for me at that moment so when I install my first music program I was trying to recreate exactly that sound. The next key moment was when I first heard music by Paradox and Seba: I was just blown away by their drum-programming and started to experimenting more with the drum section.


Step Two: Introducing

The first track under my alias Bop as I remember was released on ASC‘s label Covert Operations in a compilation called Global Connections III back in the 2008. It was called ‘Kosmos’. Also at the same time I released a couple of collabs with my mate Dephecta on Syncopathic and Misspent.

At that time I was inspired by music by Sileni and label Offshore Recordings. I started to use a lot of synthetic drums and glitches instead of jungle-breaks and was trying to combine it with deep chords and atmospheric pads.

Before that I had a couple of net releases under other aliases, for example one of my atmospheric works tHiNk – Eternity was released on russian net label Mastik: [at] a time when almost every person had his own net label 🙂 I was not an exception and also released mine and my friends’ music on my label Microcircuit under aliases Myst and Bop. But it was before I found my own unique style. You still can check it and download here.


Step Three: Foundation

My first release that got great attention and presented my style to a wide audience is my first single on Med School – ‘Song About My Dog’ / ‘Random Thoughts’. I planned to go to university as a sound engineer, but failed on the exams, so I found a job instead in some small music shop and spent all my free time on producing music.

Signing an exclusive contract with Med School was a big leap in my career, it gave me the opportunity to finally focus on the concept of my music and release my first Long Play called Clear Your Mind in which I quite clearly formulated my vision of 170bpm music – minimalistic soundscapes with IDM-influenced beats.


Step Four: Present

My third album Punk’s Not Dead just dropped in shops. It’s been quite a long time since the second one so I had time to think about how I wanted to upgrade my sound. This album is complex work, I’ve never spent so much time with each tune as with this LP. There are layers and layers of various glitches and effects, tons of self-made presets and hundreds of hours of editing.

I also added and combined new elements and rhythms into this LP, that maybe some of the listeners were not expecting to see in my music. But still I can call it Microfunk. Microfunk 2.0 🙂


Step Five: Future

‘The sound of the future’ is almost always produced by guys who have their own perspective on music and who are not afraid to be black sheep. For me it’s Fis, Stray together with Sabre and Halogenix [Ivy Lab], Kid Drama & dBridge, Dub Phizix, Enei, Detail, ASC to name a few. All those guys have their very own style and I think they, among other original producers, really push the boundaries of DnB to make the “future sound” that might become the classics of tomorrow.



As for my plans for the future, I’m starting to work on my live performance, my goal at the moment is to not look like another ‘Ableton live robot’ and there is a lot of work to be done. I’m working on some remixes as well.

Also we have a lot of unfinished sketches with Diagram as Abstract Elements, so I’m really looking forward to sitting in the studio and making a whole bunch of bassy madness.


Bop – Punk’s Not Dead is out now on Med School. Grab your copy direct from the label’s official store.