By John Neave
“No genres allowed.”
That’s how John Burcham, better known as Psymbionic, describes his music. Hailing from Austin, Texas, this dreaded warrior brings one of the most unique and ever-changing sounds to the electronic music scene. Simply put, a jack of all trades, he is quickly approaching the heart of his career as a producer.
“As a kid, I always loved music and really wanted to be involed. I didn’t grow up playing a lot of instruments, so all of my training is self taught. I don’t have an amazing technical proficiency with any instrument, but the keys are normally my weapon of choice. I’ve been producing and learning music “seriously” for around 5 or 6 years now.” said Burcham. His sound is like a trip through the galaxies, and the captain is this one-of-a-kind music mastermind. Burcham uses Ableton Live to produce his sound, utilizing a myriad of third party plugins.
Ever since high school, he has developed a profound love for producing. “I’ve always been a technology nerd, and in high school I happened to run across a copy of Fruity Loops (this was before FL Studio). I started making weird hip hop beats on it and I really enjoyed doing it. However, it wasn’t until a couple years later after my music taste had evolved quite a bit that I began actually producing songs,” he explains. Burcham’s music tastes are always changing, but he lists his current influences as Reso, Haywyre, Au5 & Fractal, S-Type, Of The Trees, along with a heavy dose of funk and jazz.
But what exactly does the name ‘Psymbionic’ mean?
“The name itself is an amalgamation of three words – psychedelic, symbiotic, and bionic. When I first started the project around 2009, I was coming from a psychill/downtempo background and wanted to infuse some of that psychedelic nature into bass music that I had been really digging on,” he states.
And in 2010, Burcham released his first mixtape under the Psymbionic entitled ‘The Fozzie Bear Crunkadelic Mixtape’ featuring some of his personal favorite tracks. This was followed by his first performance at the Wakarusa Music Festival. Soon thereafter, his first public track on soundcloud arrived – a stellar remix of The Glitch Mob‘s ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’.
After compiling a few more mixtapes, singles and his first EP ‘Made In Glitch’, Psymbionic released what would become one of his first popular tracks, a remix of Daft Punk‘s ‘Something About Us’, which led him straight into the next year with a ton of momentum.
In 2012, he saw a great rise in popularity thanks to a few key tracks. In the middle of the year he released an awesome EP entitled ‘Ride With Me’ as well as another experimental EP entitled ‘Neurovation’. There were both followed by this next song, a remix of The Gorillaz ‘Clint Eastwood’ – which set the tone for what was coming in 2013. Flawlessly mixing in both the melancholy chorus and hard hip-hop bars, this is a powerful showcase of his talents.
2013 started a real evolution of his sound and has been the biggest year of his young career. One of my favorites by Psymbionic, a punchy and fun track entitled ‘Space Monkey’ – was remixed early in the year. With a hot combination of floaty keys, sharp percussion, and other-worldly bass, he started the year off proper.
Post/Wave/Future/Core was the first album, a wildly experimental record, this one goes down as a game changer. My favorite track off of the album, a track called ‘Apex’ – combines an incredibly array of bendy keys with John’s always perfect percussion. On top of that, a hot liquid bassline that brings the song together.
Another remix soon followed that album, this awesome take on 311’s ‘Amber’.
Soon thereafter he got one of the biggest opportunities in his career, a chance to remix a song for Minnesota‘s ‘Eternal Frequencies’ album.
My favorite Psymbionic track followed this, a take on the Sonic The Hedgehog ‘Chemical Plant Zone’ level theme song. If you don’t think this is cool, you’re wrong.
His last release may turn out to be the biggest of year. This remix of Peter Frampton‘s ‘Do You Feel Like We Do’ has already received praise from the legend Frampton himself. An incredible arrangement of pure funk, this mix defiantly does the classic justice.
When I asked Burcham what’s to come in the future he stated, “In early 2014 I have a double EP-album coming out on Gravitas Recordings which will showcase both facets of my production taste. The first EP will be all melodic dancefloor hype type tracks, and the second EP will be downtempo, chill vibes. Will be dropping more info on that soon plus some free singles over the next couple months. I’m also finishing up an official remix of TOO $HORT for MalLabel which should be out sometime soon. There’s quite a few collabs and other remixes that are in varying stages of completion, most of which will end up as free downloads.” Certainly this is just the beginning for one of the more creative and innovative artists in electronic music today.