Music recording technology has evolved tenfold over the years, so much so that producers are turning to vintage production techniques in order to savour some of the granular texture that modern plugins aren’t able to achieve. So when Italian Artist Be A Bear decided to record all his albums using only an iPhone, one would be believed in thinking it couldn’t be done: wrong. ‘Climb Your Time’, ‘Push e-Bah’ and ‘Martin Doesn’t Agree’ play on the multifaceted personality of the Bolognese-born singer-songwriter, combining the bizarre and eccentric to create wholly authentic and distinctive projects that carries with it enough quality to mask any knowledge of its origin. Things like this don’t come around often so we had to catch up with Be A Bear to discuss the idea in full and to get to know the architect of such a special release.
First Of All Ciao, I must say when I heard about the bones of this project I had to find out more. So I should probably start by asking how the idea came about?
“Ciao a tutti”. BE A BEAR was born more or less by chance, on an undefined day, only for pure expression and sharing. After 15 years and many concerts around Italy and Europe with my old ska-rock band called “Le Braghe Corte”, I wanted to come up with some ideas and have some fun! How could I live without music?! And so welcome to Be a Bear! The name is a totemic name whose roots are rooted in a journey made in Canada in contact with the Indian people, the Mohawk tribe, the “bear clan”; a people who have never stopped listening to their land and from whom I learned a lot! The bear is the animal that should come out of each of us, everyone has an “animal” inside, we should all be more animals and less men!
Is there a massively experimental scene in Italy or is your recording choice this an individual decision from a progressive artist?
There isn’t Italian experimental scene so strong unfortunately. In Italy we are quite traditionalists, the music is more or less always the same. In the past, Italian musicians certainly dared more. As I said before, this project was born randomly and a little because I am a person outside the box, a little crazy!
Without knocking the quality of the iPhone, the built-in microphone wasn’t designed for high quality recording, so are there actually any benefits to using the device itself and what challenges did you have to overcome while using it?
The main advantage is that the iPhone is always in your pocket, ready to throwing down ideas and finish songs, at any time, in line at the supermarket or bus stop. The main disadvantage instead is to use the small dispaly with such large hands! and anyway the iPhone microphone is not that bad!!!
There are a fantastic array of layers in what is a remarkable body of work, did you try to purposely experiment sonically and what was your favourite track to produce?
When I write songs I only use my instincts, I get overwhelmed by the emotions and sensations I have at that moment. I don’t decide anything at the table. the track that I liked most to produce is “my lullabye” which is part of my first album. Because “I caught the moment”, my daughter “sings” when she was 9 months old. It’s my masterpiece, it’s a sweet song, it’s an ingenious song.
I’m really excited to hear your next release, Is this a one time project or can you see yourself reverting back to this technique in future releases?
The next release will be a remix album by several DJs or producers and in any case I will never abandon my crazy technique!