New Friends: Blackbird Blackbird Interview & Playlist
Mikey Maramag, better known as Blackbird Blackbird, has mastered the landscape of a beat—all from the comfort of his bedroom. What began as an outlet on the beaches of Santa Cruz, he now calls the eclectic cities of Oakland and San Francisco his physical soundboards. With his own breed of kaleidoscopic electro-pop, Maramag weaves a warmth in each track he creates under Blackbird Blackbird.
Currently touring and speaking with us from Sweden, the producer shed some light on what it's like in his recording "studio," hanging backstage on tour with Starfucker, his absolute essentials for any hike, and what's coming up next (Hint: he's touring Asia).
Blackbird Blackbird New Friends Playlist
When leading a life filled with traveling and touring, the chance to make new friends is ever present and, luckily for us, Maramag has met plenty who also make music. It's a healthy game of show and tell on tour that's left us with a sick new playlist—just one of the perks of meeting new friends.
A "bedroom pop" artist was how we first heard you described. For the most part, do you still work out of your room? If not, what's your setup like now?
I'm definitely still writing in my bedroom, but plan to record in a real studio very soon (for my next album).
My setup is pretty simple:
Two analog synths: Dave Smith Prophet '08 & Oberheim Matrix-6
One guitar: American Standard Telecaster
One Fender P-Bass
Random percussion: wooden tambourine, shakers, and sometimes my desk.
What about living in the Bay Area inspires you?
There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
I guess the fact that I've lived there for most of my life makes it very nostalgic for me—-the bay area will always be my home!
What are your favorite venues to see shows in Oakland? Has the sudden surge of new residents relocating from San Francisco changed the scene?
I love the random warehouse spots and completely DIY places that pop up seemingly out of nowhere. Also, I enjoy New Parish a lot. Once saw a Giraffage show there and it was plenty fun. Oakland has gotten rapidly more hip and gentrified in the last few years. It's becoming a lot like the bay area's version of Brooklyn, NY.
I currently live in Temescal and my rent went up around $150 dollars so I'm kind of peeved. But then again I still feel like it is SO worth it. A lot of wonderful things are happening in Oakland right now.
Sick Sad World puts on a lot of these underground events and it's refreshing to realize that some people are appreciating great music and local art.
First Friday is also very fucking rad-—there's street art, food, and live music but, on the downside, it's also kind of dangerous (there's been stabbings) so don't be a reckless tool if you do end up going.
Oakland's First Friday
What's the story and inspiration behind your name?
I used to listen to The Beatles a lot as a kid and they are one of my biggest influences, although I do admit that they are very played out these days, which is unfortunate because their music and songwriting is absolutely genius.
So what were you listening to at 16?
American Football, Mineral, Counterfeit, Between the Buried and me, Converge, Embrace the End, Rudimentary Peni, Limp Wrist, Trash Talk, Elliott Smith, Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel.
You're traveling all over Europe right now; Any places you're particularly excited to see and play?
Sweden!! Also, I'm going to Asia on tour so I'm super excited to see Tokyo again, also Thailand.
You toured with Starfucker; Any favorite moments from that tour?
So many fun times!! They are best dudes. Every night we would dance onstage in costumes. So yes, tons of stage diving in Gumbi outfits & etc!
Any friends making rad music we should know about?
Check out my SoundCloud (link), I repost all of my friends on there but to name a few: Meth Dad, Cheeky Charmander, GRRL, Ponnibbi, Tielsie, Grimecraft, Pusher, and Champagne Drip.
You used to live in Santa Cruz, an area known for natural beauty; What were some fun outdoorsy things you'd like to do?
It's pretty granola, but backpacking in Nepal would be a dream come true.
What are some bands you're listening to right now?
I just listen to Majical Clouds all the time really.
You mentioned hiking in Nepal; If you were going hiking for the day, what would be your "must haves" to bring on the journey?
PB & J sandwiches
Some sort of thing to take that makes me feel 'some type of way' (in a LIL WAYNE VOICE)
A good book
A nice camera
Feature photo by Alex Greenburg