An Interview with: Blanco Billions
Blanco Billions is a musician and producer originally from Ontario,California. At 14 he began to be interested in production and downloaded Fruity Loops. Since then, despite difficult circumstances, he has focused on his music and had never looked back. Today, Blanco lives in the small town of Upland with his long-time girlfriend. Now out of the city, Blanco is able to fully explore the serenity of rural life. The sequel to his album “F.O.O.L” will be out later this month and we caught up with the young producer to learn more about his music, upbringing, and life in the quiet town of Upland.
Would you mind introducing yourself for those who aren't familiar with you and your work?
My real name is Christopher and I go by Blanco Billions, i’m a 21 year old producer from Ontario California and I would say my music is more on the atmospheric-relaxing side. My main goal when creating music is to take the listener somewhere in their head where they feel at peace, so that includes a lot of soft luscious pads, strings, and heavily reverberated effects haha
It’s nice to speak with you Chris, so when did you first get interested in music? How has your style evolved since you started? Also, what was it like growing up in Ontario?
I've always loved music, I was about 14 when I just got the thought, "How is the background music even made?" to which began my research in music production. I found a fairly well known software (FL Studio) and started playing around in that. At first I was making boom bap beats trying to sound like DJ Premier and pretty much everyone on Illmatic. Then the "phonk" era came about and I started sampling old-school soul/funk while putting 808s and drums over them. And finally after learning a bit of music theory and getting my hands on decent synth sounds I fell in love with atmospheric sounds and simple drums that let the synths be the main component. As for growing up in Ontario, I loved it. It wasn't the best city, and I lived in a mobile home, but it felt more like home than anywhere I've lived up to this point. I would get into a fair bit of trouble since most of the people I hung around with weren't the best influences. But I ended up on the right path and overall the good outweighs the bad that would occur in my city, any day, I could go on and on about growing up in Ontario but we'll save that for a different time hahah.
What did your parents and friends think when you were in high school and starting to get into music? Did they support your ambition?
To put it frankly nobody really gave a shit, they were supportive as in "Oh that's cool" and by just refraining from saying stuff like "that'll never work" but overall no real interest. I honestly didn't (and don't) mind it. When you're so into something and passionate about it then you don't care if your friends/family are "real supporters" or not. You are your own motivation and support. It's also not their responsibility to be constantly checking up on your ambitions since everyone has their own life. The only time it's an issue is if say you have a show or a piece of merch and they want to ask for free stuff or exclusive access, it's like no, I'm barely getting this off the ground and I can't afford to be doing this at the moment. Other then that, you don't have to be constantly showing support to actually be supportive I feel.
That's well put man, I have a picture in my head of you working hard in Ontario on your craft, were you focused on school at all or were you completely focused on the music?
Yes I enjoyed school actually, I enjoyed having that thing where it's like "guaranteed" that if you work hard then rewards will come. That's what school was for me, if I put in enough work I could get into a good college and that would be my reward. Music is completely different though, you can work 24 hours of the day for years and not get anything out of it. It's scary, but if you do happen to be one of the lucky few to be able to grasp those rewards then it's infinitely more rewarding then school I feel. And once I realized that, and once I first felt a tiny glimpse that music could actually work for me, most of my focus shifted to music.
How old are you now and where are you living today?
I'm 21 right now my man, about to turn 22 in about 2 weeks! Now I reside in Upland and I really enjoy it. Doesn't feel like a community since most of my neighbors are older Asian folk and nobody ever talks to each other, but I like quiet. I could never do big cities. My end goal includes a small house on a farm in the middle of nowhere with my lady and a dog, on some Courage The Cowardly Dog shit, haha.
Happy almost birthday man! That sounds great, so do you live by yourself or have roommates? Also what was the transition from Ontario to Upland like? Has the new place given you more peace of mind to work on your music or has it influenced the music in some way?
Thank you for the early birthday wishes! And I live with my girlfriend of 4 years actually! And as far as transition goes, it's been swell. In Ontario, I had to make sure that every lock on our little shed was locked since people would constantly try to break in and steal my $20 bike hahah, and here in Upland our neighbors have their garage door open while away for a whole weekend and never have any issues. So yeah, definitely more quiet and more of a peace of mind. It did influence my music in the way that my new environment doesn't have an "aggressive" atmosphere to it where it feels like you have to be making hard trap music to fit in. Back then I would come across a smooth synth sound and blow it off as "too pussy" since I could not imagine anyone where I was from listening to stuff like that.
That's interesting how an environment can influence an artist perception of their art, I'm glad you've made it out there man. Also congratulations on getting a place with your girlfriend, has she been central to your journey as an artist? How do you think your relationship with her has influenced your work?
I appreciate the words my man. I feel like if anything, her presence has shifted my feelings to produce things that are more on the "uplifting" side as oppose to the "angry" and "hopeless romantic" style I used to before her. I'm not sure how it works, but not even just with music I just overall feel like a more relaxed and appreciative person. Whether that be because of her or my environment I couldn't say for sure, but she definitely plays a big part in it.
That's great man, I'm glad to hear you have a good partner who pushes you to develop. Also, I've noticed you joined bones label SESH? What has that experience been like?
TEAM SESH is an online home for me I've found. All the guys in there are amazing people, I'm glad they exist to put it simply hahah. It's changed my life for the better, being around people as hardworking as they are. Bones definitely serves as an inspiration since I first spoke to him when he was averaging a couple thousand plays on SoundCloud. Watching the TeamSESH brand grow has definitely been one of the most eye-opening things I've experienced in my life without a doubt, and to be a part of myself is just surreal. I couldn't have asked for a better experience in this industry thus far.
Ah so to put it simply: it's a big team, some of the guys live in the same city as others and some only a couple states away. The ones who are closer to each tend to hang out pretty often, but when we plan a show or something we try to get as many of the guys together as possible. That includes Hnrk and Vegard who are actually out of the country altogether hahah. So it's not just an internet thing, I say internet home since I discovered it on the internet haha.
That's great man, sounds really exciting, what else is on your mind you would like to cover or share? I've really enjoyed our conversation this past hour, your doing great and on the right direction.
Thank you man, I've been enjoying this interview! Hope this platform grows to be something big as it's already one of the most professional ones I've dealt with haha. As far as me having something in mind I think we've covered a great amount of stuff haha, if anything I did want to simply share what I have in the works.
Of course! What should we expect from you these next few weeks and months man
As for what's in the works, I want to first shout out the Twitch stream haha. For those reading I want to recommend going and hanging out there from time to time, we have a small but very motivating community full of great people at the moment and it's nice to be a part of. Tune into me and Ena's new podcast Guilty Conscience on YouTube if you guys are into podcasts! As for music, I'm actually working on something I'm pretty proud of. A little sequel to my personal favorite album I've made "F.O.O.L". Releasing this month! I believe that is all in terms of what's in the works, haha.