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Bridget Small talks to Joe Walker aka Bullant of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard fame.
Interview: Bullant
May 22, 2022

Bullant is the solo project of Melbourne based musician and DJ Joey Walker. The alias acts as a depository for his electronic productions that diverge vastly from his role as a member of bands Love Migrate and King Gizzard the Lizard Wizard. The producer released his debut album Tyson, Crying through Flightless in 2020 as well as a few singles released through PHC Films.

Bullant’s compositions dispense often quite dark techno with flickers of visceral IDM experimentation. Recently, he has produced a rework for King Gizzard’s latest release Butterfly 3001, a remix album of their 2021 album Butterfly 3000. The Bullant edit entitled 2​.​02 Killer Year (Bullant’s Fuck Mike Love Remix) is a compelling brain dance revision that flaunts Bullant’s capability operating in both King Gizzard and as a polished electronic producer.

We had a chat alongside his Butter Sessions mix about his output as Bullant, balancing producing with Gizzard and what he has been working on lately.

photo bullant

Bridget Small: Can you provide the context surrounding producing as Bullant? When did the project begin?

Joe Walker: In terms of creating the moniker I reckon it would've been around 2017. I thought at the time I'm just gonna have a crack at doing it properly. It kind of coincided with me getting a studio with some friends, separate to the one in my bedroom which helps a lot. In 2018 I made the first release Tyson Crying which was in between tours with Gizzard. Usually, I'm really my own worst enemy when it comes to making music which applies to other projects. I'm just too self critical, even if something's good, I will just work until it becomes just kind of like crap to my ears. So then I'll just move on and never do anything. I guess that first record was me just actively trying to employ some discipline and say to myself no, just see something out, you know? So that was 2018. The other stuff has made things constantly busy. So I'm just chipping away at it all at all times.

tyson crying

Bridget Small: I read that your album (2020) Tyson, Crying was created with a demo version of Reason and Ableton. Each track was recorded and finished in one session as you couldn’t save the sessions to return to. That sounds quite liberating and a good way to beat choice paralysis?

Joe Walker: Working within those limits meant that I just kind of had to move on. It meant that if I was onto something I had to work it to a point where the main meat of it was there because if my computer crashed and I just hadn't saved, it was gone. That kind of ephemeral kind of thing was pretty important for the process. Some songs would just appear within a day and then I could fine tune it at a later date with mixing. I'm pretty sure I made the album in two weeks I think when the band guys were on holiday somewhere and I had a period of time where I just didn't have to think about Gizzard.

Bridget Small: Have you since expanded production wise?

Joe Walker: During the second longer lockdown, I took the plunge into modular. This was a huge thing for me as well because I'd always just worked in the box. I’d used synthesizers before and understood how to get certain sounds but I didn't really understand what I was doing procedurally, as a kind of step by step thing. I put it off because the learning curve is so intense but then I realised that it seems a lot more complex than it actually is. It’s now exciting because it's such a place of inspiration as it's so generative.

Bridget Small: The PHC record label and film production company have released two films with Bullant soundtracks - The Simpsons Suck Now and High Rivals. The collaboration results in quite harsh and restless narratives, is that your vision or more PHC’s direction?

Joe Walker: John from PHC is an old friend and we’ve always spoken romantically about music and film together. So when I did the Tyson Crying record, John did a film clip for probably the darkest song on the album with the light-hearted title The Simpsons Suck Now. John deals with quite heavy themes and toyed with the title and liked how it sits as an oxymoron against the music. The film clip High Rivals was more of a collaborative process where we reverse engineered the music. He shot the clip and then I made the music with more of the intention of trying to make it a score so it was more of an experiment which was exciting.

Bridget Small: Given the vastness of music projects you’re involved in, I can conclude you have an open mind when it comes to genre and sound. Do you find there’s one element that you look for across the board?

Joe Walker: I think fundamentally it’s melody that my ears will prick up for, I’m kind of eternally searching for it, but that being said a lot of electronic music isn’t filled with melody. I suppose it’s more like an unquantifiable tone or mood. I guess it is comparable to jazz or free jazz or whatever you want to call it. As soon as there’s a mood or a tone that is touched upon you understand it but can’t explain why that is. I feel like that’s what is so amazing about dance music as it hits in a similar way. When it comes to my songwriting for Gizz I am searching for melody. When it comes to making music for Bullant, it’s more a hook or a song that I like and deviate from it and explore it in a different way.

Bridget Small: How do you find your association with King Gizzard directs the response to Bullant? Do you ever imagine how you would be received without King Gizz?

Joe Walker: I feel like most people who are aware of Bullant are probably just aware of me because of Gizzard, and not trying to take away from the fact that they may or may not be fans of electronic music either. I guess that was always going to happen too as Bullant has come about without context or without moving amongst certain electronic labels. I am completely comfortable with them both sitting side by side too. I like to think the electronic thing is going to start to infiltrate Gizzard a little more. But yeah, any Gizzard fan who likes Bullant is ultra supportive and pumped for me which is nice. If I had started Bullant without being in Gizzard, it would be way less loaded and I feel like that goes both ways. People probably see me as the guy from Gizzard and dismiss the music I make as Bullant. I’d probably think the same, but hopefully that changes over time. I often think about what I would think of Gizzard if I wasn’t in the band. I guess we shot ourselves in the foot with having a name as crap as it is haha.

Bridget Small: Do you have plans to play live? How do you envision translating Bullant live? What’s coming up for Bullant?

Joe Walker: I hope to get a modular set going as I’ve been super inspired by Surgeon and Blawan and the way they use the modular live. I would love to use it to generate melody and improvise so it comes across as a music performance that isn’t alienating in its abstractness. I also want to continue to put out music regularly. I’ve got a lot of new music on the cards that I’m really excited about and proud of too. I’m not striving for popularity either. My idea of success would be if a peer or a DJ or producer that I respect was to play one of my songs, that would just be it for me.

iurdfgvjknf

Interview: Bullant
May 22, 2022
Bridget Small talks to Joe Walker aka Bullant of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard fame.
Carousel Image

Bullant is the solo project of Melbourne based musician and DJ Joey Walker. The alias acts as a depository for his electronic productions that diverge vastly from his role as a member of bands Love Migrate and King Gizzard the Lizard Wizard. The producer released his debut album Tyson, Crying through Flightless in 2020 as well as a few singles released through PHC Films.

Bullant’s compositions dispense often quite dark techno with flickers of visceral IDM experimentation. Recently, he has produced a rework for King Gizzard’s latest release Butterfly 3001, a remix album of their 2021 album Butterfly 3000. The Bullant edit entitled 2​.​02 Killer Year (Bullant’s Fuck Mike Love Remix) is a compelling brain dance revision that flaunts Bullant’s capability operating in both King Gizzard and as a polished electronic producer.

We had a chat alongside his Butter Sessions mix about his output as Bullant, balancing producing with Gizzard and what he has been working on lately.

photo bullant

Bridget Small: Can you provide the context surrounding producing as Bullant? When did the project begin?

Joe Walker: In terms of creating the moniker I reckon it would've been around 2017. I thought at the time I'm just gonna have a crack at doing it properly. It kind of coincided with me getting a studio with some friends, separate to the one in my bedroom which helps a lot. In 2018 I made the first release Tyson Crying which was in between tours with Gizzard. Usually, I'm really my own worst enemy when it comes to making music which applies to other projects. I'm just too self critical, even if something's good, I will just work until it becomes just kind of like crap to my ears. So then I'll just move on and never do anything. I guess that first record was me just actively trying to employ some discipline and say to myself no, just see something out, you know? So that was 2018. The other stuff has made things constantly busy. So I'm just chipping away at it all at all times.

tyson crying

Bridget Small: I read that your album (2020) Tyson, Crying was created with a demo version of Reason and Ableton. Each track was recorded and finished in one session as you couldn’t save the sessions to return to. That sounds quite liberating and a good way to beat choice paralysis?

Joe Walker: Working within those limits meant that I just kind of had to move on. It meant that if I was onto something I had to work it to a point where the main meat of it was there because if my computer crashed and I just hadn't saved, it was gone. That kind of ephemeral kind of thing was pretty important for the process. Some songs would just appear within a day and then I could fine tune it at a later date with mixing. I'm pretty sure I made the album in two weeks I think when the band guys were on holiday somewhere and I had a period of time where I just didn't have to think about Gizzard.

Bridget Small: Have you since expanded production wise?

Joe Walker: During the second longer lockdown, I took the plunge into modular. This was a huge thing for me as well because I'd always just worked in the box. I’d used synthesizers before and understood how to get certain sounds but I didn't really understand what I was doing procedurally, as a kind of step by step thing. I put it off because the learning curve is so intense but then I realised that it seems a lot more complex than it actually is. It’s now exciting because it's such a place of inspiration as it's so generative.

Bridget Small: The PHC record label and film production company have released two films with Bullant soundtracks - The Simpsons Suck Now and High Rivals. The collaboration results in quite harsh and restless narratives, is that your vision or more PHC’s direction?

Joe Walker: John from PHC is an old friend and we’ve always spoken romantically about music and film together. So when I did the Tyson Crying record, John did a film clip for probably the darkest song on the album with the light-hearted title The Simpsons Suck Now. John deals with quite heavy themes and toyed with the title and liked how it sits as an oxymoron against the music. The film clip High Rivals was more of a collaborative process where we reverse engineered the music. He shot the clip and then I made the music with more of the intention of trying to make it a score so it was more of an experiment which was exciting.

Bridget Small: Given the vastness of music projects you’re involved in, I can conclude you have an open mind when it comes to genre and sound. Do you find there’s one element that you look for across the board?

Joe Walker: I think fundamentally it’s melody that my ears will prick up for, I’m kind of eternally searching for it, but that being said a lot of electronic music isn’t filled with melody. I suppose it’s more like an unquantifiable tone or mood. I guess it is comparable to jazz or free jazz or whatever you want to call it. As soon as there’s a mood or a tone that is touched upon you understand it but can’t explain why that is. I feel like that’s what is so amazing about dance music as it hits in a similar way. When it comes to my songwriting for Gizz I am searching for melody. When it comes to making music for Bullant, it’s more a hook or a song that I like and deviate from it and explore it in a different way.

Bridget Small: How do you find your association with King Gizzard directs the response to Bullant? Do you ever imagine how you would be received without King Gizz?

Joe Walker: I feel like most people who are aware of Bullant are probably just aware of me because of Gizzard, and not trying to take away from the fact that they may or may not be fans of electronic music either. I guess that was always going to happen too as Bullant has come about without context or without moving amongst certain electronic labels. I am completely comfortable with them both sitting side by side too. I like to think the electronic thing is going to start to infiltrate Gizzard a little more. But yeah, any Gizzard fan who likes Bullant is ultra supportive and pumped for me which is nice. If I had started Bullant without being in Gizzard, it would be way less loaded and I feel like that goes both ways. People probably see me as the guy from Gizzard and dismiss the music I make as Bullant. I’d probably think the same, but hopefully that changes over time. I often think about what I would think of Gizzard if I wasn’t in the band. I guess we shot ourselves in the foot with having a name as crap as it is haha.

Bridget Small: Do you have plans to play live? How do you envision translating Bullant live? What’s coming up for Bullant?

Joe Walker: I hope to get a modular set going as I’ve been super inspired by Surgeon and Blawan and the way they use the modular live. I would love to use it to generate melody and improvise so it comes across as a music performance that isn’t alienating in its abstractness. I also want to continue to put out music regularly. I’ve got a lot of new music on the cards that I’m really excited about and proud of too. I’m not striving for popularity either. My idea of success would be if a peer or a DJ or producer that I respect was to play one of my songs, that would just be it for me.

iurdfgvjknf