Brooklyn-based producer Stephen Jacob Paul, AKA Bit Funk, is putting a fresh face on nu-disco thanks to inspiration from diverse acts like Stevie Wonder and Basement Jaxx. Becoming creatively involved with music at a young age, he quickly recognized the potential of electronic music. "I was in bands playing every genre of music you can imagine. As I got older, I found myself getting more and more specific about the projects I wanted to work on. When I realized that I could do everything myself using electronic instruments and computers, it really changed my mindset about music," he explains.
Paul's moniker, which has come to define his sound, came up early in his career. "I was making music in a bunch of different styles and wrote a song called 'Bit Funk,'" he says. "Afterwards, I realized I wanted to do more in that form, and the song became a blueprint for that project."
The producer's latest single, "Off The Ground," featuring Shae Jacobs, is a bouncy, tropical house track with an accessible, pop-ready hook. "When I started out, I wanted to create something that was kind of the Bit Funk version of a bass drop club song but mixed with a radio vocal," he relates. "Basically, I was trying to make something that had all the energy of a bass track, but with a little more emotional depth. Shae's vocals were a natural fit and he was on point from the first demo. After we refined things and cut the final vocal, I think he really nailed what I was looking for on the song," says Paul.
Despite relocating to New York, Paul has stayed true to his Maritime Canadian roots. "I'm back in Halifax a lot these days. It's kind of a getaway for me when I'm not touring," he says. "'Off The Ground' was written there. The energy of a fast moving city like Brooklyn or LA is great, but it's nice to go some place where things are simple to clear your head."
A constant evolving studio setup aids the producer in his creative process. "As can probably be gathered by my Instagram, it's always changing! For writing, I have my Fender Rhodes, a few analog synths, V-drums, and a P-bass," says Paul.
"Lately, I've been on a digital gear kick, so I've been buying up lots of 'obsolete' FX units and old digital synths. Combining cheap vintage digital boxes with high-end gear is great; it gives you a really wide palette to draw on."
In order to avoid falling into an artistic rut, Paul gives himself space from the studio. "When writing original songs, I definitely try to get as much of it written away from the computer as possible. It's very easy for me to get bogged down trying to get a synth patch just right or spending too much time on mix aspects very early in the process, which can distract from focusing on writing the song itself," he says.
Among the producer's favourite clubbing venues are San Francisco's Audio and Paris's Wanderlust. "There are lots of great venues these days. I'm a fan of clubs that care about the experience for both the DJ and the audience and are willing to invest to make it right," he explains. "They also have to recognize that, to do a good show, you can't be separated or raised up too far away from the crowd. You have to be right there with them so you can react to and work with the audience's energy."
Having already toured the United States, Canada, and Europe, Paul still has energy to burn. "I'm working on finishing the next single, which should be out early next year. I'm also working on doing another European tour. After that, I plan to drink the martian water."