Urban Soundtracks: Bratislava According to Bulp

 

Other than stupid jokes about being poor and miserable, Bratislava rarely gets mentioned when it comes to European cities. That said, my mother once did make a picture of the “I Love Bratislava” sign in the centre of the city as the background photo on her Facebook account for reasons I still don’t understand. This all seems rather unfair. Prague and Budapest might get all the tourists but who really wants that? Other than a certain discrimination towards post-socialist cities, Bratislava is a horribly underrated place. The music scene is stronger than any credit it gets, dovetailing nicely with its emerging design culture that is also going under the radar.

One of the Bratislava-based bands that really grabbed our attention was the brother and sister duo Bulp. Originally started as a solo project of producer Samo Štefanec, his sister Jana came on board as a vocalist soon after. They create emotional, yet at times desolate, electro-pop. It is the music that on a superficial listen could not be that distant from mainstream radio but on closer inspection reveals an incredibly emotional depth and complexity. They create the tracks that linger in your mind and constantly find themselves on your playlist. They’re young and there are showing how exciting Bratislava is. Samo spoke to us and also contributed a mix that reflects Bulp’s idea of Bratislava.

 

The mix you provided is really fantastic. I think these mixes are always sort of personal narratives. Can you explain how the mix explains the mood of Bratislava?

Thank you. This mix mainly explains how I personally see Bratislava’s club subcultures, as it includes music from only Slovak artists. Obviously, it’s impossible to include all genres, there are way more kinds of tunes which soundtrack the city. I also wanted to capture the mix of the city’s melancholy and chill atmosphere and the mix of melodic and more bass driven sounds which you can hear in the clubs.

The mix is interesting because it is fairly different from your own music. Do you find yourself inspired by club music when making your own music? What are your big inspirations?

Absolutely, I’m heavily influenced by club music. In my songs, I tend to connect the raw and organic electronic sounds with melody and songwriting. In this way, my biggest inspirations are Thom Yorke, Mount Kimbie, Moderat, or Nicolas Jaar.

Bratislava has this unfair reputation of being an Eastern European backwater city, because of one particularly stupid Hollywood movie. If your mix illustrates anything, using as it does all local talent, the music scene seems pretty cool there. What local past/present musicians are you big fans of?

Yeah, obviously we’re not riding on goats here. The quality of the scene is huge, as well as the diversity. The majority of my favourite local artists are included in the mix, but If I had to pick my current top favourites, I would say Nvmeri, Autumnist, and Petijee.

Summer is coming up. Do you have any plans for touring?

Last summer was amazing, we toured through it all. This one will most probably not be that busy, but that mainly depends on how my other plans will turn out.

 

https://bulp.bandcamp.com/