’Willy Joy & Buku – Punani’

Bass music is in a constant state of evolution with new sub-genres emerging each year. The artists who shine in an often over-crowded space, though, are those who manage to be unaffected by the current trends around them. Two producers who stand out in the realm of trap/dubstep/future tunes are Chicago’s Willy Joy and Philly’s Buku, who recently teamed up for the two-track Meaner & Leaner EP. While Willy brings a festival-ready, big-room sound, Buku provides a far-out bounce and funk making them a force to be reckoned with as a duo–both in the studio and on stage.

Buku and Willy Joy will be taking over the upstairs room at 1015 Folsom SF this Friday, December 5th, as part of their Meaner & Leaner Tour and we’re excited to be offering a couple VIP passes to the show, which will also feature sets from Washed Out and the DJs of Make It Funky SF among others. We also had a chance to catch up with Willy and Buku in advance of the show to chat a bit about their musical backgrounds, the tour life and how they first met. Enter the contest and enjoy the interview below–if you win, you’ll also get a meet & greet with Buku & Willy in case you’ve got any questions for them we haven’t already asked! Please keep in mind that all participants in this contest must be over the age of 21 and bring a valid ID to the venue to pick up their tickets. The winner will be notified via email Friday morning. Tickets are also still on sale and available for purchase here.


TMN:  Thanks for taking the time guys! First off, can you tell us a bit about how you first linked up? A Chief Keef show was involved, right?

Willy Joy: The first time we met was when we were booked on the same show in Washington, DC. It was in a big complex, and Chief Keef had a show in another room of the building. We kept sneaking away from our own show to go watch his. It was a definite bonding moment.

TMN: What caught your attention about each other’s sound?

Willy Joy: Buku has such a strong sonic identity – you can instantly tell if a track is his, and its such a dope, cohesive sound. I’m always drawn to people finding originality in established forms, and he’s carved out an entirely new lane for himself. That’s a long winded way of saying his tunes bang super hard.

Buku: I was and still am infatuated with the amount of energy Willy has in his music. From listening and playing together, I’ve learned quite a bit how to keep the party going wild. When he plays his tunes and special edits live, I usually have to grab hold of something concrete nearby.

TMN: You both have a long history with music. How does your musical background/education impact your productions?

Willy Joy: We both went to school for music, and I’ve always been involved with it one way or another since I was a kid. I grew up playing jazz trumpet, singing in metal bands, and played in a Ghanaian drumming ensemble throughout college. My productions are probably most impacted by the music that shaped me as an adolescent – 90s rave sounds, metal, southern rap, etc…

Buku: At this point, it’s just become a part of who I am. After years of formal studying and obtaining a music degree, it’s practically become a second nature. With that being said, I’ve always been a fan of creating some grandiose chord progressions. Without my education, I probably wouldn’t have written the secondary dominant sequence in “Cake Dough Cheddar,” and that would have been a damn shame!

TMN: With your brand of bass music, I’d imagine the live shows get pretty wild. What’s the craziest thing you’ve witnessed at one of your shows?

Willy Joy: I once saw a guy get so turned up that he took off his prosthetic leg and started waving it around in the air like a flag. I later watched this gentleman chugging champagne out of the same leg. I want to be on his level.

Buku: Oh man. I’ve seen way too many crazy things. I’ve seen a couple making sweet love against a window that looked over the rear of a venue. It was difficult to see at first, but after a few flashes from the lights onstage it went from “what’s going on up there?” to “oh… OH OK.”

TMN: You’ve toured together quite a bit now. What about your performance styles do you think meshes so well together?

Willy Joy: I think what makes the pairing work well is that we’re complimentary to each other without too much overlapping. It keeps the whole show interesting and makes for a really good flow of music overall. We’re on the same page as far as where we want to take the crowd, and between us we can cover the whole spectrum of bass music fans. It makes for a really awesome crowd.

Buku: The transfer of energy just works so well. I tend to take the more wonky/bouncy/funk route, and Willy will finish the night with his blend of party anthems. It’s just good fun vibes through the whole night.

TMN: What are three things you’ve got to have with you on tour?

Willy Joy: My TRTL sleep scarf, custom earplugs, and infinite wi-fi.

Buku: My new GoPro and accessories! Jogger sweatpants. And polarized ray bans. Note to self: check out Willy’s sleep scarf.

’Willy Joy – Love Me Right’

TMN: Buku, what’s your favorite Willy Joy song?

Buku: “Love Me Right.” Everything about it just works for me. The drops, buildups, and that chord progression in the break- good lawdy.

’Buku – That Thang’

TMN: And visa versa for you, Willy?

Willy Joy: There are many but I still bang “That Thang”.

TMN: Sadly, I’ve never been to the Chi or Philly. If I was going to your hometowns for one day, what should I do?

Willy Joy: EAT EVERYTHING. Chicago is a food lovers paradise. Then once you sleep it off wake up just in time to go see some legendary house music.

Buku: Explore the various neighborhoods! Pittsburgh isn’t a super large city, and getting around is relatively painless. There are a bunch of fun, unique neighborhoods- each with their own flavor of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. And if you’re there on a saturday night, make sure you go to (my favorite party) Hot Mass.

TMN: If an extraterrestrial came down to earth and asked you what music was, what song would you play them?

Willy Joy: Raffi – “Bananaphone

Buku: It’s a toss up between Boards of Canada – “Olson“, or Gucci Mane – “My Kitchen.”

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