“It’s hard for people to grasp my sound,” explains $1 Bin of his unique compositions. “That’s my only issue. If I was making weed rap and shit, I’d be in like sin.”
True to his Harlem roots, the DJ/producer is confident in his skills as a musician and sonic visionary. But with most people expecting to hear him drop trap beats or sample-heavy New York boom bap, Bin sometimes feels cursed by his desire to stay ahead of the mainstream curve.
Despite his fight against stereotypes, each day it gets harder to acknowledge the blessings that his original approach is bringing to his career. With his buzz growing louder each day, the constantly evolving producer is just trying to focus on mastering a style that is all his own.
Mechanical Dummy spoke with the eccentric young genius to get some insight into his influences and inspirations. Whether you can grasp his sound or not, his dedication to originality should motivate creators from all fields to try something new.
Words by G. King
Photo by Kinnison Cyrus
Mechanical Dummy: Who are you and what do you create?
$1 Bin: I’m $1 Bin, and I create all original music for people to enjoy. The only thing I’m good at is making music. And I try to make myself all original because I’m tired of people doing the same thing over and over again.
MD: What genre would you put your music in?
$1: The genre that I put myself in is unclassifiable. If you go into iTunes and you try to classify a song sometimes, all the way at the bottom it has unclassifiable. That’s where I put myself, because I have so many styles that I am a group. Didn’t Wayne say that? Yeah. I can do everything. There’s nothing that I can’t do. I study music. It’s not just a fun thing. I really do listen to everything, and I put all of that together into myself and it’s like I’m doing something different in my own lane.
MD: What music are you currently studying?
$1: I’m listening to Hardstyle. And like Jersey and Philly club stuff. That’s what I’ve been listening to lately because that’s the next wave of music that’s gonna be popular. As far as individuals, I haven’t been outside a lot lately. I’ve been in my house working on my album so much that I haven’t had time to listen to someone’s project or listen to a new mixtape. I’m really out of touch as far as who’s dropping what. I don’t know what’s going on.
MD: Why do you believe Hardstyle and Jersey/Philly Club are the next big trend?
$1: Because I went to Montreal this past summer and I always knew or heard about Jersey Club. Me being from New York, I always knew about it. But when I went to Montreal, I was in the club and they played a Jersey Club song that I know nobody would know unless you’re on the Internet and you know your shit. I was saying, “This has to be the shit if I’m in another country and they’re playing this shit and it’s American.” And as far as the Hardstyle stuff, I have a lot of friends in the Netherlands. And they always send me Hardstyle Trap shit. And as you know, Trap is what’s going on right now. So once Trap dies out, I guarantee you that the Hardstyle stuff and Jersey and Philly Club will definitely be the next shit. When I was at Mad Decent Block Party this past summer, somebody played a Philly club song and it went off. I seen mad people react to it and I knew this is the next shit after Trap.
MD: Are trends a good thing for popular culture?
$1: I’ve never been a big fan of trends. Being how I’m an original kind of guy, I don’t keep up with them. From fashion and music, I really don’t keep up with trends as far as anything. I’m not a fan of it. It’s too pick-up-and-put-down. It’s microwave. I don’t like that. I want something that has longevity and something that you can put your foot into and keep around. But it’s sad that everything being made is here today, gone tomorrow.
MD: How do you stay original in an age of trend spotters and Hypebeasts?
$1: Honestly, I just worry about me. When I make new music, if I just finished listening to a Trap compilation, if I’m about to make a new beat I don’t think about it. I just don’t think about it. It’s, “What can I do to make myself better than what I’ve been hearing lately?” Or, “What can I do that’s left field. I just don’t think about what I’ve been listening to lately?”
MD: What’s your background with music?
$1: When I was in first grade, I went to a specialized music school down in Midtown Manhattan. My grandmother put me in that. I was also always playing the piano when I was growing up. But when I went to Queensboro Community College in 2008, I was a music major at school. I took piano classes and learned it again because I was off of it from when I learned at a young age. Now, I input it in my music. I definitely know what I like and I definitely have the knowledge of a piano enough that I can orchestrate and do whatever I want on a piano.
MD: Do you remember when you got the urge to start creating art?
$1: All my life, I’ve always questioned things. Like, ever since I was 15, “Why do I have to sample this way? Why is this always like this? Why can’t I make my own stuff from scratch?” I’ve always been, I don’t wanna say rebellious, but I’ve always questioned things. And when it came to a point that people couldn’t give me the answer that I liked, or people would say, “Just because,” I would have to do my own research and figure things out my own way. So figuring things out, I’ve been making a substantial amount of music since 2008. Ever since then, I’ve grown to be $1 Bin now. And it’s kind of like you said, I’m in my own lane. Because I just do things my way. I’m so tired of hearing this loop all over again. Why can’t I just do something original? Why can’t I just get all the credit for my work?
MD: Do you have a particular vision or concept for your upcoming album?
$1: From what I’ve been leaning towards, half of the songs are gonna be albums songs, like stuff with stories and concept songs, and the other half is gonna be dancey, EDM kind of shit. Not EDM as in Trap and Dub step, but something more up-tempo that can be spun at parties and stuff like that… No date, I’m thinking about putting out a single this summer. We’re kind of trying to shoot a video for it now.
MD: How do you feel about the EDM trend that’s taken over music in the past few years?
$1: I think it’s good because it’s starting to show that Internet music is starting to become mainstream. It’s great on that behalf, but I don’t think it’s good when it’s here today gone tomorrow. Like “Harlem Shake.” I remember hearing it when I was interning at a studio last summer. A couple of people were talking about it. I was never a fan of it. Next thing you know, a month ago, everyone in their school and at their job is doing a “Harlem Shake” video. And I’m just saying to myself, this is an old song that just happened to pop up (recently). And I think about it today, no one is making anymore “Harlem Shake” videos. I don’t like when it’s trendy. If there’s longevity in it, then yeah I appreciate it. But I don’t really like it when people just microwave it and that’s it.
MD: What do you define as timeless music that transcends trends?
$1: For example, “I Remember” by Kaskade and DeadMou5, I heard that song being played in the club last week. That’s what I mean by longevity. Like, that’s a great song and the people appreciate it. But “Harlem Shake” won’t be remembered next year.
MD: Who’s most to blame for the oversaturation?
$1: I think it’s the blogs to a certain extent. The blogs have to put out the music and there’s no time to sink it all in. Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, they would put out a record and that would be the only record that’s out from the label for that month. Now, blogs have to put out so much music and have to keep their feeds up that that’s watering down the essence of it. It’s the fact that being in the business, they can’t be true to themselves. Where a blogger might like a song or album and be promoting it heavy but somebody else is putting up new shit and it’s just oversaturation.
MD: What’s your favorite song that you’ve created so far? The one you’d play for someone who’s never heard your music before.
$1: I have so many styles that I don’t know. I don’t even have a favorite song of mine. I have songs that I fall in love with temporarily, but I would have to tell someone to listen to my Bandcamp. Actually, I take that back. “Congelamento #1” is something I would say defines who I am because I’m still in love with that song. The chords that I play on that song are just so lovely that it’s ridiculous. I remember the process of that. I made the beat in a friend of mine’s studio in East New York. And I couldn’t get the files so I had to mix the MP3. He sent the files back later so I had to re-mix the song. I love the way the song flows and how it feels towards me. And once I heard it chopped and screwed, I knew I was in love with it.
MD: What are your plans for the near future?
$1: More shows and getting my name out there. I need to be known in New York. I need to be known in the United States of America. I’m global right now, I could be way more global, but I want to do more shows, perform for more people. I just want to be exposed more. I wanna be out in the world.
MD: Do you have an ultimate goal for your career?
$1: My ultimate goal is to make millions and to be a producer and to have clientele and artists I can make music with for the future. I wanna make music with people and still be able to do shows and still be able to do remixes. I wanna travel around the world and still be able to have that producer element to myself.