Behind the Music
Behind the Music
MUSICIAN + PRODUCER
Bardo is an enigmatic musician and producer who set his sights on reaching the upper echelons of music and nothing will persuade him to alter what he considers his predestined plan. Armed with undeniable talent and a ridiculous work ethic, Bardo spends most of his days creating complex arrangements that satiate his fans’ desire for authentic, well-produced music. Bardo understands that creating music is a gift. He considers it a timeless craft he was born to squeeze every ounce of passion from. Music feeds his soul and he plans to deliver on the promise he made to himself a long time ago—to put everything he has into his music and to share this gift with the world.
Bardo’s love for music started long before he could identify a chord progression or a guitar riff. He recalls his parents exposing him to British phenom, Omar, and such American artists as The Roots and a Tribe Called Quest, when he was very young. He first started writing rhymes to test his skills at the age of twelve and knew he was onto something good. While in high school, he would spend hours freestyling, filling notebooks with lyrics and arranging music. By then, his soul was set ablaze.
In 2009, Bardo teamed up with long-time friend, Antonio Robles-Levine, who shared his love for music. The duo emerged as Allied Forces with Bardo out front as rapper/producer. They released “Out of Body,” their first mixtape, in 2011, and “Game Tape” in 2012. The hip hop blogger community, much like NBA recruiters scouting an up-and-coming baller with a nasty pull up jumper, started to give Bardo some real looks. His music was reviewed on several well-known blogs and his videos were getting attention on YouTube.
Today, Bardo is delivering his signature fresh flow and elaborate arrangements in a new way. In March 2015, he released a new video and audio track entitled, “Do Them Thangs.” The single is the first piece of a euphonic puzzle Bardo is creating. After the release of his last full-length project, the charismatic artist made the decision to take a step back from actively recording to study some of the greats in black music. Upon researching classic soul, funk, reggae, blues and neo-soul music genres, and experimenting in the studio, he began to fall in love with earlier forms of black music outside of traditional hip hop. With his baritone voice and smooth delivery, Bardo is fusing everything he loves about these classic sounds with his expansive knowledge of hip hop and his unique, worldly perspective.
“I went back to albums that my parents loved when I was a young kid living in Japan like Omar's ‘For Pleasure,’ ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,’ and ‘Street Songs’ by Rick James,” explained Bardo, who spent several of his formative years in Asia. “At the time, this music was too slow and mellow for my taste, but for my parents it represented comfort and familiarity in Japan’s seemingly homogeneous society where we were obvious outsiders. I didn't know it at the time but those songs would cement themselves deep into my memory and subconscious. So much so that fifteen years later, they produce emotions and reactions inside me that are so strong they're almost impossible to control or explain.”
Bardo continues: “The Roots have the ability to take me back to being seven-years-old, sitting in the kitchen of my family's apartment in Tokyo, looking out of the window at the casino across the street with the huge neon lights,” Bardo shares. “And Jill Scott and Erykah Badu’s music puts me back on my bike, riding past all of the older people washing laundry in Kawasaki, Japan.”
“Do Them Thangs” is a well-crafted nod to loose ends and not-so-clean breaks in relationships. On this project, Bardo surrounds himself with accomplished musicians including co-producer, James Treichler. Treichler plays bass on the track and Nathan Saffold, aka Dr. Chicago, plays piano. Evan Opitz plays guitar, Emily Otnes provides angelic background vocals, and Reggie Chapman and Marcus Tenney are on horns.
Bardo’s fan base continues to grow. With more and more performance dates and a new full-length project coming out this year, Bardo is going full throttle as an artist who understands the power of his own brand and one who is very much in control of his creative process. Check out Bardo's latest project, GRINGO, now available on iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify and SoundCloud.