Who is Balkan Bump? Artist to Watch

In a genre that moves at an alarming rate, the search for something and someone new is never-ending. The electronic music community desperately awaits for the next fad, trend, or talent to rise up for the sake of infatuating themselves with never being left behind. Being late to the party is always a bummer, and that fear of missing out is what simply drives many to scour the internet for dance music’s hottest new attraction. The imminent search for new music is endless and today I’m here to help you find your favorite new artist. 

Balkan Bump

Will Magid began playing keyboard at a very young age, receiving piano lessons from both of his grandmothers, his cousin Jane, and neighbor Naomi Sparow (who was a contemporary with John Cage). Soon, he expanded into other instruments and picked up the trumpet, learning from Jim McKensey, Denis Park, and with jazz legend Kenny Burrell in college. During his time in college, Will fell in love with West African music and studied Highlife and Afrobeat with Baba Ken Okolulu, eventually leading him abroad to study music in Ghana.

Growing up, one of Will’s greatest influence was his parents and family. As a child, his mother was a teacher, and his dad was a freelance journalist. Despite the pressures to pursue more profitable career opportunities that went against their passions, his parents always stayed committed and made things work out through a mixture of hard work, being thrifty, and good luck. It gave Will the courage and inspiration to continue to follow his dreams and work hard.

Always looking at music production the way an experienced gardener may build up a garden over time, one of his goals in music is to create balance, with each instrument balancing the next and creating a mutually beneficial sonic ecosystem that brings out particular emotions and feelings.

“There’s a common technique called companion planting – a good example of this is planting your Basil next to your tomato plants.  Not only do they taste amazing together, but the basil helps your Tomato crop grow healthier by repelling unwanted pests. The Tomato plant, which grows quite tall, can also create much needed shade for heat sensitive plants like Kale.”

Although initially going under his own name for his music moniker, the Balkan Bump project was created as a concept beat. One day, while rehearsing in his 14-piece brass band called Inspector Gadje, Will and the sax player thought about putting a trap beat behind a song they played. Based on a Northern Macedonian melody, Will took the foundation and emerged with a trappy balkan banger. After uploading the song, “Irfan,” to SoundCloud, it turned the heads of artists such as producers Gramatik and Talib Kweli. Will didn’t initially intend for that sound to become such a dominant part of his musical expression, “but life moves in mysteious ways and I’m just going with the flow.”

Gramatik and Talib Kweli recruited Will for their fusion hit “Aymo,” which was released via Gramatik’s Re:Coil, Pt. 1 album in 2017 and received official remixes from Poldoore, Kotek, Sidecar Tommy of Beats Antique, and Russ Liquid the following year. As Balkan Bump continued to grow, he joined artists such as CloZee and Gramatik on national tours, where his favorite part was “playing on incredible sound systems with incredible humans for incredible humans.”

Equipped with his signature trumpet, the horn became a staple of the Balkan Bump project. Always open to expanding his musical palette, Will took advantage of his time in quarantine to lean an ancient 7-sting lute, the Turkish Saz.

“Trumpet will always be my mistress, BUT recently my favorite instrument to play has been the Turkish Saz. Saz is very intimate and has a harp like quality. It creates a pleasant vibe around the house and in the garden. Also, the tuning is wild! Western instruments divide octaves into 12 even semi tones, but the Saz divides an octave into 17 microtones! It’s been a huge learning curve which is something I really enjoy.”

Continuously being inspired by his peers and collaborators such as Aaron Leibowitz (from ZHU), Pretty Lights, Haywyre, Afrolicious, and many more, Balkan Bump has continued to evolve and grow his craft of ethnomusicology. In fall of 2020, Balkan Bump presented his debut album, Osmanity, a 14-track masterpiece that features some beloved and some fresh songs with collaborations with artists such as Poldoore, Beats Antique, CloZee, The Geek x Vrv, and more. With a remix album on the horizon, Osmanity will continue to impress even further.

“The name comes from two sources: Osman I, the first sultan and founder of the Ottoman Empire; and the word insanity. The insanity is that one power-hungry person can change the course of global history for more than half a millennium. We must never forget the power we the people hold, we must keep our officials accountable or remove them, and last but not least we must #vote.”

More recently, Will has been studying with several trumpet players from the Balkans, notably Dzambo Agusevi, Orhan Veliov, and Demiran Cherimovich. With Osmanity Remixed is in development and Will spending his time gardening in the yard and in the studio, he has just been “digging the crates for records, digging in the soil for carrots, and diggin’ having you read this!”




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