I first saw Billy Buss playing onstage with the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble a number of years ago, ripping the trumpet during a jazz solo, using a mic that was hooked up to a distortion pedal that I had thought could only be used for rock music. It’s stuck with me all this time as an incredible example of the interconnectedness of musical genres. Billy went on to study at Berklee College of Music and Loyola University in New Orleans, and now lives between Boston and NYC. In our interview, he talks about utilizing the medium of music to explore deep within ourselves as people and peers and practices this exploration through his debut album of original material, Scenes From A Dream. Billy hustles on the daily organizing and performing shows while also teaching trumpet and piano. Peep the dialogue below!
Reflection is the time we take to ponder, analyze and justify the past. Response is how we utilize the present to bring meaning and potential to the future.
– Billy Buss
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
BB: I grew up in Berkeley, CA. Currently, I split my time between NYC and Boston, MA.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
BB: Reflection is the time we take to ponder, analyze and justify the past. Response is how we utilize the present to bring meaning and potential to the future. For me, the artistic process serves as an introspective microcosm of this system.
How does your work fit in with that definition?
BB: Any musical composition of mine that makes it to paper embodies this approach. Most start either with a melodic idea, concept, feeling, or emotional or spiritual observation and are developed and thusly titled from there. The title track from my debut album, “Scenes From A Dream,” encompasses the over-arching theme explored throughout the CD as a whole. Dreams are projections of our subconscious and often explore, without prejudice, the deepest, darkest (and brightest) corners of our mind. Much like the composers of Romantic Classical music such as Wagner, Beethoven or Debussy, I strive to create music that can elicit a whole spectrum of emotion or thought from the listener. And much like dreams, my music can (and should) be open to many interpretations.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
BB: My day to day may involve anything from composing and practicing to promotion and booking performances to teaching piano, trumpet and music in various settings. Of course, my life outside of music and art is of equal importance to me. Life begets music and music begets life.
Who or what inspires you?
BB: I am inspired by anybody or anything that exudes honesty, purity and persistence towards self-betterment.
Reflection and Response.