Kyle Bishoff, also known as Supertask, is a downtempo bass artist from Oregon, and a part of Lab Group. He’s had quite the year performance-wise: starting out strong with Coalesce, then Tipper and Friends Suwannee, plus an upcoming show at Resonance. On top of this, he’s released an incredible EP in July titled “Zero Day”. I sat down with him after his set in Boone, North Carolina to discuss his music and personal background.
TWoW: Alright, let’s start with the basics. How long have you been producing music, and what got you into electronic music specifically?
Supertask: I picked up a guitar when I was seven years old. Both my parents played guitar, so I’ve always been musically influenced by them. I played in multiple bands growing up and loved playing music live. It became hard to rely on other people to get things done as far as meeting up, having practices, and having people carry their own weight.
When I was probably 14, I had been doing a bit of video production. I had a Youtube channel, and I was making skate videos. I just loved being creative, so I bought this computer that had a bunch of software on it from eBay. I was messing around with video, and one day I accidentally opened a DAW called Logic Pro. I played around with it and it started making noise. The second I figured out it made sound, I literally didn’t leave my computer for the rest of the day. I sat down and made an entire track, and yeah I was hooked. I never put it down. 14 years later and here we are.
TWoW: What kind of musical influences did you have growing up and now?
S: I came from classic rock- Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, The Beatles- all that stuff that my parents introduced me to. My dad was in the entertainment industry as well, so he was big into music. As I got older, I started to become more interested in Hip-Hop and rap music. Biggie, Tupac, Atmosphere to name a few. I had some friends that rapped at the time, so I was making beats and recording their raps over them. Hip-Hop kinda bridged the gap between bands and the electronic world. From there, a lot of the friends I was rapping with moved away or got into drugs, and I was too shy to do it on my own, plus I had more fun making the beats.
Making beats for rappers was cool, but I didn’t feel like I had full creative control. This was the catalyst for me to step into the experimental/bass music world. Nowadays, my influences would be more like Thriftworks, CharlestheFirst, Potions, Leet, Binkbeats. However, I try to reduce the influence because I feel like that makes me more organic, pure, and more of myself. Being able to be myself and not have those things rub off on me is really important to me.
TWoW: In previous interviews, you talk about wanting your music to be more subjective, can you talk a little about that?
S: I think when you provide a narrative in a song, your mind follows the narrative. The lyrics may or may not relate to you. It’s a double-edged sword because it can take someone who understands what you’re saying and it makes it instantly relatable to them, which makes them want to listen to you/makes a fan out of them – whatever; but at the same time, if that narrative doesn’t relate to someone you might lose them and their interest. It might be something where they don’t listen to you because it doesn’t line up with their life or their experiences.
Removing lyrics, or having very ambiguous subjective lyrics, and making instrumental music might allow them to experience your art in a way that is more meaningful to them. Whatever meaning they can extract from what you’re doing is, in my opinion, more powerful than making an objective song with a point or a story. The subjectivity of art is something I think is really important because you can look at a painting and interpret it in fifty different ways. Everyone that looks at the painting is going to interpret it differently.
TWoW: This kinda sort of segues into my next question. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this concept for a minute, could you explain what a supertask is?
S: A supertask is a philosophical paradox. It’s an interesting thing cause there’s so much about it you can go into, but the most finite way of describing it is an infinite series of events in a finite amount of time. There are tons of different examples of this, Thompson’s lamp, Zeno’s Paradox, Gabriel’s cake. But let’s say you have a cake. You cut the cake in half and then cut the half in half again. You continue to do this forever. The volume of the cake remains finite and fixed, however, this cake would need an infinite amount of frosting. Movement under this kind of framework is technically impossible because you can never actually reach the end destination because there’s always the next step; it can always be divided in half.
If you break down the physical world, its effectively atoms and molecules vibrating and never actually touching. There’s always space involved. I feel like its a good descriptor of consciousness. Time is a man-made construct, its definitely a useful tool, but its also something we use to define certain things like I’ll be here at a certain time or whatever. But, as far as breaking it down to a distance and movement thing, you can’t really ever touch something else, you can’t interact with something else. That was just really appealing to me as far as a concept cause I feel it’s very relatable, even though it’s not provable. If you want to learn more about this concept I recommend searching Youtube for “V-Sauce – Supertask”.
TWoW: Specifically talking about “Net User” and “Zero Day”, your song titles cover this programming lingo. I’m curious about your experience as a computer nerd.
S: I went to school for computer science at Oregon State University. It was one of those times I was heavily interested in music, so I was still creating content. I really went to school because that’s what my parents wanted me to do. They wanted me to get a good job and they helped me financially to do that. I definitely picked up a lot of knowledge in doing that, but I also had a lot of knowledge beforehand through having a dad who was an engineer. I dropped out of school to pursue music full-time, after year and a half into a degree – best decision I’ve ever made by far.
Music is something more meaningful to me, but I also still care about computers, code, and information technology. I feel like it’s a very prevalent force in the world currently. You rely on technology for every single thing that you do, all the time. It’s interesting because once you understand the framework of the role of code in our society it becomes a very powerful tool. I’ve had jobs working for Apple and different cell phone companies doing IT work. I’ve built computers, setup servers, built websites, wrote code for midi controllers, and have done a very small amount of hacking and networking. The concept of Zero Day was pretty much to spread awareness about the zero-day exploit publicly referred to as Stuxnet.
TWoW: Were you doing this during college?
S: After college. This was kinda getting me stable with income, while I pursued something more meaningful. But it was very, very useful. It taught me a lot of patience along the way, as far as problem-solving, and it really made me not take technology for granted. The end-user of the product doesn’t usually understand the underlying framework that allows the product to function, they just see it as a tool. I am very interested in how the product functions. Information is power. I think the whole realm of IT is pretty much based around that. It can be used in a lot of different ways, it can be used really negatively. People can exploit information.
TWoW: Like Cambridge Analytica?
S: Cambridge Analytica is a fantastic example. I think they have something like five hundred data points on every United States voter. At the end of the day, people might realize that’s what’s happening, some people I know don’t realize that information is collected. If you understand that using a product or a service where you’re not paying for it, like Facebook for example, then you’re the product. You’re the one being profited from. So if at least you come to the awareness that that is the case, and you know a little bit about algorithms, you know a little bit about code, then you know a little bit about how maybe you can manipulate that and use it to combat the way that they’re manipulating you. It effectively levels the playing field. There are a lot of forces hidden behind the code that most people will never see or understand. Understanding this allows you to maintain your sovereignty and not be as manipulated.
TWoW: A lot of people don’t know about your side project Corporeal, can you explain the differences between that alias and Supertask?
S: First of all, Corporeal means “of the body”. I’ve had many aliases over the years, and I won’t give those away. Some of it still exists on the internet, so if people want to do the research and find it, then that’s great. There were some copyright implications in the United States for me to perform music live under the Corporeal name, which effectively prompted the re-branding to Supertask. At the same time, I took some time off during the switch, and more so refined the direction I wanted the art to go.
I still don’t really know where I want to take it, and I feel like putting a limiting factor on that is detrimental to the art, if you put yourself in a box you don’t have the ability to expand. With both projects, they’re definitely very open-ended. I don’t like to describe them, I like it to be as open as possible. Nowadays, Supertask is the main one I focus on. Corporeal’s the place where maybe the content I don’t feel is up to par with the current stuff goes.
TWoW: Do you have any upcoming shows or releases you’d like to tell us about?
S: I’m going to be dropping a mix with 40oz Collective on October 17th entitled “30 Minutes of Unreleased/Unfinished Music Part 2”. I’m doing an individual set at Resonance, as well as a Lab Group set. I also have a tour coming up with Mersiv and Mr. Bill. As far as music, I just got done moving to California, so I have some stuff in the works, but I’ll probably put out another project by the end of the year. I’m currently sitting on about three unfinished records worth of music, just waiting on the right time.
TWoW: Alright, last question. How did it feel absolutely blowing everyone’s mind at Suwanee?
S: I’m humbled that people feel that way, first of all. That was the first all-original set I’ve played in a long time. A lot of rooms and a lot of places I play, I don’t feel like a lot of the content I make, as far as the chiller downtempo stuff, works in a lot of environments. You might disappoint a promoter, or you might disappoint people who were expecting something else. Especially when you pair with an artist who makes heavier music. It’s not so much about comparison or anything like that, it’s more-so you don’t want to give a fanbase that came for one thing, something that they weren’t looking for.
So when I played the Tipper event, it was the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in any situation ever playing my own content. It was my second time playing with Tipper ever, the first being Coalesce at New Year, which was my first time seeing him. I had an amazing time at Coalesce, but admittingly wasn’t being myself. I knew it, and I think the crowd knew it as well. This really made me change my plan of attack for T&F. I opened up and was completely myself. I played the music that is really meaningful to me, most of which have gotten me through some incredibly dark times.
That festival is solely dedicated to the art, and the process of cultivating an experience with the crowd, rather than the ego of the performer. I’m very big on that. I don’t want people to look at me when I play, I’d rather have art that they’re focused on. I was fortunate enough to get paired with The Void. I got to go back and watch a recording and was just blown away by that whole thing. I honestly was really nervous about that set because that was also the most people I’ve ever played for at that time, but the second I hit play on the first song and watched people’s eyes get wide as the visuals started I loosened up, and actually never felt more comfortable onstage.♦