Victor Imbo – Behind “Cherry Picking”

“I think it’s great that music is so accessible, and that artists are now capable of distributing their own music to streaming services and labels and whatnot.” Meet Victor Imbo, Musician behind his new self-produced album entitled ‘Cherry Picking’.

Album Artwork for Victor Imbo’s “Cherry Picking”

“I’ve been writing this album piece by piece since about the second month of quarantine – so about April. I was really pumping out a lot of stuff towards the start of the pandemic, but ended up being unhappy with a lot of it as I sat with it longer. Because of that, most of the songs on this project were started around September or October when I was back at school. It’s been a lot of sitting at the computer and creating instrumentals until something really struck a chord with me and I felt compelled to add vocals to it and really build it up. The lyrics and content is always there, its more searching for the proper frame for them.”

On the subject of composition, Victor breaks down his musical process, influences, and all that goes into his creative vision.

“I really just listen to a whole lot of music by artists I look up to. Brother Ali, Black Thought, Atmosphere, and Sa Roc to name a few. Then I sit down and try out different chords and different grooves that I feel can sit well with my own style of vocals. A major problem I encountered was trying to emulate those guys and then finding out my voice didn’t sit well over that particular style of instrumental very well, so I had to find out ways to put my own spin on my inspirations to carve out my own sound. But I get a lot of great compositional and form ideas from listening”

“I took a lot of inspiration from guys like Chance, who don’t have an outstanding singing voice, but turn those imperfections into a more intimate/ raw sound. I firmly believe that the actual base qualities of a voice don’t make a difference in the quality of music they produce, like whether it’s more nasally, or bassy, It’s all about how they treat it and construct the music around it. I think it makes all the difference, and beyond the instrumental, I really had to figure out an interesting way to treat my vocals production-wise. So that’s something I’m still experimenting with. Allowing my music to have some of those imperfections and almost using that as a building block for the track.”

As an independent artist producing his own music, Victor elaborates on his perspective of the all-new behemoth that is the streaming industry.

“I think its great that music is so accessible, and that artists are now capable of distributing their own music to streaming services and labels and whatnot – But I also think there’s a certain amount of a barrier thats put into music making, in terms of money. Artists with more financial backing may be able to progress much further now than a more talented artist with less resources. But that ties into how music becomes popular, like Tik Tok and stuff, and I still haven’t really formulated a full opinion on that”

Embedded track list for Victor Imbo’s “Cherry Picking”

“The album is basically just my way of expressing my experiences. I come from Minnesota, where the killing of George Floyd happened, so I felt a need to address that, and all the emotions I had about it. The tracks Running and all that you want is about that. Running is probably my favorite off the album. It talks about how I made running my distraction over the summer. Everywhere I ran I would see remnants of social unrest, whether it be boarded up businesses, or graffiti with the names of victims of police brutality, but because I was so tired and singularly focused on running fast it allowed me to push those grim reminders into the back of my mind. And it speaks on the guilt I felt for doing that. Since I feel like that’s what everyone has done for so long which has only led to the problem never ending. I think overall, the project is just about how I feel in general. Home speaks on moving between people and places too frequently, and Ink Runs Dry talks about my thoughts on death. So not really one overarching theme, just a lot of things that are personal to me I suppose. I mostly structured [the album] to mix up the story telling with the more message oriented [tracks]. Sonically, I tried to stick with sounds of the same texture so that even if there wasn’t an overarching theme, it could be highly listenable as a whole album all at one time. I wanted to keep a jazzy sort of theme, so I enlisted the help of some of my classmates in the jazz department – Huge shout out to Eric Banitt and Logan Gare. Just keeping various songs with jazz undertones helped me stay true to my roots, and also create that unifying texture. Home, the opening track was composed last by far, and has very little of that jazzy element, but I felt like I should include it anyway, and a lot of people have really liked it so I’m glad I did, but I put it as the opener because it left listeners guessing about what was to come”

Beyond the album, we asked Victor what his goals are as a musician. Here’s what he had to say:

“I really want to make music for as long as I can, and make as much of a career as I can with it. But it’s not my only goal musically. I really love working as a recording and mixing engineer for other musicians (@brasshatproductions on IG) and just working with as many other musicians as possible. I would love to be performing my own music, and being able to make some sort of income from it. That’s the dream haha. Beyond that though, I’ve always dreamed of owning and running a studio and producing professionally. That may not happen in 10 years, but thats something I’ll always be working towards.”

You can stay up to date with everything Victor (@victor_imbo) on Instagram. And, make sure to check the Embed Link above, do your ears a favor, and listen to “Cherry Picking” – out now everywhere.

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