Interview: Bypass Circuit
Written by Mikala Lugen on August 28, 2017
Bypass Circuit is an original electronic music project mixed and recorded by Keith Fiorino. From Madison, Ohio, Fiorino can get a crowd dancing to his spacey, upbeat mixes that can be played at any hour of the day. Influenced by some of today’s greatest instrumental and electronic space bands, Bypass Circuit is sure to be added to your playlists.
I got the chance to talk to Keith about his music influences, recording a new album, and his upcoming shows and plans.
How did you get started playing music?
Keith Fiorino: My dad was a keyboardist and my mom has always been very passionate about music, so I grew up in a very musical household. In fact, they named me after keyboardist and synthesizer legend, Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. When I began to show interest in music they whole-heartedly supported any and all of my musical endeavors. Naturally, I started playing the keys when I was tall enough to reach them. When I was five, I got my first drum set and from then on, I was bitten by the music bug. All through grade school I started immersing myself into music and learning instruments such as clarinet, bass, guitar, sitar. I started playing in bands in middle school and I was actually in a really good hardcore band through high school and in college.
That’s awesome your parents were so into music and supportive of you, what kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Fiorino: My parents had a very eclectic taste in music so they introduced me to bands such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, T-Rex, and Steely Dan to name a few. Growing up through grade school I got more into rock and a slew of related genres. Breaking into high school I was really into heavier genres of music like hardcore, thrash, noise, progressive metal and the like. I also started listening to a lot more experimental/spacey/melodic genres one band most notably being Radiohead.
That’s a good range of music right there. When did you start Bypass Circuit?
Fiorino: I started it around October 2015. I had started using the music software, Ableton Live to audition for a band. I had always heard you can perform live music with it and it’s an incredibly versatile musical tool. So I started looking into it and realized that I could really do a lot with the electronic music that I’ve been wanting to play but by myself. I’ve never looked back since!
Seems like everything worked out the way it was supposed to! How long have you been listening to electronic music, and who have been some of your main influencers?
Fiorino: At the end of high school I started going to music festivals. I began to see bands that incorporated keyboards and other pieces of electronic music equipment in a live band setting. It piqued my interest and influenced me to start listening to more electronic related music. Papadosio really influenced me the most. So besides them, my influences in electronic music right now would be Radiohead, Lotus, Eoto and STS9 to name a few.
You mentioned that you are heavily influenced by Papadosio, what show/experience with them blew you away and inspired you to pursue what you’re doing now?
Fiorino: I saw them for the first time ever in 2010 at Summercamp Music Festival on the red barn stage. I didn’t know who they were but they completely blew me away with how instrumental they were with using keyboards and other devices. It was really weird too because I remember like I had this feeling of familiarity with their sound. But I had never heard it before. I knew after that show that I had been opened up to a whole new chapter in my musical life.
That sounds like an amazing experience! Since doing Bypass Circuit for almost two years now, tell me about your experience recording and releasing your first album, Connection.
Fiorino: Connection was the first album I had ever done everything on my own and released fully. I’ve always recorded stuff for fun on my own but never anything serious. So learning the process of making the album physical was definitely new for me. Being the first songs I wrote, my creative juices were flowing very heavily. A lot of the songwriting process came naturally and just happened but some of the songs did take a little more time than others. Overall, it’s some of the best recording work I’ve ever done. And to have Anthony from Papadosio to master it was a huge honor.
That must’ve felt so rewarding once it was finally done. You released a single off your new album “Dreams” in June, how were the reactions from that sneak peak?
Fiorino: The reactions were very good. Some people said they have noticed evolution and growth in my sound which is not only an aspect I love with bands I listen to regularly but in any art form for that matter. I’m very grateful to have people notice that and I am really thankful for the amazing music scene in Cleveland. There is so much love and support for one another.
It’s great when you can hear artists and bands go through an evolution in their music. It shows their progression and adding a little mix of something new is always pleasing to hear. So what can we expect from your upcoming new album?
Fiorino: The new album is called Cities Unknown. It’s based off of a combination of my personal dreams and oneirology, which is the scientific study of dreams. There’s a little more guitar work and I feel maybe some more of my musical influences have come out in the songs as well. I try to make each song very different by experimenting with sound and try new unconventional techniques. But overall I try to keep the spacey and funky vibe going.
I’m excited for the release of the new album coming up! Looking forward to the spacey, funky vibes. Where can we see you playing this next couple of months?
Fiorino: I’ll be at the Beachland Tavern on September 9th opening up for Cloudchord and Dreamers Delight. I’ll be playing at the Agora for Disco of the Dead on October 27th
featuring The Werks, Mark Farina, Gibbz, my close friends, Wanyama, and more bands from around the area. And also be on the lookout for an album release show very soon. Hopefully next year I’ll be hitting the festival scene a little bit more and maybe a mini tour or two.
Definitely going to try to catch the Beachland show and Disco of the Dead. So on any normal day, who you do find yourself listening to?
Fiorino: As of lately, I’ve been really into Jamiroquai, Steely Dan, Tycho, Tauk and Aqueous. But that’s just the normal days haha.
What has been your favorite show/festival you’ve played thus far and why?
Fiorino: It would have to be when I was direct support for Earthcry. It was incredible to share the stage and socialize with not only a huge influence for Bypass Circuit but an incredibly talented, intelligent musician and person. There was a bad snowstorm that night but still a good turnout. It was probably the happiest I’ve ever felt after playing a show.
I was at that show! It was great, and I remember it was an adventure driving there and back in the snow haha. And just one last question, what advice do you wish you could give yourself 10 years ago?
Fiorino: Go to school for music you dummy!!!
Don’t miss Bypass Circuit with Cloudchord and Dreamers Delight at the Beachland Tavern September 9th! Tickets can be found here
Tickets for this year’s Disco of the Dead at the Cleveland Agora on October 27th can be found here