We had the good fortune of connecting with Bazil Gillen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bazil, why did you pursue a creative career?
Around my 11th birthday, I remember getting my first drum set. Getting those drums really altered my life, and once I started getting lessons, it ended up being the only thing I really wanted to pursue at the time. I played every chance I could as a kid and joined every music activity offered to me from Jazz Band to Percussion Ensemble, School of Rock, etc, etc. Once I graduated high school in 2020, was when music actually started making me a small bit of money. I was meeting a bunch of like-minded musicians who just wanted to play, and we’d go and play in parks and stuff like that and make enough for a few meals maybe. I was also getting hired for various small gigs around town, and it felt great at the time because music was always an escape for me, and now it had another small benefit. I didn’t really think in a year or two it would be my full-time job while attending college. While I’m not too sure of where else I’ll go in this field or how long this particular career choice will last, I’m currently a drum instructor at the same School of Rock I went to as a little kid now though this isn’t the highest paying field, I’m doing something I’m very passionate about so it’s very worth it in the end in my opinion and plan to go to school for music in some regard after I complete my community college degree. While a career in music can indeed be a very daunting pursuit at times, I think what keeps me excited right now is the fact that I’m doing something I truly love and am passionate about. I was always worried about having to work a job that brought me no fulfillment in life and music has helped that not be the case for the time being.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the biggest thing that might separate me from the typical drummer is the whole busking/street performing thing. After graduating during the 2020 pandemic, there weren’t too many places around town for us to play gigs, so we started setting up on the street. It was always a great time and we didn’t think anything about the money at first, we really just needed a place to jam. After a while, however, we really found that busking was a great way to put ourselves out there in front of people, and we are still doing it to this day while also playing more typical gigs around town, (breweries, venues, festivals, etc). A lot of times we even make more money busking on the street than we would be playing the average gig around town which I think sheds light on the financial struggle up and coming musicians/artists are dealing with all the time.
While busking can be a challenge at times for various reasons it’s been so worth it to me to be out playing music and meeting all the diverse people of my city over the last few years. We always meet the wildest crowds while out busking, from Grammy award-nominated musicians to struggling victims of homelessness who often surprise us with their stories and generosity. Through busking I hope to inspire all the various people that stumble across us and just add some more art to the streets of Denver.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is such a cool place, and I think one of its highlights is exactly where we busk, right around 1st and Broadway. This is such a cool part of town and places like Mutiny Information Cafe and other shops on that street are so great and give so much support to local artists. I would also certainly go hiking in the mountains and go see a show either in the heart of downtown or around Larimer by the Rhino North Art District! There are plenty of other fun things to do from visiting the various parks, museums, etc.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Obviously, my parents played a huge role. My Mom in particular had a giant impact on my musical development. She showed me the coolest music growing up from an eclectic array of funk/hip-hop to jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Pat Metheney, etc. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back I realize how influential her music taste was on me. My Grandma has also helped a ton with developing my confidence in myself as a person as well as a musician, and I think she’s helped me in ways I haven’t even realized yet. I’d say the other big support has been the musicians I’m fortunate enough to play with. They always help keep me positive and inspired, and I’d definitely be nowhere without them.
Youtube: Bazil Gillen