The first thing that struck me about Bugsy was just how humble of a dude he was and how much he loved just being involved with music. He works diligently and has a sharp music brain but is still keen to make records with just about anybody. It’s always nice to speak to a dude who just wants to make music – no agenda, no BS. Behind the boards he’s not only an up and coming producer who can create a lot out of very little, but a dude who wants to be a part of the project from start to finish. There’s no ‘send and forget’ with his beats which is a great quality to have.
Coming to Australia (and Aussie hip-hop) a bit later than most, it was interesting to hear his view on it all and how quickly he started digging it. We spoke to Bugsy about how he got started and what he plans to (and would love to) do in the future.
Dylan: Sup Bugsy! Tell everyone a bit about yourself to kick it off
Bugsy: What’s up! I’m John Ocampo, also known as Bugsy. Had that nickname ever since I was a kid, based on that Warren Beatty movie. I hail from the cold and windy mountains of Baguio City in the Philippines and I’m a Beatmaker / Producer.
When did you decide that making beats was your thing? How long have you been at it for?
I originally wanted to be a turntablist before making beats – this started when I was 13 years old but I never had the opportunity. Turntables were nowhere near to be found and if they were it was considered a big luxury where I’m from. Adding to that was the fact that bands were a more popular choice for people my age. My interest eventually shifted from turntables to owning a drum kit that annoyed my neighbors so much I had to chill on playing them. But soon enough I was playing other instruments for bands and was lucky enough to get to play in a couple of local gigs. My interest in turntablism was piqued again after I met a group of people on an escapade in 2012, they were into the same things I loved – skateboarding and hip-hop.
Since I still couldn’t afford turntables, I decided to start making beats later that year. I started working with artists after I posted some of my work on soundcloud early this year after moving to Sydney, Australia.
Who would you say are the major influences on your production? Which producers and artists inspire you?
My major influences would be the big sample based producers like Kanye West, J Dilla, Madlib and 9th Wonder. There’s more but just to name the popular ones there. A lot of things inspire me but hip-hop artists here in Australia are the ones that especially fuel me.
How would you describe your production style? If you had a trademark sound, what would it be?
I honestly don’t know of any production style that would describe mine. I don’t really have a ‘trademark’ sound yet either. I try not to stick too fast on having that modern sound and instead concentrate on getting that old boom bap with a bit of a modern twist.
Who are some dudes you’d love to work with in future from Australia? Any dream collaborations?
I would love to work with anyone or any artist from any genre from all over the world. I would consider it a blessing.
But if i ever got the chance to work with anyone in the major leagues here in Australia? I would love to work with Thundamentals, the music that they make – with their raps meshing with their different take on sample based beats sounds really dope. Hilltop Hoods of course, I had Nosebleed Section on repeat back in the day. Bliss n Eso make epic music and Illy is a really dope spitter too.
You’re obviously up with the digital era – you’ve worked with artists from Australia and the US to date. Do you dig how easy the internet makes it for producers to work with people?
It’s definitely easier to connect with people or artists that are just too far to reach normally, but it sacrifices the music being made. Instead of creating a new sound that encourages diversity from both parties, it tends to follow the taste of only one of the artists. If given the chance I would rather work with artists face to face, it makes it a lot more easier to communicate and certain ideas would be better expressed. It does a lot more for the music.
Any projects coming up that you’re excited about?
Yes , I got beats on my main man Cliff Harrisons EP that will be out in the not too distant future! Hopefully you’ll be able to hear what we’ve been putting together soon.
You can get in touch with Bugsy and check out some of his beats and collaborations at :