Welcome to Magazine Sixty, D.Ramirez. Let’s begin with your new single with Denney, ‘Raven’ for Crosstown Rebels. What is the significance of that particular bird as a choice for the title?
Thanks for having me. I live near Victoria Park in London and I walk through there every day on my way to my studio; one day I noticed that the only bird I see in that park is the Raven and there are hundreds of them, and only them. One day I saw I guy in a car feeding them and there were literally thousands of them around the car. I wondered if they come from the Tower Of London where they are kept and that’s where the fascination started, Raven being an aptly titled name for the track.
What do you think the collaborative process brings to creating music compared with doing it solo? Can you tell us about how the two of you worked on the project, and talk us through how one of the tracks was made?
Working with a collaborative partner is totally different to working on your own and as such the process is also different. I find it takes a lot longer to get the track right as you have to think about the other person you’re with and their tastes and agendas. We work really slowly and how it works is Denney will come into my studio with an idea, or a vocal, or some sounds – then we sketch it out, take it away, we play it out to a few people and then we come back. This can go on for years!
Still I Rise, contains a vocal with a powerful message. Do you feel there is enough of that in dance music today?
We have a duty as humans to bring to light the struggles and the messages of our fellow people for the sake of evolving human consciousness and the poem from May Angelou is such a beautiful message, delivered with such sass and confidence, it resonates far beyond the words she speaks. Dance music is great a tool for delivering such a message and hopefully her words will resonate with even more people around the globe.
The faceboook picture of your studio shows you surrounded by synthesizers. How long did it take to build up the collection? Which was the most difficult to get hold of, and which one do you use most often?
I have been collecting synths for around 40 years, some have been sold, others are recent and new. My favourite is my original Korg MS20 which is over 40 years old now! I have a Roland SH101 that I borrowed (and never gave back) from my best mate back in 1983 and I still have it to this day in the east same condition it was when I got it. The one I use all the time is the new Sequential Prophet 6 and you’ll hear it all over any of my tracks. It’s an absolute beast!
Outside of Club music who are your most important influences? Are there any writer’s, painters etc who have had an impact on what you do creatively?
I’m very much into spirituality and consciousness and one of my main influences is Dr Wayne Dyer who’s message changed my life back in 2006 when I was introduced to him by my ex. He himself introduced me to another amazing guy called David R Hawkins who’s book ‘Power Verse Force’ led me to another place in my life where everything changed. I live my life in a conscious, mindful way, and I no longer care what others think of me which has made working in the music industry far less challenging and I’m now free to express my creativity without worry of people liking what I do, or not.
Tell us about growing up in Sheffield and the music you encountered there? Any particular club nights you went to which left an impression?
Sheffield is an amazing place and back in the 80’s as I was growing up we had such a vibrant electronic music scene with bands such as The Human League, ABC, Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17 which heavily influenced the music I write today. In the late 80’s very early 90’s Warp Records started and had a club night where the DJ’s that worked at Warp Records played, the club was Occasions and the night was called Club Superman and honestly (speaking through rose tinted specs of course) was THE BEST night I have EVER experienced. Nothing has will ever come close to how good the music was there and the early Warp Records scene was and still is mind blowing!
What is the most important advice you would give to someone new to producing in terms of making their own studio, and also in terms of perseverance in today’s industry?
Quite simple – believe in yourself, don’t care what others say, don’t look for the validation of others, work hard and never give up, do it for the love and not for the fame.
And finally. Can you share with us any plans for moving into 2020?
I’m continuing to make music for the sheer pleasure of it while not putting so much pressure on myself so watch this space and let’s see what comes out. Thanks for the wonderful interview and thanks for having me.
Denney & D.Ramirez – Raven – is released October 4 on Crosstown Rebels