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Cleveland-based producer Chris Ramos, aka V1984, has taken a step away from a traditional club sound for his new EP ‘Becoming (N)one‘ on Glacial Industries. The Irish label has put out a deconstructed, shimmering audio journey, an exciting experience for fans of experimental electronic music.
He was in Ireland for a period of time through July for a string of shows. We met up with him for a conversation before his support slot for Denzel Curry in the Button Factory.
So how are you enjoying your time in Ireland so far?
It’s been amazing I haven’t got a return ticket home yet!
Yeah I’ve been playing things by ear, since I’ve got the UK shows I’m just taking things as they come.
What’s going on in the UK?
Me and Paul (Purcell) have got a Glacial Industries thing coming up which I’m really excited about and a few other shows of my own around the UK.
You’ve done a few Irish shows since you’ve been here haven’t you?
Yeah there was Tivoli Backstage, Castlepalooza and the support for Denzel Curry tonight.
Have you noticed a difference between the crowds here and back home?
Yeah I think Europe in general the crowds are much more receptive towards more progressive sounds. Back home a couple of my friends throw some parties and the attendance has been slowly declining, it’s getting harder and more difficult to get people to come out.
Where I’m from in Cleveland they have a lot more trap and EDM parties and that’s where the main focus is with clubbing.
Cleveland has a big population and it’s such a big city that it’s hard to get everybody congregated in one place.
Are the people involved in the scene you’re involved in over in Cleveland your friends or did you meet through the internet?
We all kinda met through music, these guys were throwing parties in Columbus which is two hours south of me. They were getting people like Kingdom and Rabit to come and play. These were all names I’m very familiar with and this was my only chance in the midwest to go see them. So I kinda met them through throwing those parties.
Cool, was this all done through the internet. Seeing events pop up etc?
Yeah 100 per cent.
How did the connection with Paul and Glacial Industries come about?
I think three or four years ago while I was in school I made this track ‘Metal Gear Soft’ and put it on Soundcloud. Paul clocked it somehow I dunno how. He messaged me about it and I pretty much ignored it ‘cause I was getting a lot of messages about that track but he was pretty persistent and he was the only one that kept messaging me so I finally responded to him and I think we just developed dialogue off that.
He didn’t mention any type of release or anything he was just interested in talking and seeing who I am as an artist. That was really important to me that he gave me room to breathe.
Did you know about what Paul was doing at the time?
Yeah that was when the Rabit release was coming out and I was hyped about that.
A lot of the descriptions I’ve seen your newer stuff being labeled as is deconstructed club/grime sound. Is that something you would agree with?
To be honest I can’t even describe my own sound, but maybe deconstructed club is the closest thing that it could be labeled. But there’s so many references that I use especially the piano which was the biggest thing for me. You typically wouldn’t hear a piano in a club.
Taking away from labels and genres, in my opinion I can definitely hear a hip-hop/grime influence in your sound. Do you think there’s any artists or genres that may have influenced you most?
Being from Cleveland I grew up listening to a lot of Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony. That was like my audio bible when I was younger. When I started producing I was kinda trying to make every genre to understand what each of them was, adding it to my arsenal of production.
When it comes to production is there a certain pattern or process that you go by every time?
A lot of times it’s gonna be some sort of experience or emotion that triggers me to write a track. I can’t nail it to one thing but I typically start out with piano and then bang out the melody then maybe change the piano to a synth. It feels slightly organic, I don’t necessarily have a structure.
I was told you’re classically trained on the piano, does that play a massive role in your music?
Earlier when I started making music I didn’t realize the amount of influence it had on me but after my last release I noticed the piano is a dominant factor in my work for sure.
Ever since I could walk I started playing piano up until I graduated high school so that’s like 12 to 14 years maybe. Growing up and practicing I hated it, but typical Asian parents they were like no you have to play piano for a certain amount of hours each day.
I suppose looking back at it though you’re very grateful?
Oh yeah 100 per cent.
Do you think the only way forward for people from where you’re from to fully engage in this scene is totally branch outside of the States?
That’s a tough one, being from Cleveland it’s separated me from what’s going on globally. There’s almost no scene in Cleveland and I think that’s what’s helped me develop my own personal sound. I think if things are going to get bigger for the scene in Cleveland we will all have to work together as a team.
Is there any people or parties from your area that you think people should know about?
Yeah there’s two parties they’re both from the same team. There’s a party is called Build in Columbus, then there’s another one called Flood which is like a sister party which is held in Cleveland. It’s one party a month and it swaps between each destination having different artists.
Looking back at your earlier stuff it seems slightly more 4×4 driven and club friendly in a way. The new Glacial release is definitely very different. Is it a conscious decision you made to change your production direction?
What happened was my original release for Paul was gonna have more beats type stuff, I had a computer crash which wiped almost all my hard drive and my back up drive too. What I ended up doing was starting from scratch. This meant I was writing without intent.
So do you think the crash is what helped you find this new side of production?
Yeah this wouldn’t have come about without the crash.
Bit of a strange question but do you think there is an ideal listening setting with your new EP or new productions?
I guess from my perspective, I think this EP is a personal listening experience. Growing up I could never go to the clubs I wasn’t old enough, so to me the club existed in my head. This EP to me is my perception of what I always imagined the club to be.
Did you make it with intent for the tracks to all play into each other as a sort of conceptual EP?
It was meant to be the kind of thing that you can listen to from start to end without skipping anything. Almost as if it’s telling some sort of story.
The EP painted some pretty vivid imagery in my head when I was listening. Is that something you aimed to do?
Definitely. I think visual aesthetics definitely take a big part of my work. I think the aesthetic is equally as important as the music. I think it’s also up to the listener to decide what the picture is that’s being painted.
Sweet, and just to wrap things up is there anything people can expect to hear from you this year?
I’m working on a couple collaborations and some other things but I can’t touch on them just yet!