Ramses3000 on his musical trip to Sierra Leone and back.
Raynor de Groot
Intercept founder & making music as Coloray.
Koen van Santvoort
+- 10 min
Ramsi, tell us. If you could be an Egyptian god in their pantheon, who would it be?
I’m gonna have to go for Shezmu; an Egyptian god who dealt with a contradictory identity. On one hand, he was a true Burgundian as he was named lord of wine and oil; they also named him a celebration deity. Weirdly enough this celebration deity also had a shadow side; he was also named lord of blood, as he was bloodthirsty and very vindictive. If somebody likes a good wine and simultaneously is called the great slaughter of gods; that’s somebody you want to have around right.
Even though your roots are Dutch, you’ve always seemed to be very inspired by Egyptian culture, both as a member of Cairo Liberation Front and now also with Ramses3000. Why do you think that is?
I would say this answer is two-folded. First of all the Ancient Egyptian culture is one of the first civilizations of the world, which has a rich history where lots of influences are still notable to this day. Second I’m also really fascinated by this current contemporary Egyptian music called electro-cha3bi; a wild music genre containing elements of punk, rave, and psychedelic music mixed with avant-garde keyboard solos and hyped up Arabic percussion rhythms. After I’ve found this music, it inspired me to DJ so more people in the West would be introduced to this amazing music. As I saw those youngsters produce the wildest beats it also inspired me to install Ableton and create my own beats, whereby I used to play only bass guitar when I was a teenager.
The number ‘3000’ in your name implies that you’re from the future. Tell me, time-traveler, what’s the future like?
Well that’s interesting; I’m my opinion the future is now; as every second from the moment you’re saying now, it is already the future. So that also means the future is something you can affect yourself. So if you want the future to look bright, start making the world a better place, for you and your offspring.
Talking about the future, let’s keep it small and look at the next 20 years instead of the next 1000. What would your end goal be, with Ramses3000? What would you consider to be the Magnus Opus you’d like to make/work on someday.
To be honest; I’m not having an end goal, as I don’t think it would be good to have an end goal. It would suggest that if you reached your end goal there’s nothing more to achieve in a life and you might as well just die. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get ideals and ambitions; I’m actually quite frustrated about the fact that a lot of media, and thereby listeners, got their focus mainly at the Anglo-Saxon culture. Especially with media, I think its cringe-y to see that they kind of ignoring the existence of the rest of the world. Maybe it’s something that’s unfixable, but I’ve set myself as a goal to shift that focus. In my ears currently, new music styles are emerging and causing new, innovative music, at a lot of different kinds of places in the world, which should be heard by a lot more people than it currently does. So most likely this isn’t a goal I can’t really achieve, but hopefully, in twenty years, I’ve contributed to that, even in a real small matter.
Knowing you personally, you seemingly have a sort of split personality. One side of you is standing in the light, and one in the dark. Ramses3000 and your punk-techno outfit G.O.D. really seem to reflect both sides. Where do you personally stand in this?
I would say somewhere in middle, or actually, even maybe not at the spectrum at all as I think it represents both sides of me and there is not light and darkness anymore. Some of my new productions have got both sides present in one song. Kind of sounds cliché but it’s true; I think with the music I’m currently producing as Ramses3000 is much more personal as it really reflects everything that I am and everything that I like; so the lightness and the darkness, the happiness and the sadness, the night times and the daylight. This all kind of grew in a direction I didn’t plan though. At the same time, I noticed that the biggest influence on my productions were my own DJ-sets. At those sets, I always try to play a lot of music from lots of different places in the world and lots of different genres.
You’ve been sentenced to stay in a room for 5 years. No light, no visits, 30 minutes of outside recreation, but in front of you is an old computer with Ableton 9. You sit down and start to realise, I have to make music in order to stay sane. What do you make and would you show this work to the world after you come out?
Most definitely! Probably not everything, but for certain something as I think it would be a shame if nobody could hear it. Well, last couple of years I’ve been playing more and more jazz music so I think I would try to dig in that environment. I’m a big fan of jazz drums in general, that kind of grooves I can play all day long (and yes, for five years straight, no biggie). At the same time, I would take my time to study the piano as an instrument. Something I hated as a child but it currently keeps attracting me more and more. I also read that playing the piano is something that keeps old people sane, so that should be a wise thing to do I can imagine.
In 2019 you visited Sierra Leone with a goal to make music with people living there and help artists by recording. Why did you undertake such a project? Will you do this again?
As I explained earlier currently a lot of new music styles are emerging and I’m eager to show the rest of the world what’s going on. On a certain level cause I’m a huge ‘head’ and always interested in finding new music. At the other level, I think it is really important currently to hear music from other sides of the world. Especially with artists that sing, rap, or doing poetry gives the listeners an insight into a culture that lots of people aren’t familiar with. And mostly now, with lots of (Western) people getting more and more ignorant it’s important to show how other people’s lives look like. As I’ve made some friends over there I definitely would like to go back. I’ve met so many talented vocalists and musicians that I most definitely would like to work with more often.
Apparently, the music scene in Sierra Leone works quite differently as opposed to how we do it in our western society. What are the biggest differences you’ve seen?
It’s just really weird to see there isn’t a big live circuit going on like we’re used to in for instance The Netherlands. One of the reasons is that lot of sound systems were destroyed during the civil war. Because of this, they’re definitely a lot of talented artists and performers out there, but there aren’t a lot of places where they can play, spread their music and reach a new audience.
To finish it off, what can people expect of Ramses 3000 on Intercept?
A lot! After the release of my track ‘Genie’ in the Summer of 2019, I’ve finally dropped my debut six-tracker: Ataraxia. Let’s sit down and talk more about that soon.