Raynor de Groot
Intercept founder & making music as Coloray.
+- 10 min
Hi Robin! Thanks for sitting down with us for a short interview. First off, we’re living in a time where the life of artists all over the world has drastically changed. How are you holding up?
Hey Ray, thanks for inviting me here! To be honest, at the beginning of lockdown it’s been quite tough from a creative standpoint. A lot of input that we usually have as artists just stopped, be it gigs, going out or meeting old friends and new people. Luckily, I am not a hundred percent dependent on playing gigs, so with time, I learned to adjust and see the positive first. I’ve recently started working on my debut album which has given me a lot of motivation and inspiration.
Does this time bring more creativity to you? How have you seen your relationship with your music change over the last months?
As I said earlier, in the beginning, it wasn’t easy. I felt a bit lost and probably pressured myself a bit too much, as I thought that this was the time to gear up my creative processes. It turned out that I needed to be patient. As a producer, my mood often somehow correlates with my productivity and the other way around. Lockdown has given me time to become more aware of this and find strategies to enhance my workflow.
Talking about your music, how did you see yourself develop over the last couple of years?
When I started making music, my goal was always to become a better producer each day. I was fascinated by the soundscapes that my favorite artists were able to build. While in the beginning, I was impressed by what many would consider perfectly mixed tracks, recently I’m enjoying slightly more experimental works, where mixing techniques don’t always meet the common conventions but often have a very distinctive effect in certain listening environments. What has stayed over the years is my love for atmospheric pads and organic rhythms.
What strikes me as interesting is that your music finds a balance between spacious elements that take you on a trip, without ever losing impact. How are you able to strike such a balance?
Am I? Haha, I’ve always loved the atmospheric side of electronic music, the kind of stuff that can suck you, and works like some kind of meditation for many people on the dancefloor. On the other hand, I am a big fan of the powerful drum patterns of house and techno, so I guess I tried to combine both in a way in which it would still work out as a whole. I feel like it’s often some kind of compromise but I am quite happy with how my sound is developing.
Congrats on the release of Return of Life on our label. What did the process of these tracks look like?
Thanks! What both tracks have in common is that I can’t really remember the process and the decisions I made, which is usually a good sign which means I was in that fluent state while making them. I remember that when I started ‘Return Of Life’ I was imagining my first gig after things went back to ‘normal’. I was also inspired by the idea that while big city life stood still, in some places nature was slowly reclaiming certain areas.
For ’Nocturnal Mating Dance Of The Fireflies’ i remember playing around with a drum sample that I found in a Kontakt library and playing with some noise settings, when I realized that ‘this is a hell of a loop’. Then I recorded some pads and improvised on my midi keyboard for the melodies. As you know, mixing those tracks was the bigger part of the process, haha, but they turned out pretty nicely!
What are some things you are keen on trying musically in the future?
I want to keep improving as a producer and what also really excites me is the lookout to become a better DJ and selector. I want to be able to really nail different vibes and tempos in combination with my own tracks.
I’ve noticed that your music can be hyper-detailed, with little noises filling up empty spaces and small synth details layered in-between sounds. Can you shed some light on how you achieve such detail?
Many of those details happen more or less by accident. I figured that pitching samples, especially down pitching them often leads to surprising textures, that can have a very pleasant effect in the mix. Also, there are these little moments when I listen to a loop and I am really tuned in, I add these little parts in my head, be it rhythmic or harmonic stuff. Then I’ll try to keep it in mind and implement it.
About your production process, can you give a short oversight of favorite plugins and samples?
Anyone who has seen my studio knows, that I don’t have any physical gear besides an AKAI MPK midi keyboard, headphones, and a pair of monitors. My favorite plugin is the Mini v3 by Arturia. Most of my tracks are based on it and I still find new setting combinations that get me new sounds. Next to that, I’ve been working with a sample pack called ’Sounds Of China’. Many of the drum sounds originate from this pack. For kick drums, I usually work with two kick drum samples that I layer – one layer is for the upper body part and with the other layer I control the sub frequencies. For me, this way I have a lot of control over it in the mixing process.
What is one production technique you’d love to have known sooner?
I can’t remember the timeline of when I’ve learned certain techniques but what really comes to use in every track is Ableton’s ‘Overdrive’. It’s such a nice tool to mix elements in a track. The way it can alter frequencies, pushing certain bands while subtracting others is a great way for me to shape sounds in a way that they really fit into the mix like a piece of a puzzle. That’s definitely something I wouldn’t wanna miss! Also, I recently discovered that it can have a great effect to route the gain of a track to my midi keyboard and manually automate the volume of the track. This can have a great dynamic effect, especially with temporary elements that are only present for a short amount of time.
What’s next for you in the future?
I am now working on my Album for next year and setting up my own little Bandcamp imprint called ‘Fluss Audio’. I want to find a nice booking agency for 2021 and do something for the scene in Munich. Lots to do, I’m excited to see what the future holds!