If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you say?
Hardware-based meditational dubs of humour and love, or, long songs that don’t really go anywhere.
Have you always wanted to create music? How did you get into it?
Initially I got into music from playing in bands and making mixes for friends to play in their cars and smoke to. The music eventually became shorter blends of personalities in samples, now everything is based around a hardware setup, much more serious and less ganja-fied. I use two synths, an MPC1000 and hardly do much on the laptop except for over-dubs and some arrangement.
Can you pinpoint a live gig or a piece of music that initially inspired you?
Watching Justice live when I was 16, with that lit up cross and well-planned live show. I had never heard electronic music before. CSS and Metronomy supported. I had just moved to a town from a farm and didn’t know anything but a bit of rock music and RnB. After that, I found hip hop and spiritual jazz. When Dimensions Festival started, it was really inspiring too. Now, I’m inspired by classical music, spiritual traditions within music, minimalism and conceptual cross media projects, e.g. short stories, meditation, abstract animation and abstract painting.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music to perform? What does it say about you?
The last project I reminisce over was working with Myo (Harambe) a local saxophone player. I found a unique perspective with Myo and, to me, my music wouldn’t sound complete without him playing on it. This project crystallised the name Ranga for me. Initially, I was given the name Ranga after it was used to tease me because of my red hair. Later I was told in some languages the definition is “musical stage” (another definition is “orange man who entertains” which Andre from Wormfood enlightened me about). The project with Myo was the first involving live musicians over my tracks. It involved me transitioning between loops on the MPC and playing live percussion through effects. All in all, I found my place within my band and it changed my own productions to being a ‘stage’ for musicians to improvise and tell their story over, i.e. being comfortable with the amount of space in the production. Our best gig was supporting Yuseff Kamaal. Myo’s story telling with the saxophone comes straight from the source of creation – he doesn’t imitate. The band now (or will) include Baby T on jazz drums, Victor Nordburg or Percussion and lighting, Chibz being Chibz and a new member I’m not ready to announce yet. I’ll be using two synths, an MPC and some woodwind instruments
What do you think is the overriding influence on your music: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
Spirituality and religion are why I make music now. The recent releases (Third Place, Wormfood, Soundway, Blueshift) have been briefed for dance floor material or downtempo which acted as a kind of inspiration, but not my own. My personal music (which I’m yet to release) comes from cross-media sessions of abstract painting, stop motion animation and poetry while I’m making the music. I tend to flit between them at random. When I can work all of these together, I feel I can satisfy an inspiration. Most of the time this involves a character representing each sound, colour, prose and then the movement is how they react to each other. Recently, the main focus is healing and dissolving the division. The forthcoming album I am writing is (hopefully) going to contain all of these elements and be released on Third Place with a double vinyl. It’s a blend of chanting, Philip Glass, bass music, drum solos and strings of love.
What was the first gig you attended?
My dad’s band The Rock N’ Roll Buddies in my hometown Ousby, Cumbria. The best track they did was Apache by The Shadows and loads of JJ Cale. They had a proper rock ‘n’ roll swing dance group who would come ‘n twist.
Why is music important to you?
It’s a universal language and can unite people emotionally, telling a story in a unique way. And it sounds great most of the time. Pythagoras said the universe can be understood with music, that is to listen, dance and create.
Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
Not many seem to have heard Alice Coltrane’s latest album. It’s my favourite album because of the story telling and bravery in honesty about the hard and unsupported life she had, being married to John. My favourite track is Translinear Light, it was produced by her son Ravi and includes some traditional ragas. She is an amazing spiritual musician. John met her because he had heard of an organ player in the churches of Detroit that was in so much demand because everyone would undergo spiritual transformations when she played. It was inevitable for her to spend so much time with Indian classical musicians.