DMCWORLD checks in with the exciting Canadian DJ/producer as he releases his brand new EP ‘While My 303 Gently Weeps‘…
Hey Ryan, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with DMC World Magazine. We’re huge fans of your work and are very much looking forward to your upcoming EP release. If we’re not mistaken, this will be your first original release since 2019’s “Blood Moon Rises”. What else have you been in up since then?
Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve put out some original music. The Gate of Life, the album that “Blood Moon Rises” is on, took such a long time to write and produce that I felt like I needed a bit of time away from the studio to recharge. Aquaregia and I decided it would be a nice change of pace to put together a remix EP in the downtime. By the time that came out in May 2020 we were in the thick of the pandemic so there wasn’t a huge rush to put out the next EP. I think a lot of techno artists, myself included, have felt a little bit uninspired without clubs and parties to go to so our output has been a little lower than usual. Though I am starting to find inspiration elsewhere and am having fun experimenting with new styles and approaches in the studio.
Last year, you released a killer remix EP for your renowned Aurora Centralis EP, which was released back in 2017. How was the process of recruiting the likes of nthng, Tin Man, Primal Code, and Schacke? Any fun anecdotes about how the collaborations came to fruition?
The label and I started out with a long list of possible candidates and narrowed it down to our dream line-up. Everyone was eager to be a part of the EP and that I think that really helped the process go smoothly. We couldn’t have been happier with the final result.
Tin Man has been one of the biggest influences on my sound, so we started with him first. He actually gave us three remixes to choose from and picking one was probably one of the hardest decisions we faced. He had such great ideas in all three, so after chatting about it, he ended up merging two of them into one track, which is now called “Tin Man’s Spaced Remix” and we used the last version as a digital bonus track.
Schacke and I first met in 2018 at my first ever international gig where we were both playing. It was a warehouse party in Paris and we had a chance to chat for a bit. He was telling me about his upcoming residency at a club called Kisloty in St. Petersburg where he was scheduled to play 2 or 3 weekends in a row. The following year he released his summer anthem Kisloty People, which was recorded during his residency and it completely blew up. Watching that all unfold was so cool to see and he’s remained one of my favourite artists since then. Fast forward to June 2019, we both happened to be in Berlin and we ran into each other at the bar at Berghain. We chatted for a bit and ended up “closing the deal” for the remix there, so it’s basically the most cliché techno story ever.
Of all the artists on the pack, nthng was the one artist where we were the most nervous about asking. Prior to the Aurora Centralis remix, he had never done a remix so we didn’t know if he would agree to it or not. We knew we really wanted him for the EP though, so we decided to ask anyways and to our relief he was really enthusiastic about it and accepted. I think I own almost all of his records on vinyl so having him be a part of the EP was such an honour, and having Aurora Centralis as the first track he’s ever remixed was an even bigger honour.
Primal Code finished off the EP, and for us it was a no-brainer to ask them for a remix. In terms of their sound, they definitely fit the original track and the label’s sound the best out of all the remixers and it was a pleasure to work with them on it!
Your incredibly distinct take on acid techno is often described as “galactic” due to your whimsical use of the 303 — can you tell us a little bit about how you carved this sound? Did you ever experiment with different types of techno before deciding on your “trademark sound”?
I try not to overthink in the studio when it comes to that, and I just make what comes naturally to me. I’m classically trained in piano so playing on a keyboard works best with my workflow. When I first got my 303 I felt the sequencer was super clunky and annoying to program, so I wrote out acid lines with a midi keyboard instead. It’s not the traditional way to use a 303, but it works well for what I do. Getting hardware synths was what really catalysed finding my sound. With working 100% in the box there were too many options, too many pre-sets, too many plugins. Having more limitations to what I was working with helped me extract the full potential from what I had and it definitely helped me establish a more coherent and recognizable sound.
Let’s talk tech. Which piece of gear would you say you absolutely not be able to live without? Are there any pieces of equipment that are at the top of your wishlist?
My 303 is definitely the most important piece of gear in my setup. It’s a Cyclone Analogic TT-303, and of all the clones out there it’s probably my favourite one. My music relies heavily on pads and acid so at the top of my wishlist would probably be an Avalon 303 clone and a Prophet 6.
We heard that the While My 303 Gently Weeps EP was inspired by the classic rock solo. Aside from the obvious Harrison nod, what other classic rock solos would you say inspired the project?
I was listening to a lot of classic rock during the pandemic and I knew I wanted one of my songs to have a 303 solo in it. Obviously, a guitar is much more expressive than a 303, but I think there are quite a lot of similarities between the two in terms of sound.
Growing up there was always a lot of classic rock playing at home because of my dad, and Dave Gilmour solos are both of our favourites. I love the flow and pacing in his solos and his bends and tones are unmatched. My favourites are the solos in “Comfortably Numb” and “Time” and I definitely tried to harness a bit of that energy for the 303 solo in “While My 303 Gently Weeps”.
Are there any collaborations on the horizon for you? If not, which producers do you aspire to work with in the future?
Nothing planned on that front as of yet. I’ve never worked with anyone else outside of remixes, but the idea of a collaboration of some sort is definitely on my radar. I think a collaboration with an artist in another genre could be really cool just to see how other genres work. In terms of techno, I think nthng and FJAAK would be at the top of my list.
How would you describe the techno scene – pre-COVID days – in Vancouver? Is there a big market for the underground? Any club recommendations for when the world opens back up again?
There was a pretty healthy DIY/warehouse scene in Vancouver, but as far as clubs go Vancouver doesn’t really have a reliable spot you can go to every weekend for techno. Real estate prices make having a permanent venue nearly impossible, and a lot of the promising spots get shut down after a while. That said, the local promoters do a really great job of making the best of the situation.
Last but not least, the question everybody loves to hate: what’s next for 747?
I have a few more tracks that are waiting to be released, and a ton of podcasts and guest mixes upcoming. I’ll probably entertain the idea of another album soon as well!