Hi Ray, how are you?
Q: We’re loving the new release on your imprint AMA Recordings! How did you come to start the label? What’s the story behind AMA Recordings?
A: Hey guys, thanks for asking me to talk with DMC. It was more of a coincidence that i started the label, mainly because I got so many demos for friends labels, so i said: ‘wait a minute, that track was dope too.’ so I started in that moment my label. To be able to support unknown artist and to have a reflection of what kind of music i play. My african name is Amaefule. which means ‘your name will never get lost’ 🙂
Q: And how did you come to decide on the remixes for the EP?
A: Very easy because I know many artist – I ask them straight up. If I think this tune could be great also with a remix by XXX then ill ask and see if the remixer is up for it. In this case ama030 I asked Brett Johnson. I really like his music since I first noticed him. One of my fav from him is ‘Temptations’. I thought for the EP i’ll ask my mastering engineer who is a big DnB lover/producer, Matthias Heinstein. Begining of the 90s they were well know in the scene. So, lets get some DnB beat rolling 🙂
Q: You’ve been on quite a journey career wise, where did it all start for you?
A: Loveparade 98/99 was also very inspiring, then 2000 Ibiza made the coin flip. Johnny D and I came back and we had a vision to start our own party called RAJO.
Soon Nick Curly joined the crew. Then Nekes & Federico Molinari as well and the journey was to be stopped.
Q: Were you always musical growing up? What inspired you to make electronic music?
A: No – actually not at all, but I was always listening and very interested in music, all genres. ! started recordings tapes from the radio, Johnny told me that he even mixed tapes from the radio, track in track, beatmatching wasn’t really happening I guess:) so I was totally in DJing, vinyl, partying, traveling to different cityies and partying there at special events. Then we got to be residents in the Loft Club here in my hometown. But what gave me the last kick of inspiration was Berlin. I moved there 2015 and my boys started Oslo Records & Cecille records in 2007, so we all inspired each other and we all were riding the wave.
Q: Tell us a bit about your Nigerian roots and the part that plays in your music?
A: My roots from Nigeria, they gave me the groove. I sometimes use percussions but I use what ever is there to make music with, in Nigeria MJ was bigger then big, everyone was listening and moonwalking in the 80s when I was living there. But the traditional ‘high life’ music or Felas ‘afro beat’ wasn’t my inspiration, or roots. I see my roots in Hip Hop / gangsta rap from the 90s, we all thought we re ganstas 🙂 What a crazy time, then after the club we started to go to house club, at one point we stopping going to the Hip Hop club. WE SAID BOYS – WE GO STRAIGHT TO THE HOUSE CLUB 🙂
Q: Would you say living in Berlin has a great effect on your music and career?
A: Yes. 100% and it is still, its inspirational city number one, I would say. She will never leave my heart. My love – Berlin 🙂
Q: You have a heavy touring schedule! Do you enjoy it?
A: I was touring a lot the last 8 years and now after moving to Air London booking agency at the start of this year, I’ve found a good balance between touring and spending time with my son Raoul. My best production in my life :). Going to the studio, playing my guitar, lets see what the future brings but I will always stay positive, the circle of life continues. 🙂
Q: How do you balance touring and studio time?
A: Its hard, but usually I go during the week from 10-15 studio. Then weekends touring. A very easy balance.
Q: What’s your current studio set up?
A: I have some machines, not to many – but the best time I have is with my custom made summing mixer. Since I’ve had it – my sound got fatter 🙂
A bus compressor, Jomox 999, logic live, Minitaur. some Moog fx, my electric guitar, blue Elektribe and Bolsa Bass. But I need to upgrade my Mac. I am a dinosaur right now. but don’t want to change a working system.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
Q: What artists would you say are your main influences/inspiration?
A: Derrick Carter and with Luke Solomon their classic music company label were my big inspiration and also music for freaks :). But now I get inspired by many different artists and things – I don’t have a main influence at the moment. I like the music from my boys: Okain, Marko Nastic, Federico Molinari, Nekes, Mobius Strum, …or the guys from my label: Nicke & r.ma, Paul Sparks, Steven Cock, Alexis Cabrera, Hans Thalau, Austen/Scott, Chris Carrier & Gautier DM, Onno, Ronan Portela, Leo Portela… play a lot from my label of course and they support in giving me inspiration.
Q: What does the future hold for Ray Okpara? Any further dreams and ambitions?
A: Practising my guitar, lets see how far i can take it – as long I am happy all is good 🙂
Blue Hunt is out now! Grab it here: