10 Questions With… RCola
February 21st, 2012
10 Questions With... is a new series on our website allowing you to get to know Balanced artists a little bit better. We are starting off with the man RCola who was featured on our very first release, Northern Faction and will soon be released on the latest iteration of the series, Northern Faction 5 as well as a remix for The Seed Organization
What musical projects have you been working on lately?
Last year I did three remixes featuring Tippa Irie, David Boomah and Daddy Scotty. It is always a pleasure to work with good singers! I have recently begun work on a new project remixing some classic reggae voices and should have a batch of "new" tunes ready for this spring.
When did you start making music and what made you start?
Like most people, I owe my passion for music to my parents' and their record collection. The first record I bought with my own money was a 12" vinyl with 20 songs by Little Richard. I wore that record out! After I graduated from high school, I really got into how music was structured; bought my first instrument and started to learn many of my favorite songs.
Soon after that, I got a bass guitar, and played in indie bands for a few years. I really enjoyed the songwriting process, but was frustrated by many of the trappings of being in a band, so one winter I locked down with a drum machine, a keyboard synth and a 4-track recorder; taught myself Midi and began experimenting with electronic music.
How would you describe your current sound?
As much as I love the control and creative possibilities of the digital realm, I am still inspired to create work that sounds "live". I love "songs" and do what I can to support the vocalist.
For me it is important that it sounds like a real band could be playing, even if it is dance music. I strive to make tunes that are catchy and will stay in people's minds.
Who are your biggest influences; musical or otherwise?
Of course music from the late 70's and 80's are still a big influence on my own music to this day. My mom was a fan of the Motown sound and it rubbed off on me in a big way. My favorite band has always been the Police. In general, straight-ahead music with solid hooks and a heavy reggae vibe have always been my preference.
While in university, I really got into reggae and dub and have been immersed in sound system music ever since. As for modern music, Shy FX and jungle music in general are my top choice. At home, I listen to rocksteady and you will often find me seeking heavy bass music whenever I go out.
What is an average day in your life?
If I am not working at my job, I wake up late, drink coffee and catch-up with the online world for a bit... then I work on music until my son comes home from school. That's when I put on my 'dad suit' and do the family thing until he goes to bed. After that, my wife and I usually watch movies or laugh at silly things we find on the internet.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People who publicly hate on others. It's a unfortunate habit a lot of people have fallen into online. I come from the school of thought where you support what you like - not tear down what you dislike. Everyone has things they hate, but why put that in the spotlight? I'd rather champion positivity and give back some of the good vibes music gives me. I'm not saying you shouldn't speak out against serious badminded-ness, but really, why not promote solutions instead and give people hope?
Also, wastefulness really bugs me. I think in this day and age, we have no excuse for unbridled consumption and the waste it can produce. Live clean and fill your belly for sure, just watch the over-indulgence and be aware of the footprints you make.
Thinking back to your childhood, what were your first experiences with music? What songs do you remember most as a child?
Listening to music was a happy time at my house. My parents would put on records and sing along and dance. I was impressed my parents recognized songs and knew all the words, so I started to pay attention to the songs I liked and really got into it. Our hi-fi was the most sacred thing in our house besides the television, but I wasn't really allowed to touch it.
I remember once we moved house and I got impatient waiting for the stereo to be unpacked. I really couldn't stand not having music, so I took it upon myself to set up our system while they were out doing the shopping. When my parents came home to me blasting Reggatta de Blanc I thought I was in serious trouble. I was afraid of my Dad's reaction, but he just turned the volume down slightly and said "Thanks for setting it up - sounds good".
From then on, I was trusted and could put on records whenever I wanted. That was a huge day for me!
Two of my favorite tunes from my youth are Bring on the Night by the Police for it's dark verses and reggae chorus, and Rock the Casbah by the Clash, especially for it's piano and guitar lines.
Do you have any other interests or talents that you would like to share?
I love to travel, watch films, and eat sushi. As far as talents go... does making a mean bowl of chili count?
How do you like to relax when you are not making music?
Last year I re-discovered my love for riding a bike. Whenever it's nice out, I try to get in a long ride along the canal, or go to some big park and explore. My friend and I usually bring some tall boys and the iPod and look for nice places to chill between trips. Besides that, I like to wander about the town with my wife, play with my son at the park and listen to reggae music on a nice set-up.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Yeah, I can't wait for some nice weather so I can go out for a ride on my old Peugeot!