Interview: Ramadanman

April 15, 2011

Ramadanman does a lot of stuff. Or at least his songs do. The British producer is lovingly schizophrenic in his recent productions, touching on everything from ragga jungle to acid house, all with a heavy emphasis on exploratory rhythm. He recently completed a Fabric mix, jointly released under his Pearson Sound and Ramandanman aliases (he is not, however, hiding that his real name is just the plain Jane David Kennedy) and, along with Zed Bias, will be touring the US starting this week with a stop at Coachella this weekend. We checked in with him for a quick email Q+A, see that and the tour dates below.

Is playing in America important to you? The US is always held up as the market to break in, but for a dance producer and DJ, is there anything to conquer here? I don't think there's the same emphasis on "breaking" the USA when you're doing what we do. With pop stars it almost seems like a calculated strategy, whereas for me, it's very flattering that people in other countries have heard and like my music. So rather than trying to market myself or whatever in the USA I feel it's been more of a natural process. I think that often music heads make more effort to come out to shows in America, because they happen less frequently, and maybe international names don't visit so often. I remember I used to hear reports of people traveling hundreds of miles to reach the old Dub War parties in NYC—that just wouldn't really happen inside the UK.

Is it difficult to transition from producing tracks to playing them? Much of what you make spans genre, feels expansive, which makes it exciting to listen to but potentially problematic when Djing. Not really, to be honest. Although a lot of my music spans different tempos, it's very much possible to play a wide variety of styles, especially when playing for two hours or more. I prefer to play longer sets anyway which gives your more opportunity to explore other tempos. More problematic is when you decide to make a tune less DJ-based which can make it harder to mix. So I guess maybe it's less about tempo and more about structure.

Do you talk about dance music all the time? What else do you like to do? Do you have friends who are not producers? Not quite all the time! Although music is increasingly a dominating presence in my life, it's not the only thing I do, and I still have lots of friends outside of the music circles. I also do photography, and enjoy food a lot.

Do you play drums? No, not really. I haven't had lessons or anything like that. I used to mess around with drum kits occasionally at school.

Do you like rap or just grime? I come from more of a hip hop listening background, rather than rap. I always liked the quote from KRS-One I think it was, who said that "rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live." I am liking a bit of the newer rap stuff coming from the USA though, especially the Lil Wayne 808 driven productions, and some more crunky stuff from the south. By no means an expert though!

13-Apr-2011 - Atlanta - King Plow Arts Center
14-Apr-2011 - Montreal - Club Lambi
15-Apr-2011 - Houston - 2016 Mainstage
16-Apr-2011 - Denver - Cervantes
17-Apr-2011 - Coachella - Indio, CA
19-Apr-2011 - The Roxy - Los Angeles, CA
20-Apr-2011 - Boston - The Goodlife
21-Apr-2011 - San Juan - Red Shield
22-Apr-2011 - Brooklyn - Public Assembly
23-Apr-2011 - Miami - Eve Nightclub
24-Apr-2011 - Austin - Barcelona
26-Apr-2011 - Portland - The Crown Room
27-Apr-2011 - Seattle - Baltic Room
28-Apr-2011 - Vancouver - FiveSixty
29-Apr-2011 - Victoria - Lucky Bar
30-Apr-2011 - San Francisco - Public Works
1-May-2011 - Arcata - Jambalaya

Interview: Ramadanman