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RALPH releases TIME

North London-based producer and Reprezent Radio DJ, RALPH, creates dark, emotive palettes that explore and blur the sonics of UK club culture.

As a filmmaker, RALPH was part of Boiler Room’s eponymous events imprint, shooting swathes of their UK parties and cutting his teeth with the likes of Mala, SHERELLE, Madlib & Freddie Gibbs and Goldie to name but a few.

With the world in lockdown, all nightclubs closed and time grinding to a halt, RALPH started to develop an introspective and poignant musical identity; a clear homage to witnessing once the pinnacle of the UK underground scene juxtaposed by the creative tundra caused by the pandemic, days spent cooped up inside making music with brief pockets of refuge taken in suburban North London green spaces.

The result is his TIME EP, a dramatic style of electronica, spurned on by his pursuits as a director – narrative and visual elements seeping into the low-end heavy, often vocal-driven and sample-laden electronic music he delivers. His third single, Lucid is OUT NOW.

Connect with Ralph on Bandcamp / Spotify

Hi Ralph, where are you writing to us from? 

Connect with Ralph on Bandcamp / Spotify

Hey! I’m based in Islington, North London, UK. 

How did your work with Boiler Room start? Are you still working with them? 

My girlfriend had done some work with them in the past and put me in contact with someone, the rest is history… No not anymore, I don’t tend to do much filming of live music these days. 

How much has the music-making process impacted your video-making creative process? Are they strictly connected?

Good question.. I’m finding I’m still exploring it at the moment. Often one side is the creative impetus for the other, the crossing of paths is not something that happens naturally. I’ve found in the past I need some distance following writing music to then properly start developing a more visual narrative. It’s also about finding the right themes to connect the audio elements visually, and yes, still being developed as we speak. But at the moment, I’d say the music is where it starts, once this is fleshed out and near enough completed, I’m able to start developing the visual side. 

What would you say is the most compelling piece of work that encompasses both mediums? 

Also a great question! I might not be able to answer in the ‘most compelling’ form… But one particular body of work that I’ve really looked up to is the music video (or rather short film) for A$AP Rocky’s ‘Money Man’ / ‘Put That On My Set’. It’s amazing! It’s got a real La Haine-ian feel to it. I love the social-realist aspect, the gritty feel and the black-and-white mixed-media format is phenomenal. Maybe it is the most compelling work haha (?!)

Dexter Navy, the director, smashed it! 

What artist is the best at mixing visual / aesthetic and music? 

That’s tricky… I’m not too sure, but could give you some current faves? I’ve already spoken about A$AP Rocky, he’s got other videos that are also very creative. But more recently other artists I’ve been taken to include UK rapper Sainté and UK R&B rapper Downtown Kayoto. Both works I find really contemporary in their visual narratives. I really enjoy the team of people they work with: they’re really pushing the boundaries of moving images in and amongst their music. It’s pretty wicked! 

How was ‘TIME’ conceived? 

Ahhh, head down experimenting in Logic during the pandemic, frankly. I had a lot of time to mess around with sounds when life seemed to shut down. It was a good time, at first, but I think the music really called for the return of clubs and live music in general, it certainly feels it in ‘Sometimes it’s Best We Don’t’. There’s a poignancy to it. I think this was also me experimenting with the idea of where I fitted into a scene when that scene was no more (due to the pandemic). I’d come out of university the year before and started doing lots of work for Boiler Room and then the pandemic happened, it felt like the foundations were just being laid when the rug was pulled out from under my feet. TIME was about exactly that; where am I during this uncertainty — what’s coming next?

There are elements of a lot of UK modern and old sounds. Who are your biggest inspirations sound-wise? 

Yes, people have mentioned the older rave sounds especially with SIBWD.. I remember receiving a generous comparison to The Future Sound of London from my first track — what a compliment haha. Inspiration-wise, I really find love and influence in producers and artists who mess around with the more emotionally evocative side of electronica, including Burial, Overmono, Jon Hopkins, Kessler, M83, MssingNo, Skee Mask, Otik — to name but a few. The list certainly feels more contemporary. But I’m also a massive fan of cinematic scores, so this definitely plays into the chord choices I make, composers like Trevor Jones, Zimmer (of course), Martin Phipps and Howard Shore have definitely played a role in defining my sound.

Do you have any tips on who we should keep an eye on? 

Oooh, I’ve always got artists on my radar, but that’s tricky to narrow down. I’d definitely say labels which I’ve continually played their music and who push the boundaries include Czech-based YUKU; with a particular affinity for Chrizpy Chriz, Leese & Hidden Element. Then there’s Cloudcore, love their exclusive feel, the more low-fi attitude to releasing music and the countless 2-steppy tunes being put out there, favourites including Dual Monitor, STIN9,  Bend Back and Benomorph. Enjoying a newly discovered label TAIPAN TRAX (Phasmid’s label) which I’ve been playing out on the radio recently. I’m also keen to see where the low-end producers such as Toumba & SIM head, are always here for that kind of palette. The darker stuff is what I’m often attracted to!

What’s next for Ralph? 

Sorting out music bits, I’ve got something coming out in November on a compilation album. Working out next year’s releases and finishing off a visual project for an artist. Lots more Reprezent Radio shows which I really look forward to, I’ve got some great artists coming on the show too! Keep an eye out for that. 

Thank you

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