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Randy De Silva [Interview]

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Randy De Silva is an exceptional Sri Lankan producer who expresses his feelings through electronic music. Randy’s music combines the beauty of nature, different atmospheres, beautiful melodies , enchanting hymns & natural sounds on earth. With his continuous growing passion for music, his ultimate goal is to establish new music productions that generate good vibes through what one feels to the music, in order to build peace on earth. This week sees Randy making his debut on Canada's Deep Down Music with 'Groovy Forest', alongside a remix from Lio Q.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Randy to learn more about the release of ‘Groovy Forest’, his studio process, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Randy, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for having me. Currently, I have been working on a music track and was seeking some ideas while jamming on the keyboard. It is an unfinished track of mine

What are your plans for the coming week?

I need to finish some personal and business related tasks, as well as some unfinished projects. Unfortunately, I've missed my workout routine for a few days. However, I plan to get back on track and start exercising again next week.

Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

There are many music tracks that inspire me, but I will list down the most significant five tracks that inspire me on my journey

Hans Zimmer – Time

"Time" is a musical composition by German composer Hans Zimmer. It was written as part of the soundtrack for the 2010 , which has had a profound impact on many aspiring musicians and composers around the world, including myself. "Time" is a masterpiece of music composition that combines classical orchestra and electronic sounds to create a unique and modern sound that is both epic and emotional. As a musician and producer, I am inspired by the power of "Time" and the impact it has had on my own musical journey. Listening to this composition has taught me a lot about how music can evoke emotions and tell stories. It has also taught me the importance of combining different musical styles and techniques to create something truly unique.

Robert miles – children (Dream Version)

Robert Miles' "Children" is an iconic electronic music track released in 1995. The song's haunting melody, uplifting chord progressions create an atmosphere that is both nostalgic and futuristic, and I've always been drawn to its unique sound and structure.

In conclusion, Robert Miles' "Children" has inspired me both as a music producer and as a person. Its unique sound, emotional impact and message of hope and empowerment have made it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners around the world. As I continue to create music and pursue my own goals, "Children" will always serve as a reminder of the power of simplicity.

Coldplay - A Sky Full Of Stars

Coldplay and the music of Avicii have been major inspirations for me to produce my own music. The combination of Coldplay's emotive lyrics and Avicii's electronic beats has led me to explore my own creative potential in the world of music production.

Ben Böhmer –Decade

What I find most inspiring about "Decade" is the way in which Böhmer blends different genres and influences to create something that is truly unique. The track features elements of melodic house, and ambient music, as well as classical instrumentation and vocal samples. It's a testament to Böhmer's skill as a producer that he is able to bring all of these different elements together in a way that sounds natural and cohesive.

Nox Vahn & Marsh - Come Together

This is a prime example of how music can inspire individuals to explore their own creative potential. The atmospheric and melodic soundscapes created by the two producers capture the essence of electronic music in a way that is both captivating and inspiring. As someone who has a passion for music, hearing the track for the first time was a transformative experience. It motivated me to start experimenting with music production and explore the different possibilities that exist within the electronic music genre.

Sri Lanka is now regarded as one of the best countries for progressive house, what was it like growing up there and who were some of your local heroes? Who did you look up to and why?

That's an amazing feeling to refer to myself as a Sri Lankan producer growing up here. At the moment, Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in the world for the progressive house scene. For several reasons, the country has produced a number of successful and influential progressive house DJs and producers, such as Subandrio and the Noiyse Project. I have mad respect for all those artists, DJs, and producers who have brought Sri Lanka to this level. Sri Lanka has a vibrant and passionate dance music culture, with a strong tradition of clubs and festivals that cater to electronic music fans. This has helped to create a supportive and creative environment for progressive house artists.

When I started producing music in 2010, there were not many recognized producers in the Sri Lankan electronic scene. So, I didn't follow the Sri Lankan electronic music industry until the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, I had much more time for my audio researches. To answer your question, I don't have any local heroes that inspire me, but I have mad respect for anyone who has contributed to achieving Sri Lanka's current level in the music industry.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Sri Lanka what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

I personally believe that the Down South area of Sri Lanka has the best nightlife culture, with its tropical environment, beautiful hotels, and several clubs playing progressive house and electronic music until the morning. Even in my hometown of Kaluwamodara, Aluthgama, there are some beautiful clubs and hotels to enjoy.

As a frequent traveler, I always love to explore beautiful places like mountains, hotels, and waterfalls. If I was a tour guide, I would recommend many hidden and beautiful places that I've seen, encouraging people to visit these spots and immerse themselves in nature.

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

While I don't completely dislike clubbing, it's not my preferred way of having fun . I believe that happiness depends on individual preferences, and for me, I love to enjoy to the fullest and value being able to get lost in the moment without any distractions. Although I enjoy the art of DJing, it's not something I intend to pursue as a full-time career. I currently reside in Kaluwamodara, Aluthgama, where I have access to various activities and events that cater to my interests. Additionally, I am an entrepreneur running a small business related to the Ecommerce platform. I also work as a freelance producer and composer, creating content for my clients. If anyone interested in learning more about my work, feel free to connect with me on social media.

Your bio states you started your music career in 2010, was this as a DJ or a producer as well? And what sort of music projects were you involved in leading up to your first solo release in 2021?

The answer is a long story. It was as an amateur producer and was heavily influenced by DJ culture in 2007 when I was doing my O-levels in school. Now, I’m  31 years old, at that period I  produced music as a hobby. In 2013, I made a commercial electronic music track and submitted it to a talent pool as a demo. To my surprise, it ranked around 40 out of 500 tracks, which gave me the confidence to pursue my production skills and find ways to earn from them.

In 2014, I posted my first gig on Fiverr as a ghost producer. I only had a laptop and headphones, but orders started flowing in. While working full-time at an ecommerce company, I produced music as a side project. To date, I have completed more than 250 music tracks, covering a range of many electronic genres and styles. However, I cannot reveal their full names and projects since I was a ghost producer, and it's a different kind of feeling to work anonymously.

 In 2020, I was inspired to create a music track called "Penena Maanaya" for one of my best friends as a tribute who lost his battle with cancer. In 2021, I produced a deep progressive house track called "Mad World," and in 2022, I started a band with two friends called "Symphonic Trauma." We released four tracks - two with Deep Down Music, one with Soundteller, and one independently released, called "Lost the Way." Due to personal reasons, we took a little break from the band, but we hope to be back with another beautiful track in the future. After this long period, I restarted my solo career in 2023 with "Yomo Records," titled "Enigmatic Dimension." The track was released a few days ago and has already reached the top 100 hype progressive chart on Beatport

You don’t have too much music released yet but what has gotten you this far as a producer? Are you completely self-taught? Or did you have some help along the way? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I explained the reasons for my previous question. Back in 2008/2009, I created some unofficial remixes using DJ software and shared them with my friends. I had an idea to create an original track, but I didn't know the exact tools to use. At that time, I didn't have an internet connection at home, so I visited internet cafes to explore the world music ,share songs and software through pen drives. During my A-levels in 2010, I met a friend named Nirmala (Neurospace). I shared my ideas with him, and we talked about the future of music. He told me about FL Studio, and I managed to install the software. Although there weren't many tutorials available on YouTube or the internet about using a DAW or creating electronic music, somehow, I figured out how to create some music. Day by day, I learned new things in the DAW and about music theory. Over time, I shifted my music towards a more melodic style, and Neurospace suggested I switch to Ableton Live since it's compatible with many DAW controllers and equipment. It was a challenging and tough decision for me, but in 2021, within a few months, I had completely switched to Ableton Live. We are still great friends and keep talking about the future of electronic music. Recently, we collaborated on a beautiful track together, which will be released as an EP with Massive Harmony label.

For new producers, I recommend listening to good music and trying to identify its elements. Remember, music is a journey, not a competition. Learning an instrument such as the piano or guitar can provide an extra advantage. Also, it is important to have a good grasp of basic music theory, and there are plenty of tutorials available on the internet now. I always prioritize quality over quantity. Try to follow high-quality content and use your production to express your feelings.

You have a new EP ‘Groovy Forest’ out this week on Deep Down Music, tell us about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

I'm very excited about the Groovy Forest EP with Deep Down Music. For some tracks, I started by creating the beat first, while for others, I started with the chord progression. The origin story of Groovy forest came from random 6 notes that I played while jamming on the keyboard. I felt a very deep and unique emotion with the lead melody, so I created the bass line and added some percussion. I then decided on a forest theme with a tribal touch for this track, which has three build-ups and, for the final breakdown, I added some chakra frequencies. Listeners may not be able to identify the frequencies, but they can feel them.

Another original mix in this EP is called "Heavenly Hymn," which has a unique concept with chords pads and atmospheres. For the breakdown, I changed the beat for 16 bars. I suggest listening to the full track until the end to get the exact vibe. And the Lio Q remix of “Groovy Forest” was breathtaking. The elements, pads, and harmonies were so smooth and beautiful to catch. I prefer listeners to listen to this track with headphones to get the progression.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Deep Down Music. This label is constantly searching for deep and unique concepts, and I was immediately drawn to them when I discovered them in August with symphonic trauma . Within just six months, they went from being a new label to reaching the top 10 of hype progressive labels on beatport (per Beatstats). Mark, the label owner, has an incredible ear for music and a wealth of experience that he has honed over the years. As an entrepreneur myself, I believe there is much we can learn from him.

Tell us about your current studio setup and what tools featured heavily in the writing of this EP?

I’m using Ableton Live as my DAW and my soundcard is the Apollo Twin. For my DAW controller and MIDI keyboard, I am using the Novation Launchkey 61 keyboard. I also use the Novation Launchpad for percussion. My studio monitors are the PreSonus Eris. Headphones is Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro.I love the romantic sound of yamaha classical guitar c70

Modern day progressive house music is a powerful tool for promoting a sense of calm and inner peace, the melodic and emotional elements of traditional progressive house with contemporary production techniques and sounds. It often features lush soundscapes, atmospheric textures, and a strong sense of melody, creating a hypnotic and uplifting vibe. For the Groovy Forest original mix, I added some chakra vibrant frequencies. it's believed that by resonating with these chakra sound frequencies, one can promote overall health and well-being on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Let’s talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? And was there anything that inspired the tracks which make up your ‘Groovy Forest’ EP?

it’s all about the feelings . Dreams, for example, can provide a rich source of imagery and symbolism that can be used to create evocative and meaningful music. I agree with you . Personal relationships can also play a key role in the creative process, as artists may draw on their own experiences with love, loss, and other emotions to create music that is deeply personal. The relationship between music and me is a strong one. Music has always been there for me, helping me to rise up when I'm feeling down. I look forward to continuing to explore its endless possibilities.

When it comes to politics .Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with abundant resources that could make it a top-level nation. Unfortunately, bad politics have marred the country's beauty, and as a producer, this feeling has affected me deeply. It's an uphill road, but I hope that everything will fade away soon, and one day the world will talk more about Sri Lanka and its electronic music scene more. We have made a melodic house track that illustrates the destruction and corruption caused by the existing system and human behaviors in Sri Lanka and the world, and its impact on nature and mankind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eja45dnSLUI

When I started to produce "Groovy Forest," my mind was neutral at that moment. I was jamming on the keyboard with some random notes. After creating the main melody, I felt a fantastical feeling that I cannot describe in words. I felt that there was something and continuously completed the full track within two days. I was focused on completing the full track because I know my mind, if I were to postpone my work, it would not be completed in the same way.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I don't have any rituals to start up my productions, but sometimes I like to clean my workspace for a fresh start. This helps to clear my mind and focus. As a morning person, the morning is the best time for me to get a fresh start. Working out is one of the best things to keep me in the right mindset. Sometimes, I listen to my unfinished tracks to review them while working out. It's important to remember that everyone's process is unique. The most important thing is to find what works for you and develop habits and routines that support your creativity and help you achieve your goals as a producer.

And to add to that, how much road testing or friend feedback is collected to help make that decision? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

That's a good question. First of all, you can be a fan of your own track for a little while. If you can please yourself for real, that means there is something in it. Sometimes, I will randomly play my tracks when I'm around with friends. I will study their expressions and ideas. We can get honest opinions with fresh ears.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

For mixing sessions, I mostly use headphones. Afterwards, I love to experience the vibe with studio monitors. At that moment, I can celebrate the outcome, which is one of the beautiful feelings in the music production process

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

That's a nice question. I would really love to upgrade my system with some analog gears like synthesizers, mixers, turntables, and amplifiers.. Analog music gears produce a warmer, more authentic sound that many music enthusiasts prefer. However, analog equipment is prone to wear and tear and can be expensive to maintain. And they are drawn to the vintage, retro appeal of analog synthesizers. These instruments create a unique and warm sound that is difficult to replicate with digital synthesizers.so I would really love to experience it. And I would really love to try Avid Pro Tools for my mix and mastering

Currently, the entire music industry is mostly running on stereo (2.0) systems. Even in outdoor events, some sound systems may not be able to transmit certain beautiful tracks and frequencies effectively to the audience However, if we can upgrade to a 5.1 system, it could be the next revolution in music production. This technology is already being used in the film industry and some audio productions. Upgrading to a 5.1 system can help create a more immersive sound environment, allowing listeners to experience music in a whole new way.. However, for now, listeners also need to upgrade their audio products to build a high-taste music community. The future of progressive house is also heading towards advanced mixes.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Then it's going to be a daytime music event that will continue until midnight. Progressive house music also therapeutic music, and Sri Lankan mainstream television media often promote these kinds of events in the wrong way. Therefore, we need to prove that we can enjoy and feel these music without drugs.

  1. Volen Sentir - (3pm -5pm) to feel the nature with a nice warm-up.
  2. Ben Bohmer – (5pm -7pm) imagine his beautiful music with the sun down.
  3. Weird Sounding Dude - (7pm-9pm) he came several times to Sri Lanka, but I wanted to listen to his silk music session
  4. Noyise Project - (9pm -11pm) I prefer bit hype music at this time and to represent Sri Lanka.
  5. Hernen Catteneo - (11pm -1am) a legend himself.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

To be honest, I'm not a book reading person. I would say the movie "Inception" had a big impact on me. As a lucid dreamer, the idea of being able to control dreams like in the movie is truly epic. It has even led me to change my thinking pattern. The producer of this movie, Christopher Nolan, is a genius. I've watched most of his movies, and the music by Hans Zimmer has taken my music taste to another dimension

I enjoy the Matrix movie series. Sometimes, I feel like we are living in a matrix too, where we are distracted by many things in the current world system. It's important that we break free from these distractions and liberate ourselves

What is one superpower you would like to have and how would you use it?

I would love to be a time traveler. If I had the ability, I would use it to find solutions to current world problems and figure out the mysteries of life and the universe.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Traveling is something that makes me feel better, especially when I venture out into unknown places without people around. I love climbing, and have already scaled over 20 different mountain hikes on the island. I would love to continue doing this in the future

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I am happy with 2023 so far, and it's great to see the growth of the music and event industry as well as the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. However, I am not fully satisfied with the current situation due to the ongoing economic crisis. Many people are struggling to survive, and as the only child in my family, I understand the weight of responsibilities. We all are struggling, but I hope that in 2023, Sri Lanka will become a better place to live, not only for music but for everything.

'Groovy Forest' is available now via Deep Down Music: https://bit.ly/3ljEkCU

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