Ray Monsieur

By: Dream Chimney

The following interview was conducted on March 11, 2024

Ray Monsieur Ray Monsieur leaps onto the scene with his new EP entitled ‘Stronger’. Launching his fresh new label Holybro, he hails from the European dance capital of Amsterdam. His thoughtful and melodic compositions are infused with depth, warmth, and emotion. We thought it would be ace to invite this exciting new producer to the Dream Chimney fireside for a little talk.

Thanks for talking to us. Where are you this moment and how are you spending the day?

Thanks for having me! I started this day early with my routine around 6 am with a short cold shower. After that a gym session and then the work day starts. Half a day for my daily job at the University and the rest of the day on my music. The weather is nice outside, so I'll go for a nice walk later today. Tonight, I'm cooking and maybe do some yoga. I like to be creative in the evenings and start off a new track. So maybe I'm doing that later tonight.

Where were you born? Where are you based now?

I was born in Baarn. That's a small village near Amsterdam and Utrecht. I used to live in Amsterdam and before that in Utrecht, but I moved back to Baarn for some peace. I have spent a few months at my parents, where I've wrote the EP and now I'm on my own again.

What do you love most about where you are living? What keeps you where you are today?

I like my spacious apartment and that Baarn is really peaceful. When you walk for about 10 minutes you are in the woods. Also, it's very close to both citys, Amsterdam, Utrecht. I seek out the hustle when I feel like it.

If money was no object, and you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would that be and why?

Somewhere near Milan in the Alps would be very nice. Studio with a view, options for great hikes but also close enough to the city. Real Italian food, the passion around it and great weather in the summers. I would love it.

How long have you been making music? What was your first step as a musician?

My older brothers produced hip-hop, and as a child, I would visit their room because I was curious. Later, their music transitioned from hip-hop to trip-hop and sample-based instrumental beats. I started playing guitar when I was 13 and once I was old enough for the band, I joined in, primarily playing guitar, bass, and handling vocals. Producing the first part in my bedroom and sending it over to my brothers who were moved out of the family house. They took care of the rest. We were called the Funky Bros, and we've released quite a bit of music.

What came first Djing or production?

Around my twenties, I started exploring dance music, mostly house and techno, incorporating it into my productions. A few years later, I frequently went to clubs and parties, leading me to discover DJing and buying my CDJ's.

What kind of artists, DJs, genres were you into growing up?

My first CDs at the age of 10 were from Limp Bizkit, Arctic Monkeys, Rage Against The Machine, Korn, and Nirvana.

Later on, I started listening to lots of genres. The artists that come to mind right now are Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Radiohead, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Chic, Little Dragon, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Allah Las, Mac DeMarco, Kings Of Convenience and Patrick Watson.

Who are the artists that you follow right now?

I started to listen house and techno music because of the switch to four on the flour beats that Bonobo and Caribou (Daphni) made back in the days. I still adore them right now. Then I started to listen to Rodriguez Jr. and became a big fan of his style and quality sound. Other artists that's I really like are 16BL, Henrik Schwarz, Chaos In The CBD, Nachtbraker, KAASI, TomVR, Palms Trax, The XX (also their solo projects), London Grammar, Parcels, Jean Tonique, Jansons and Anotr, but there are many more of course.

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What is the most recent record you purchased or downloaded?

DJ Chus, The Groove Foundation - That Feeling (Circulation St. Tropez mix)

If you could choose a few words to describe the vibe of RAY MONSIEUR what would they be?

Deep, loving and energized.

Talk to us about the new EP and the initial idea. When did you first approach this concept and what was your original intention?

I started to really approach the idea after I stopped working on my previous projects. It took me quite some time to figure out my sound and what 'Ray Monsieur' will be all about. Do I want to make house, deep house? Do I want to make techno? Do I want to use my own vocals? Do I want to record disco style guitar and use synths as in Ghanaian funk and disco from the 70s? What will be my style in my sets? After figuring out all these questions I started to feel that there is only one ‘Ray Monsieur'. I can do whatever I like and make the art, instead of overthinking it. After that realization I started to develop my sound and ideas more, leading me into this first EP.

What was most important for you to convey through these tracks?

At the moment of writing the tracks it was pure emotions. Writing a message to someone in music and also use the tracks in a therapeutic way to let go of things. The different drum sounds and synths I used were important for me to give an impression of what I do, especially because it's the first release.

Do you feel that you were able to accomplish all of your intentions?

It took me some time, but this first step got things rolling and gave me lots of trust, energy, and joy to move on with the project, make plans, and create new music. So, that’s a big accomplishment on its own for me.

What are you most proud of with this release?

That I stuck to the plan and achieved my goals.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the release together?

The most challenging part was staying on the right track and truly believing in myself. It took me some time to find my sound, and I was never satisfied with my productions. Now, when I listen to old tracks from years ago, I wonder why I didn't release them.

Additionally, I started my journey to sobriety last year, and now I'm committed to it. This change has transformed my life and productivity. I can reflect on and genuinely feel things, incorporating these emotions into my music.

Who are the other artists on this EP that you would like to shout out?

Shout out to Maurits Verwoerd (Nachtbraker) for the mixing and mastering. Also, he helped me lot with the questions I had around this release and gave me feedback. I owe him, such a great guy.

What drives you to create music?

It’s the only thing that I really want to do. When I create something and I'm really vibing with it, the idea that other people also vibe to my music the way I feel it, dance to it, gives me an indescribably good feeling that I crave more of

What has been one of your favorite moments from the past year?

A set I witnessed from Lobster at the 909 festival. Some friends and I were walking past the small stage where he was performing, and we were instantly hooked. High tempo and for me just the right amount. It got us dancing, and we didn't care about the lineup at the other stages.

Where do you find the most inspiration when it comes to discovering new music?

Go to clubs and listen to sets. Going to record shops but also the algorithms from the music platforms can help a lot.

Is there anything that you would like to tell us about you?

My journey in creating music is driven by a deep passion and a desire to evoke emotions and connections. I am continually evolving, and my music is a reflection of my growth and exploration. I hope that through my creations, listeners can experience the emotions, stories, and energy that I pour into my work. Ultimately, I'm on a journey of self-discovery and artistic expression, and I'm grateful to share that with those who resonate with my sound.

What can we hope to see next from RAY MONSIEUR?

I aim for more releases, more gigs, and collaborations with other artists. There's plenty to explore and discover. Additionally, I want to showcase more facets of my musical style.


Check out the latest release from Ray Monsieur


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