Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Press Play #20 - Ray Mang

Ray Mang drops in for Press Play number 20, it had to be an extra special one did it not? Ray Mang aka Raj Gupta is one of those producers I have followed for years; from his early work with Crispin J Glover, Quakerman and the Idjut Boys on labels like Fiasco, Matrix, Pronto Recordings, Nuphonic, U-Star, Noid and Discfunction to his brilliant Block 16 project with Pete Z & Glen Gunner, and not forgetting all the top Disco stuff he's put out as Ray Mang on Mangled and Eskimo. Over the last year Mang's released a steady flow of top leftfield dancefloor beauties aswell as a bunch of great remixes. Anyway you all know who he is - Ray has blessed us with a mix, (which incidently went out once on Common Cause Radio recently) that is ultra Mang heavy (check the track listing), super sparkley smooth and starts off with a Jean Luc-Ponty track from one of me mums fave albums. But wait... there is more... Ray answered some questions for your reading pleasure and also threw in his lovely edit of Hercule's brilliant 'Sunday Morning Fever' for your downloading pleasure... bonus Mang round!!! As always you can find the link to the mix under press play or right here...

Hercule - Sunday Morning Fever (RM Edit)

Tracklising for Autumn Leek & Potato Mix:

Jean-Luc Ponty - Renaissance - Atlantic

Mudd - Villa Stavros - Claremont 56
Ray Mang Edit - Phreak - Mangled
Ray Mang - Look Into My Eyes - TBC
Ray Mang - It's Gonna Get You - Cavendish
Ray Mang - Glitter Cojones - TBC
Todd Terje - Euro Dans - Full Pupp
Ray Mang - Tattoo Me - TBC
The Glimmers - Kobes In Columbia - Diskimo
Tele Music - Let's Go Brasilia (Ray Mang Edit) - DJHistory.com

Ray Mang speaks:

Who is Ray Mang? How does he differ from Raj?

Ray Mang is just a pseudonym that stuck although recently he’s increasingly becoming my DJ alter ego. How does he differ from Raj? Vodka!!

I don’t think too much of your background pre producing is well known, can you give us the basics and also tell us how you got into music making?

I always had a keen interest in electronic gadgets, tape machines, radios, record players etc when I was very young and loved tinkering with anything I could get my hands on.
I took up playing the drums at around 13 and started playing in local bands in Cambridge where I grew up a couple of years after that. While playing in one of these bands I was introduced to the studio environment and got the bug. We didn’t have any money and after finding we could only ever afford a couple of hours in a demo studio to record we decided to try and do it ourselves. Doesn’t sound that unusual now but this was in the early days of MIDI and home recording on a budget was just starting to become in reach of more people. We couldn’t afford all the stuff to record the drums live so I had to program everything, which got me going with MIDI, keyboards and sequencing.
I continued playing in bands when I headed to Manchester at the end of the 80’s to study computing there. A brilliant time to be in Manchester from both a musical and social perspective. It was a great 3 years and opened my mind to the joys of club sound, electronic dance music and record collecting amongst other things! The study part turned out to be quite useful too not least because the early part of my course centered around the Atari ST!
I vowed to head to London after I finished my course and try and set up my own home studio and start recording. And shortly after leaving Manchester that’s what I did!

Your productions, even as far back as your releases on Spectrum & Pronto, seem to be big on live based music and ‘organic’ songs as apposed to electronica or even straight up house, even though u do obviously use new technology and your music appeals to people on the dance scene…

I guess starting out playing in live jam/dance bands as well as spending time working with more song based arrangements in my early years has a bearing on how I approach things. What’s more influential though is the music I enjoy which is pretty much anything but especially Disco, Funk, Punk, Boogie, Soul, Dub, Latin, Jazz, House, Electro, Exotica, Hip-Hop, Downtempo, Afro…. I’ve always been a fan of mixing it up and I guess that’s just how it comes out even when I’m attempting to do a straight up style!

‘Number One’ has become a bit of an expensive record these days, do u have one for me? No but seriously your album ‘Mangled’ also fetches high prices, that must be kind of strange at some level, how do u feel about that ?

I wish I still had a box of each but no; I don’t have a copy of either! If I did I’d happily pass it your way……those second-hand prices are ridiculous!! I know what it’s like to crave a record….but really, if you hold out and dig a little you can usually find what you want for a much more reasonable price.

Something of a current debate is vinyl versus digital, well maybe not so new but it continues to provoke discussion… do u prefer to buy vinyl or have u gone the way of the future? And do u dj using digital files?

I still buy a little vinyl. Not as much as I’d like to these days unfortunately. I’m equally happy with CD’s since the CDJ-1000 landed. As well as being great fun to DJ with it makes absolute sense when you have to travel as a DJ to only carry your CD wallet. Also you don’t have to cut dub plates to play unreleased tracks, edits, etc. Not so much fun digitizing all that vinyl though! Sound-wise I’m happy with either as long as it’s mastered well (without data compression for digital) and the system is good. I certainly won’t miss old needles, jumping records, jogged decks, phono feedback, bass width restrictions…etc. But I still love the feel and sound of a record along with the sleeve artwork.

What makes you want to do an edit of a track? I mean take ‘Love Dancing’ for example, it’s a killer original, I mean how good is that track?.. and yet your version remains the one I play most often (actually I must own about 8 versions of it), what made u re-work it?

Usually it’ll be a track that grabs you but you find yourself wanting to hear a version that’s tailored to your tastes and needs (as a DJ) but doesn’t already exist (as far as you know). In the case of your example, brilliant as the original full-length vocal is, it was just about trying to do the extended instrumental version with a little extra something here and there to help it along. You’re obviously a sucka for the instrumental dub like myself Chris?!

The Fantastic Four edit on your album is also one of those much talked about tracks and for good reason, am I right in saying there are a few versions of this? Ive never heard version 3 from this release (yet another expensive record) how does it differ from the one on the album?

No, they’re all the same as far as I remember!

Your recent RBMA Radio set included a few things I hadn’t heard, new things.. what can we expect from Ray Mang in the near future?

I’ve got a whole album of original Mang tracks that should start landing next year. All going well a single should be appearing before too long on a certain well-known NY based label to start the ball rolling! You can hear something on myspace ... Take a look at Sound Captives to check out another album project I’ve been working on with Pete Z and guest singers Jhelisa and Mozez. Also a few remixes coming through. Dutch Rhythm Combo has just come out I believe. There’s a re-edit of Tele Music’s ‘Let’s Go Brazilia’ out now on DJHistory. A remix of Roctiv is due out soon on Brazilian label Memoribilia. And there’s plenty more Mangled releases on the way!!

Are you playing out much these days? Where can people catch up with you?

Yes. More and more! I’m playing in London a couple of times over the coming month or so. I’m just back from
doing LOOP in Japan as well as a gig in Kyoto. I try and stick the gigs on myspace so have a look there if you want details.

Will there be a return of Block 16 or was it a one off project?

It doesn’t look like it but have a listen to Sound Captives. The album should be out next year!


DJ BWYSE said...

Really looking forward to this mix Chris. THnaks alot. Great interview. Happy Holidays my man!

chiefgroove said...

Chris from Hellas just say hi!Great stuff bro!

chris keys said...

nice one fellas - hey Bwyse long time no proper speak - ill mail you...