A few weeks ago, we introduced you to Ronnie “Raskal” Rask. As one of Atlanta’s growing number of recognized DJs and producers, Raskal has been working hard to shape the deep and tech house sound of Atlanta.
Last week, we celebrated the launch of his debut single, Harmonetrix, on Beatport. This week Ronnie sat down with us to share some of his thoughts about his roots, his studio and his process.
Mark: How did you first get into producing music?
Raskal: I’ve been a DJ for many years and Producing always seemed like the logical step in my evolution. Even before DJ’s were producers and likewise producers are now DJ’s I aimed to produce music. Create and give back to the DJs/producers an experience of my very own that they could share with their crowds. Really I just decided one day that I would start producing and never stopped.
Mark: What does your studio look like today?
Raskal: My Studio is all digital: Ableton, two ipads and Touchable. All are running my macbook with multiple side displays. I also have a launchpad just to have buttons and also my ddj-sx from pioneer. I have that mapped to use as a controller in Ableton as well. It can be useful. There are a couple Midi Keyboards that stay unplugged most of the time too and a lot of Records. I still have all my Vinyl from the early days.
Mark: What’s one piece of gear that you can’t live without and why?
Raskal: The Piece of Gear that I can’t live without are my iPads. I create nothing on them but control everything with them. I use an app called Touchable to control Ableton and have now replaced other gear with another iPad. So while half my Gear stays unplugged, the iPads are good to go. Plus it keeps me sustainable while on the road and in the studio. Always have a scaled down version to work on.
Mark: How long does it take you to write a track?
Raskal: As Dave can tell you. My first 80% of a song is like one week, or sometimes one day. Last 20% eternity. It’s hard to let go of them.
Mark: What does your production process look like?
Raskal: Production Process is different every time. Sometimes I start with the drums move to Bass. Or I can start with a lead melody build a track around that. It just depends, but the one constant is my template in Ableton and how I organize my thoughts. My template has 5 or 6 different groups.
One’s a Drum Rack. Then Bass groups with Two Midi Tracks and Two Audio – for recording and creating stuff. The other groups are for the Pads, Leads, FX groups. I also have 6 returns setup and everything running through them. So I may start different but the template keeps me consistent. Also I organize things in folders named Finished (folder not so full), Working (many in here) and Just Started (so full it’s crazy). That way I know where my progress is on each track.
Mark: What is the story behind this Single?
Raskal: This EP began in Denver. I was stuck in my hotel studio. I wanted to pay respect to the sound that I had come up listening to and playing out for so long. This sound is somewhat hidden these days and doesn’t get the respect it once demanded. Progressive House or Deep House/Techno/Tech House/whatever we call it these days, has always been the most powerful sound to me. I set out to create something powerful. This small journey brought Harmonetrix into being. Power, poise, & precision were the feelings I got as these sounds came into Harmony. The songs will take you on a journey.
Don’t forget to check out Harmonetrix on Beatport.