Mylo and Ronika discuss their Beginnings
Just last week I sat down for a chat with dance music extraordinaire Mylo and up-and-coming singer/producer/DJ, Ronika. The twosome are currently working on an exciting project spearheaded by Bacardi, called Bacardi Beginnings which puts a newcomer to the world of music together with a more established act – resulting in a remix of the mentor’s song by their tutor. In this case, Mylo is remixing Ronika and I met them both during a studio session in east London recently to find out all about the project and how it’s all been working on so far…
So how long have you two been working together?
Mylo: The campaign has been going since the summer, but I’ve been particularly slow. My excuse is that I’ve been looking after a five-month old… Ron has sent me over some amazing vocals, so today we’re going to be re-tracking some vocals and taking advantage of the kick-ass hardware here. We’re also going to discuss how everything is going to sound, we can either go for for full-on gogo stuff or we’re going to use the famous break from Ashley’s Roachclip, Ron’s got this great 96bpm track that we’re working on…
Ronika: That’s the track that Mylo is remixing, which I originally did with Javelin.
How did all this kick off for the two of you?
Mylo: It was all through a guy called Andy Peyton, who has worked with the Bacardi guys on festival events in the past, he asked me if I wanted to get involved. We co-promoted a night in London back in February that Ron performed at, she was the live act then we had Lindstrom, Brodinski, Airplane and me. I was completely free to choose who I wanted to, although it’s no coincedence that the three up and coming acts are all solo females. If it was blokes nominating other blokes, it would all be a bit too… blokey.
Why did you choose to work with Ronika? What was so appealing about her?
Mylo: She’s excellent! We’ve got a lot of the same influences in terms of eighties disco pop, I like the pure pop sensibilities in what she does.
Ronika, how did it feel when you got the call up?
Ron: It was amazing, I was like, “Mylo’s picked me?!”. It was incredible because Mylo was a big influence in a lot of what I’ve done, if you look at my list of influences on my Facebook his name is up there and that’s before all this happened. I listen to a lot of old school dance music, and new school stuff as well, and mix those up… and Mylo is one of my favourite producers, so for him to have me on his radar and pick me was awesome.
How long had you been working on music before you got the call up?
Ron: On the stuff I’m doing at the moment, probably the last five years. I’ve been making disco, house, freestyle – incorporating those influences into my music.
Mylo: Were you in bands before?
Ron: No… well at High School I was in an electronic music band with two producers and me. We were making music on OctaMED, do you remember that? It was on the Amiga! [Laughs] It was a list sequencer, old school.. very old school. Back then I was doing drum n’ bass and that sort of thing.
Mylo: Nottingham sound?
Ron: Yeah because back then I was going to house parties, when I was 13 or 14 and that’s where it began. Nottingham had a big house scene at the time, with DIY Soundsystem and lots of crusty hippies running house parties in the inner city.
So you have a £10,000 bursary as part of this project, I have to ask how are you using it? On studio time?
Ron: I record stuff at home, I have my own studio so that’s not necessary…
Mylo: Sorry to interrupt, but one of things I think is really great about this project is the total freedom that the beneficiaries have. Ronika has been allowed to invest that money any way she wants to, which is the best help she can have at this stage really, particularly when it’s hard to get a £10,000 advance out of record label these days. Bacardi obviously have a budget to do stuff like festivals and so on, but this is far more interesting.
It’s like watering a flower and watching it grow.
Ron: I’m forever grateful to Myles for that because it really couldn’t have come at a better time, he’s really the coolest as well because he’s like, “Spend it on whatever you need to spend it on.” I’ve been putting all my own stuff out so far, I’ve had three releases on my own record label so it means I can keep doing that.
Mylo: That’s the best use of it, definitely.
Ron: Yeah, so it’s perfect for me really. I’ve been mixing my album and picked up a few bits of studio gear that have been a long time coming… well, I haven’t got it yet but my synths so far have always been something old, something new, always something borrowed! Stealing and borrowing off people because they’re so expensive, so I’m finally going to invest in an analogue synth.
You’re more than just a singer though aren’t you Ronika, you produce as well?
Ron: Yeah I produce, I DJ and record it all, I’m a DIY artist. I work with other producers as well, so it’s a mix of stuff I do on my own and music I co-produce with other people normally.
How did you end up with so many strings to your bow?
Mylo: I think you have to these days.
Ron: To me making a track, the drum production, is just as important as the classic song-writing element. I grew up listening to electronic music…
Mylo: With electronic music, there’s no distinction between writing the song, producing and even engineering it. The kick drum on Blue Monday for instance, is probably the most distinctive part of the song.
Ron: That’s where I came from, always thinking that the production was where I wanted to be as well. I studied music production and worked as a sound engineer at live events for two and a half years, it was stressful! With DJing, I’ve been playing at house parties and so on since I was in my teens.
What are your hopes and ambitions with this whole project?
Mylo: A couple of good tracks and hopefully some more exposure for Ron. [To Ronika] As we said, particularly if the bursary just means that you can continue to get your releases out there for the next 12 months or more.
And finally Mylo, what are you up to at the moment?
Mylo: Well I took some time off because we had a kid in June… I don’t know how people have kids and the dad goes back to work after two weeks later, it’s a killer. Even as it is my wife’s been able to hand over the baby to me in the mornings and crash out for a bit, but even then she’s knackered. So days spent doing that and trying to get in the studio in the afternoon, not taking too many gigs. I had a big spate of remixes over the last 18 months, but I’ve stopped that. With my own album, I had some business problems but they’re sorted now – I’ve got a whole archive of music ready to go, and I’ll probably do that like Ronika and go DIY.
Mylo and Ronika’s single is due for release on December 10. Find out more about the project HERE.Tagged in: Bacardi Beginnings, Mylo, Ronika
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