From The Start: Meeting R3liks
R3liks is a Birmingham based producer specialising in upbeat tech/electro house and is quickly making a name for himself with his tunes.
R3liks latest offering, ‘On You’ is out now and we caught up with him to hear all about it and its creation. We also spoke about his music career and inspirations, as well as how he has been keeping busy during these difficult times.
You have just released your new single ‘On You’. Can you tell us about the track and its creation?
‘On You’ is a funky bass driven electro house track with a catchy vocal that will get any party/floor moving. It came together quite quickly (my most popular tracks seem to be the ones that come together like this). I started with the bass line and the vocals just fit perfectly on top. I always find if you can listen to just the bass and kick looped on there own and not get bored you’re onto a winner. I had that feeling with this track.
What has the reaction to the track been like so far?
I’ve had some great feedback. It seems to be going down well. I’ve not had the privilege of hearing played out live yet as the live scene is on lockdown but I have a good feeling about this one!
You have released the tracks ‘Something Blue’ and ’28 Hartnell’ this year too. They are quite different in style but recognisably your sound. Do you always want to have that blend of different sounds but also familiarity with your music?
Well, to be honest nothing’s intentional. I think I just get influenced by sounds I hear or songs I listen to on the radio which might explain the varied styles. My production method following that may be similar enough to give me the R3liks sound so to speak but yeah, I never set out to write music with anything in mind.
Where do your inspirations come from when you are making music?
Everywhere! I mean I listen to a variety of styles of music from rock to classical. Something probably sticks in my head like an ear-worm then influences the choices I make in the studio. I’ve hummed something in my phone before if an idea comes throughout the day then I’ll try to make something out of it when I get the chance. Most songs are happy accidents though and just seem to end up finished.
What equipment do you use when you are making music?
Just standard stuff really. Nothing crazy. Computer synths and a keyboard. I get more productive when I limit my choices. Some of my songs are completely in the box. I have Moog phatty which I absolutely love though. You can t beat a bit of analogue warmth!
What would a typical day in the studio be like for you?
Always starts with a cup of coffee. I’ll send a few emails then I’m away. Always start with a black canvas and just start making noises. You can’t beat it when you have the kick drum pounding away, you turn one knob on the synth to create some awesome bass and then your foot starts tapping! Best feeling ever! Once you have that the rest seems to flow.
Have you been making any more new music during this lockdown period?
Yes I have loads of new stuff! Some great stuff packed to go as we speak. Some need a little work. The ones that come together the fastest seem to be the best though! I think ‘On You’ was written and mixed in 5 hours!
How else have you been keeping busy during this time?
I started skateboarding! No Joke! I don’t bounce off the floor like I did when I was a kid though…. It’s great exercise and really fun. I had a few people laugh when I first told them but I secretly think they think it’s cool!
Who are your biggest influences and inspirations when it comes to making music?
Just wanting to do something different really pushes me on. I have a great support network that gives me encouragement. I couldn’t think of a better job than one that involves making noise. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
How did you get into electronic music in the first place?
I used to listen to a lot of electronic music when I was younger. I had Zombie Nation’s ‘Kernkraft 400’ on repeat when that came out. I then played bass in metal bands. I loved all music from there on out, but it was only after that project ended I started making electronic music. I wish I’d have started earlier!
How do you think things are going to change when it comes to live events when the lockdown eases?
I have no clue… I just hope there is going to be venues left in the aftermath of it all. I can imagine a lot more underground style festivals going on. I think that will be across the board not just electronic music. There will still be the audience but the venues might be something totally different. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.
How difficult a summer and year has it been with no festivals or events on at the moment?
Really difficult. I mean It’s not been so bad for me because I am fortunate enough to be able to hunker down in the studio and write music but I certainly feel for the industry as a whole. I just hope there’s going to one left after it all. It’s painful to watch. I’ve not heard of anyone in the industry who hasn’t had some sort of impact on their livelihoods. I just hope everyone gives all the support they can.
If you had to curate a festival, who would you have playing it?
I’d have to have three huge acts to pull the crowds because I’d want the festival to be huge! Go big or go home I say. Kshmr would headline Friday. He would totally get everyone pumped for the weekend ahead. Calvin Harris could do Saturday because well…. It’s Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 would finish off headlining Sunday bringing an epic close to the weekend. What do you think? Do you want a ticket?
What tunes (both by R3liks and by others) get the biggest reaction when you play them out?
’28 Hartnell’ has certainly been a popular one. I’ve had videos sent to me on socials of people dancing to it. Maybe I should aim to start a Tik Tok trend! I’ll also say anything by Tom Staar seems to get a great reaction. He really knows how to write music that gets the floor moving. I love ‘Bird Flu’ off of his Cartel imprint. Real party vibes!
What are your top three tunes at the minute?
‘On You’ by R3liks… I’m joking of course. I love i_o’s ‘Revolution’ and the way he uses delay is great. I’m well into the acid sound of Love Generator at the moment. It made me run out to buy a Roland Tb03! Real retro vibes. Finally I’d have to say The BSOD e.p. ‘No Way, Get Real’. Love that at the moment but I couldn’t choose one. It’s a tough question!
What was the first piece of music that you ever bought and what effect did it have on you?
Can I skip my first one… I think that was Spice Girls at the age of 10! My second piece was Zombie Nation’s ‘Kernkraft 400’. I had that on repeat! It was dirty and catchy all at once. I think that’s what really started my love for electronic music. Also Chicane’s “Saltwater’. That song still hits me today.
What is your favourite album of all time and why does it resonate with you so much?
I’d have to say Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the moon. It’s an album that introduced me to progressive music, chillout music and experimental music all in one. A total concept album that changed the way I thought of music from the second I heard it. Brilliant!