Every so often Raver Mag comes across a couple of artists who truly pique our interest and so of course, we want to know more! Two names who have been flitting across our radar for a while now are Colombian star RYOKER and Bostonian Elae Weekes, who recently joined forces to drop their co-production ‘I See You’. With the original version already doing the business on playlists and in DJ booths the world over, the pair then went on to grace us with a scorching remix package that champions the very best in rising Latin producers, How3ll, Vedeus and Dazed. We caught up with both producers to find out more, in what turned out to be a very energetic conversation!
RAVER MAG: Hi RYOKER, Elae, thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us where in the world you are right now and what you’re up to?
RYOKER: Hoolaaa! I’m based in Bogotá Colombia. But I’m constantly jumping to Medellín and other cities for music sessions and shows, this year’s been full of those. On top of that, I’m developing a new musical project, a Colombian trio which I’m really excited about!
Elae Weekes: Currently, I am back home in my hometown (Boston, US) preparing for my last show in the city before I set off for my next Euro tour starting at the end of June. I am also gearing up to release my first album which will be bringing a different sound to my catalog!
RAVER MAG: For our readers who might not be familiar with you both, can you give us some background on your career to date and your sound?
RYOKER: Claro, I’m a Colombian artist and producer known for producing catchy fusions between electronic and pop music. I’ve worked with top talented artists like Matthew Mdot Finley from Disney and top writers like Nino Lucarelli. I’ve played shows next to Claptone, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and more. My music just put me in the Top 100 list of Dance Releases on Beatport and now I’m very happy to be releasing new remixes for our song ‘I See You’ with Elae!
Elae Weekes: I’ve been singing and songwriting since I was child. I was raised in a very musical family; most of my siblings play a musical instrument but I am the only vocalist. Growing up, I was heavily influenced by many different styles of music. Gospel and Soul are two genres that have heavily affected my sound. My first impactful step into the music industry was my first R&B release ,“Warm” produced by G Weeks in 2016. From there I went on to release an EP and a catalog of singles. From then until now I have had the pleasure of collaborating with producers and artists from all over the world. My music has taken me around the globe and I’ve had the opportunity to tour in Europe twice. These many flavors are definitely going to be present in an upcoming project.
RAVER MAG: Nice. Congrats on the new remix package for I See You. It’s a really varied set of remixes with something for everyone. How did you go about picking which producers you’d bring in for the project, and did they deliver what you were both looking for?
RYOKER: Well, I was in charge of this follow up project, so I made a call to 12 talented latin producers; some of them I already knew, some others I only had the chance to listen to their previous works for other artists. We wanted the remixes to be in new musical markets but all within the electronic club scene. All proposals were exciting to hear, it was hard picking up, but only the best got finished. Elae, your work on this single had a very strong identity, right?… so most of the remix proposals were also “dark-y”. When I heard How3ll’s vision (he actually sent me 4 different ideas!) I fell in love with it. It was so “shiny / happy / diurnal” it had to be the first remix on the EP.
RAVER MAG: Does it feel weird hearing someone else’s take on your work?
Elae Weekes: It’s actually an amazing feeling to hear someone else’s take on my work. When people create remixes, it is a reflection on how the original song made them feel. It’s a wonderful feeling to relive my own music through the sounds and feelings of someone else. What you think, Ryo?
RYOKER: Ehm, It’s challenging for me hahah. This being the 6th ‘Remixes EP’ I release of my music, I’ve learned a lot in the process. As the producer and captain of all my works, I invest a lot of hours on each track released, so I develop the only perfect idea of how it should sound. When a remixer comes in, he/she breaks that vision into a new one and the composition itself gets so much bigger and wider. And it’s a very encouraging moment.
RAVER MAG: Alright. The original single has done extremely well in its own right with over 200k views on YouTube alone. Congratulations! Has the single opened you up to any new audiences outside of your already existing ones?
RYOKER: Definitivamente! We’re raising our game release after release so the word of mouth makes its thing. Nowadays, it’s very usual for me when meeting somebody new that they say “Hey, I’ve seen you somewhere, I know your face”. It’s been a process, I’ve been building it for 8 years.
Elae Weekes: Right. This song’s Youtube success has definitely contributed to a diverse increase in viewership. “I See You”, being my second EDM collaboration, has helped me to reach fans in a whole different genre. Because of EDM’s international likability, I am gaining fans and supporters from new countries every day.
RAVER MAG: What was the process like working with each other? Did you manage to get together in the studio or did you work remotely on it?
RYOKER: Jajaja es gracioso… we have never been together in a studio. We met through SoundBetter, then we built a relationship outside it and tested some demos. By the end of the work we knew each other’s workflow and skills by seeing the other work from a distance. When we met in person at the videoclip recording, we only had time for that; the other days Elae was in the city, I managed to hook him up with new producers and such, so he get a better experience on his traveling.
Elae Weekes: Word, thank you for that. Yeah, The initial part of the collaboration, the song itself, was done with great communication remotely. But the more exciting portion of the initial release was done in person. I flew down to Bogota, Colombia for the first time to shoot the visual. It was an amazing feeling to be able to experience Colombian culture while working with a super talented producer. The production team and director of photography, Miguel Silva, were so easy to work with and super energetic. It was a magical work atmosphere.
RAVER MAG: Elae, you’re from the US East coast but you’ve been touring heavily over Europe, what’s the reaction been like over there to your music?
Elae Weekes: In my city, people are super surprised, not only because of the song’s success but rather because they are used to seeing and hearing a more R&B and Soul sound from me. My European listeners have been reaching out to me with excitement about the new track. I anticipate many EDM shows in Europe because of this song.
RAVER MAG: RYOKER you’re from Colombia and the remixers on the package are all Latin artists too. How important was it for you to engage with Latin producers and is the Latin market the most crucial for you?
RYOKER: Todos Latinos, yeah. I felt these tracks were already so Anglo that they needed my push on Latin remixers. The Latin market has become my main target now; me being from here I release most of my electronic music in Spanish. After reggaeton made its way to the top, I feel responsible to showcase our culture even more, make it grow outside urban music.
RAVER MAG: You were also part of the World Record for the first song with over 100 producers involved. How did that come about, who else did you work with and what was the process of that like?
RYOKER: Es una locura. A very close friend of mine came to me with this idea. Broz Rodriguez, F4ST, Jona Camacho, Lujavo, Nitro Fun, Noizekid, Sak Noel, Sinego, Tom & Collins, Urboi and 89 others collabing. I remember it was a 2 years process until the track came out. Then we made it to Billboard. We made a WhatsApp group with all Latin producers involved and nowadays it’s become a very big support channel… Various remixes of mine have been done by these fellas!
RAVER MAG: Amazing. Latin music stars top charts the world over – J. Balvin, Maluma, Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam, the list goes on. Who for you are the most influential Latin artists and which ones inspire you in terms of their music and their reach?
RYOKER: I love all the obvious faces of Latin music; Feid, Jhay Cortez and Rauw Alejandro have dope productions. But to give you curve balls, I’ll list: Mr. Pig, Markem, Cato Anaya and DJ Fronter; I play their tunes a lot in my shows! Last, upcoming and on the rise Latin artists that I know very well: Julián Millan, Daniel Etienne, Johnny House-In, Discolombia and Juan Escalona. Just give me 2 years and people will come back here to read I named them first. Fuego!
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