As one of Armada Trice’s latest signings, Roddy Reynaert is one of those hidden gems that record label aim to discover every time they lend an ear to someone. His sought-after signature sound absolutely deserves to be heard, but it took a fair amount of time until he finally got his chance. Stay put if you want to find out all about the early days of career, the long-awaited discovery, and what he has brought to the Armada Trice table so far…
Hi Roddy, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us! First of all, you are fairly new to the Armada Trice family, yet the sheer quality of your tunes makes it seem as if you’ve been around for ages. How come that your works have remained largely unknown until know?
In reality, I am not an isolated case; it occurs everywhere in this world. Before the digital era invaded the music scene, there were few musicians able to make it into the record stores. To build your own studio cost a lot of money, so it was the preserve of just a handful of artists to own or build one. But when the digital era arrived at both the marketing and technical aspect of music, it permitted young artists to start with a lower budget, because buying plugins was much more affordable. And suddenly, just about anyone was able to create music.
However, the downside to this development was that a tidal wave of music hit the scene. In itself, that’s not really a bad thing. But considering that it involved a lot of productions so horrible that they should be prohibited, it was the good music that got buried under and had a hard time to surface. So when taking into consideration how much good music is still out there waiting to be dug up, I consider myself lucky that it even happened to me at all.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. About what inspires you, what made you pursue a career in music and what you hope to accomplish with your music and in your career.
The first thing that inspired me was playing long DJ sets during my residency at the Club H20 in Belgium. I never knew which song I was going to play beforehand, but I always had a plan more or less at the ready, since these nights could last for more than twelve hours sometimes. But by the time I went home at the end of the night, my head was absolutely packed with ideas, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep. It frustrated me that I wasn’t able to put these ideas into practice. I could not just simply sit down to experiment with creating my own tracks; I would’ve been tired and annoyed otherwise. Neither the general public nor my family realizes how considerable the amount of work is. It demands a lot of your energy and time, but also audacity, insight, and at least a bit of character to take on the difficult moments.
I have come a long way, from a period where I had no money. I was lazy, slept in my car, and no one supported me. But every passing day made the desire to succeed grow stronger, and sacrifices had to be made. I had to find this energy and that sometimes takes a while. But as I like to learn and share my knowledge (not with anyone, though), I like to give my time to something that’s really worth it, to something on which I can build, like the first stone of a building. Luckily, Muriel, my friend and patron of the H20 Club, had instilled some professional values that very few understood. And it made me want to really appreciate music, browsing the world, different cultures, and their place in the ears of someone that loved music as much as I did and still do. It made me want to give it my all; to reach the top, gain the respect of the people who support me, and build a life on that. To stagnate and to stop trying is to fall behind. So here I am today.
Could you tell us a bit about what musical style suits you best?
I am moving more toward progressive trance, mainly due to my Belgian roots. At the time when Eric Prydz put out his first records, I was already caught up in that specific musical direction. But this kind of music did not work at all; even now the public remains refractory and clings desperately to the same unsurprising music that they’ve heard a thousand times over.
Today, I no longer listen to electronic music as much as I used to. I’d rather lend an ear to something that inspires me. I listen to the blues, rock, jazz oldies, and a lot of Lana del Rey’s work. She brought something new and was a great source of inspiration to me when I wrote my first alternative songs. I would love to produce a few songs for her albums, although I don’t want it to be a remix of some sort.
Since we know for a fact that a lot of people are dying to know this; how’d you manage to create such a distinctive and superb signature sound? What is the key to creating your own unique sound?
I am not common; I’ve always dared to fish where few set up their traps. To do as the others or to follow the movement of commercial music is not my thing. It is dangerous; the music that thrives today might become corny and cheesy tomorrow. And then, many of its artists will be at a loss. Whenever I’ve put out a new track, there were at least ten that got left behind. And my father, despite being my biggest fan, didn’t understand this. But it is this knowledge, patience and audacity that got me to where I am now, even though I still have so much to learn. And that’s also why my sound cannot be labelled house, progressive, new wave, pop, trance, or anything else, even though it is influenced by it. It is timeless, anti-conformist, and rock ‘n roll. A bit like me, in fact… *smirks*
The three recent tracks you put out, ‘Further’, ‘Shapeshifter’, and ‘Scroll’, were quickly touted as the ‘Triple Trice’. Could you tell us a bit about each track, explaining for each of the three what makes them so special and what they mean to your personally and musically?
“Further” is a thematic title. It comprises this small, major melody, which is therefore merry and positive, It is fluid and instinctive, and very clearly describes the mood I’m in nowadays. Its foundation is powerful and energetic, and the breakdown is a “true” breakdown. It is there where the magical melody shows all of its colors, warm and tireless. This song gives me goosebumps.
“Shapeshifter” is charismatic. It reflects a dark aspect, but rings positive nevertheless. And then, along comes a nuanced and subtle transformation. The evolution is reactive, as if to decompose and recomposes. The message that I want to convey with this song is you should be free to believe what you want.
“Scroll” is like a pleasant-sounding, melodious alarm clock; it broadcasts a constant energy, regular and reliable. It perpetuates the entire flow in a relatively nostalgic atmosphere: a little melancholic, but not sad. ‘Scroll’ symbolizes reminiscing while scrolling in the same way you would an online newspaper or Facebook news feed. I’m sure many of you will recognize.
You are amongst the rare-breed producers that do not DJ on the side. Is there a specific reason behind the decision to fully focus on a producing career or do you intend to take up DJ’ing in the near future as well?
There’s no sense in building a house on unstable foundations. I need to take the time to mature musically before I can return to the DJ scene, which might take several years. There are so many DJs on this planet that I even wonder if it would be wise to wait until there are less. It’s been 25 years since I was a DJ and I’ve learned that I should take my time. Each thing in its time and each thing in its place.
How do you feel about people touting you and your sound ‘the New Pryda’?
I fully endorse this comparison with Eric Prydz, which is very flattering. This guy is incredible and annoying, because every time he puts out a new record, I’m like: “Crap, why didn’t I think of this”. I love the majority of his work and it inspires me. I think we have a lot of the same stuff going on, but the colors are not quite the same. But next to Eric Prydz, I also have a lot of respect for other pioneering artists. Paul van Dyk, who I met during a booking with him in Ohio, Above & Beyond for their musical diversity, and Armin van Buuren, whose legendary ‘Blue Fear’ track I have played a hundred times, if not more; they’ve all earned my respect. And more recently, Gareth Emery. I love his energy and his work; it is an example for me and I would very much like to meet him one day.