There's no point in having a music 'zine if you're not able to ask your musician friends some Q's. I met Rhamier back when I lived in New York; I used to work retail (at a clothing store called Opening Ceremony), and through a friend I worked with (a super cool guy named Jimmy) met Rhamier!
Below, I ask up and coming musician and producer Rhamier Balagoon three questions.
Synth History: I’ve seen your Akai MPC in some pics! What are some of your all-time favorite samplers and why?
Rhamier: I love my Akai MPC Live II. I purchased my first sampler, the Akai MPC 2000XL, when I was in high school. It was my first eBay purchase and I saved up $900 from bussing tables at a restaurant. My Dad contributed the remaining $100. I have such fond memories of that sampler, so I would also say the 2000XL. I still have it!
I love the S950 sampler Akai released in the late 80s/early 90s. To this day people who make sample-based music are trying to emulate the sonic characteristics of that sampler. It was often used in combination with the E-mu SP-1200. A wicked sound if you ask any hip-hop head. Then there’s the Mellotron, which is arguably the first sampler.
Synth History: What is inspiring you the most right now, could be anything?
Rhamier: Literature is always inspiring for me. June Jordan poems, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, Blood In My Eye by George Jackson and Sula by Toni Morrison.
David Cronenberg films, especially Videodrome. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive by David Lynch. Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, Belly by Hype Williams, Eve’s Bayou by Kasi Lemmons and Babylon, 1980, by Franco Rosso. The Sign O’ The Times concert film!
Music-wise, Funkadelic’s Funkadelic, Maggot Brain, America Eats Its Young, Cosmic Slop, Let’s Take It To The Stage, Prince’s Dirty Mind, Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On, Fresh, Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s Keyboard Fantasies, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Black Messiah and Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Endless.
Synth History: What is some advice you would give to someone interested in making music but fearful of releasing it or making that jump?
Rhamier: I was watching an interview with Fred Again and he mentioned Brian Eno told him there’s nothing to learn from unreleased music. I love that notion. If you love making music, keep at it and you’ll naturally improve the more you engage with it.
At the end of the day, taste is subjective and whether you're famous or not there will be people who simply aren’t into your music or don’t get it. And that isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s nature. You’ll find your audience. Music belongs to the masses. We should all feel empowered and entitled to create.
Synth History Exclusive.