Coloray surprised us with an exciting electronic podcast mixing indie, trance, and post punk influences that will make you long for an outdoor festival on a summer day. Coloray, also known as Raynor de Groot, isn't a new face at DGTL. Already applauded back in 2019 during the opening night of DGTL Amsterdam as 1/2 part of the DJ duo 'Tunnelvisions'. Below he's sharing about going solo, what the past year has brought him and more.
Q. So tell us, how has the past year been for you?
A. Not too bad to be honest! I guess being in lockdown and the pandemic has led to some soul searching. I’ve just turned 30, so It’s only natural to take some time to reflect on those years. 2020 Has really helped with that. I mean, when the societal engine is running people don’t even have time to think. Personally I’ve been really creative, made loads of music, I finished an album and loads of other music which I couldn’t finish before.
Q. How would you describe your sound to the readers who are not familiar with ‘Coloray’ yet?
A. I don’t think I’m really after one sound, but I’m trying to translate some feelings I have about myself and how I see society. When I play as a DJ I mostly want to make people to get in a flow and let go of any tension they have. It should never get too serious though, when I play it should feel like anything goes. I like stuff that’s retro, but also futuristic in a sense. Having no boundaries to what I do is really the only way how I would like to play music. I love to mix all styles and see how it turns out. It’s a difficult balance to strike, but when it works it’s the most exciting way to play for me.
The music I produce is a combination of me using my voice and me on production. On one hand I like experimental stuff, productions that make me think: ‘how the hell did they make this?’ but on the other hand I’m a sucker for something that can be remembered, something to take home, and to live on inside the listener. Maybe I make a sort of indie techno pop? I always felt like I was more of a indie person who found himself in a club environment, so I guess that’s where I find myself, in between those two worlds.
There’s is lot’s of music on the horizon for 2021, so it’ll probably show what the sound is the best.
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Q. We know you from being half of the DJ duo ‘Tunnelvisons’. How has the switch from being in a DJ duo to a solo act been for you?
A. Well, with Tunnelvisions I learned to really enjoy music and have fun. Playing and making music together, the adventures on tour, the talks and times in the studio are things I enjoy a lot. But there came a point where I started to realise that next to having this time in the studio with Emiel, I was producing something totally different when I was producing music on my own. Over time I realised that I wanted to tell that story as well.
With Coloray I express myself differently than I would with Tunnelvisions. Tunnelvisions is very lighthearted and playful, while with Coloray I’m mostly focussed on a darker tone of music combined with my art and design. As a result I’ve been working on a virtual reality show, a live performance and a new album as Coloray. My goal is to design an immersive music experience that’s conceptual and feels like a movie. This is a huge undertaking which wouldn’t be possible without the pandemic happening.
Q. Has your way of working, producing, or DJ’ing changed due to the pandemic?
A. For sure. There’s no crowd to reflect on. Normally you make stuff in the studio, and then the weekend after you try it out while playing and see how the crowd reacts. This is a sort of feedback loop that has been broken, and I don’t think that’s necessarily bad, it's just different. In a way it enforced me in listening to what I want to make, with the work getting more personal. Not that I wasn’t already doing that, but for example, I finally decided to make conceptual music aside from doing club music. That was such an inspiration for me that it opened up a whole new door which ended up being the final thing my album needed. I miss people though. Music is a conversation between you and an audience, so I can’t wait to be able to play in front of people again.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from & how have you stimulated your creativity during this period?
A. I get a lot of my inspiration from listening to music outside of dance music, and making and looking at art. For some reason I have been making a huge collection of visual work from different artists around the world, and I have been doing that for the last 2 years. Whenever I feel uninspired I go to that folder and try to soak up all that inspiration. There’s a strong connection between the visual world, and the world of music and audio.
Also, I have these periods where I get heavily into one genre and explore that deeply. Currently it’s mostly shoegaze and post punk things, so that’s definitely inspiring me right now. I won’t lie, it’s hard to be inspired non stop at this time, sometimes it’s also good to just accept that.
I’ve also been really inspired by running my label Intercept and our artists. The goal of the label is to explore new boundaries of dance music and everyone is focused on making something that feels fresh and forward leaning. Since I’ve started the label two years ago I’ve gotten to know so many new production techniques and styles of music, it has been a lot of fun.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working on your music?
A. My girlfriend works as a chef and she’s amazing. Lately she has been teaching me to be a better cook. I also like working out, running, practicing yoga, meditating, anything to relax and stay sane during this period.
Q. What is the story behind the podcast, any tracks or parts of the mix you would like to highlight?
A. In the mix I try to summarize what I’d do if I would play at DGTL as Coloray. In around 70 minutes I’m taking the listener through some tracks I really like at the moment, and also show 2 new ones of mine. There’s a lot of different styles and influences, 80’s inspired italo / ebm, electro, breaks, catchy poppy tunes, emotional stuff, I hope you like it.