Premiere & In Conversation: RIDGE - Paradigm [PSU]
Updated: Jan 4
The Newcastle based producer RIDGE was followed in the digital realm by Bobo for a long time before starting to work together on what would become his first release. “Paradigm” is an eerie but hopeful electronic track with elements of IDM and Electro.
Hi Alex - for those reading who may not have heard of you before, tell us a bit about yourself?
So I started DJing in January 2018 and remained a ‘bedroom/house party DJ’ until a year later when I set up my own event series called ‘BLEND’ in my hometown of Teesside. Simultaneously to this occurring, by chance, I started getting gigs in Newcastle where I am a student. Following a natural progression of DJing at increasingly fun events I found myself moving up the bill to more sought after set times supporting a range of DJs from established names Big Miz and Derrick carter to up and coming acts like REES and Re:ni. I started producing at the start of lockdown having used Ablteon for a couple of weeks a year before that. I then released my first track ‘Torsades De Pointes’ in April, followed by ‘Hypoxic Drive’ in the same month and then ‘Mir’ in May. I feel that with each release there was a definite progression with my sound and the depth of atmosphere I instilled into the tracks. I got into DJing because I had been going to a lot of events since starting University and the energy of electronic music resonated with me so much that I just wanted to be able to put together the stuff I was hearing week in week out in my own way. I got into producing initially because I thought it was the next natural step for me after I had set up BLEND and that this was ‘the thing to be doing’. However, I soon found that having this mindset was not enough to produce meaningful memorable music. Unless I wanted to produce to channel my own creative ideas, I would never be able to make anything I was actually proud of and would listen to myself. I then didn’t even so much as open Ableton until Lockdown began where I found myself with so much free time with nothing else to do. Coincidentally I had a better idea of what I wanted my own sound to be and then set myself to getting the grips of production as well as learning some conventional music theory to ensure what I produced would be pleasurable for myself and others to listen to.
Who would you say are your biggest influences?
Particularly for my more recent releases such as Paradigm and Mir my major influences have been DJ Seinfeld, Leon Vynehall and obviously got to name drop the major players in complex synth rich soundscapes – Bicep.
Up until now all of your releases have been free downloads, is there a reason for this?
Mainly just as these were my first lot of releases so just want them to be circulated as widely as possible in the shortest amount of time. I guess it worked as now I’ve been picked up by Bobo for his new label – PSU.
How did your release on PSU come about?
I had been posting my music on ‘The Inner Circle’ facebook group and Bobo (the label boss) messaged me saying he liked the sounds I was putting out. A month later I was approached by Bobo and asked if I wanted to be a part of his project for his new label. I said Yes straight away and got to work on Paradigm.
You have found your own sound, using ethereal synths to create a smooth, ambient soundscape. Talk us through your production technique.
I Just Ableton. No Plug In’s. I create all my synth sounds on the analog and operator functions. I have had various pieces of hardware such as a Novation MIDI keyboard and a Roland TR-8S. However, I hardly ever used these and found they actually slowed down my workflow so sold them both. I work best and most efficiently when I’m just programming ‘In the box’ and clicking around with my mouse. Other than that I use Sennheiser HD-25 headphones both for DJing and Producing. I have two Adam Audio T5V monitors and run ableton on a 2016 Macbook Air.
What has been your favourite DJ set you have seen?
My favourite DJ set would either be Ben UFO at Cosmic Ballroom in 2019 or Peach at World Headquarters in 2020. Both sets had the 3am sweaty dancefloor vibe we all miss so much right now.
What’s keeping you sane during current life in quarantine?
Initially it was Production, but I must admit after spending 2 months straight working on this, I did fatigue a bit. More recently it has been getting out for long walks just because I get too much unburnt energy if I spend all day stuck in the house with nothing to do.
What do you do when you’re not producing music?
At the moment, nothing but studying, I’ve just gone into my last year at university and I’m back on placement so I've got a full timetable, at the time of this Interview actually have an exam in 3 weeks so I should probably get back to the revision lol…
Now for a few quick-fire questions...
What is your guilty pleasure tune?
Hmm, this is a hard one as there could be so many. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head is a solid pop tune though !
If you could only have 1 album to listen to for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Bonobo – Migration.
If you could put something in room 101, what would it be?
Controversial but Ketchup, me and my girlfriend disagree on this one a lot. I just don’t like the smell of it.
o Gestalt Records, Pacific Rhythm, Gunfinger Food, Paradiso Records, Holding Hands Records. Just to name a few.