rBeatz Exclusive Interview with Rony Rex
Helsinki DJ, Rony Rex, has been rising the ranks as a DJ headliner, touring from Tunisia to Thailand and England to Egypt on a regular basis. He never had to produce to get these headlining shows. His technical mixing abilities, song selection and humble prowess got him headlining. Last week, he released his debut EP, F*cked It Up, off the Youth Control label. He debuted his first single, Sticky Fingers, only two months ago, and it went straight to #1 on the iTunes Finnish Chart. Soon after that, the prolific DJ’s debut single hit #4 in the Spotify Viral Chart. Now notable DJs and tastemakers worldwide are waiting to hear what Rony Rex comes up with next.
Rony is everywhere. He runs his own radio show, Bassoradio, leads DJ workshops for RedBull, collaborates with Sennheiser to stream live DJ sets from unique places, and represents Finland’s leading music production company.
The most popular song on the EP is F*cked It Up, and It features the Finish electro-pop band LCMDF, who have worked with major labels like Sony and Kitsuné. The song has a bit more of an uplifting electro-house vibe than what Rony normally produces. It’s playful, nearing bubblegum-house with sharp lyrics, creating a silly yet hype vibe. This production also shows Rony’s versatility in the space. Rony is a GROOVE master, and this is obvious from his EP.
Take a listen Rony Rex’ entire new EP below, F*cked It Up, and read his interview below to get the FULL Rony Rex experience.
Where does the name Rony Rex come from?
My first name is Rony and for the second part I owe much to my good friend Nicolas who helped come up with it when we were sitting in his car in rainy Helsinki around 5am with 3 hours to a deadline to publish a festival gig we had booked with a new alias. I like it since it sounds fun and means all kinds of cool things such as “king” in Latin. Plus, it’s the best dog name ever.
Where are you from and how has that shaped the musician you are today?
I’m from Espoo, Finland which is just next to Helsinki. Classic suburban life. When I was a kid I remember always feeling music a lot but not really playing any instruments. When we got our first family computer, I pretty much made it my own and hid it in my room, searching Napster (good old) for all kinds of music. Remember when people used to rename their songs as “50 cent – In Da Club” to make people download? That’s how I first discovered loads of new music and genres.
Later as a teen I started hosting these house parties at my parents place. I used to DJ together with friends and we even had bands playing in the living room. The parties grew quite big, still get shivers when thinking about the moments when I got caught by my folks. Those were my first steps into the magical world of DJing. I moved on to promote my own clubs and then started to get bookings around Finland and Europe. Even though I’ve been making music for years now I still (and probably always will) consider myself more a DJ than producer or musician.
What instruments did you play when you were younger?
I spent most of my time playing around with a cracked version of Virtual DJ running on an old Windows 98 desktop trying to make all kinds of devices work as midi controllers.
Is there an instrument that you currently wish you COULD play?
Recently I performed together with musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments (don’t ask). Can’t remember what one of the instruments was called but it made a super funny noise like a vacuum cleaner on acid under water. That one.
Tell us the story of how you started creating music on your computer?
The usual one. Got the eJay demo CD in a cereal box and got on with it.
What was your favorite studio moment when producing your newest EP, F*cked It Up EP?
The dance that spontaneously happened in a studio in Berlin together with LCMDF and my friend Perttu when we had just finished recording the first version of the lead track, F*cked It Up. That’d make a solid music video.
What festival are you looking forward to the most this year?
Weekend Festival in Helsinki. It’s been a thrill seeing it grow from humble beginnings into one of the biggest in the Nordics. They have a new stage called focused on House and Techno which I can’t wait to play.
What do you like to do when you’re simply hanging out – aside from music?
I love getting out into nature when I can, run, do body-weight exercises and just wander around breathing. Balances the hectic lifestyle. Gaming is big for me too, when there’s time. Classics especially, challenge me for a round of Age Of Empires 2 anytime.
Who are your musical influences?
In no particular order of any deeper meaning; Daft Punk, Justice, The Prodigy, Boys Noize, Sub Focus, Diplo, Fatboy Slim, Bart B More, Jack Beats, AC Slater, Alex Metric, Laidback Luke & Mr. Oizo.
What DAW do you use and why?
Ableton Live because it is flexible and suits my workflow.
Do you have a typical music production process? If yes, can you explain it?
It could come from anything but often I just start making a loop for around an hour and see if it still feels good, if it has gathered colour in itself. If so, I start thinking where that colour needs to go and moving it that way. What is the story it will play on the dance floor? I use the DJ’s perspective a lot in the creation process.
What is your favorite MIDI Controller or instrument to produce with right now?
The Akai MPK mini Mk2. Fits in the gig bag.
What is one of your favorite or go-to VST Plugin?
Massive. It’s getting kind of ancient but once you learn something it’s easier to get what I want. Rather that than having 1000 plugins I never touch.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Successfully played a gig in the world’s largest sauna with around 200 people dancing in around 80 degrees Celsius heat and the CDJ’s and mixer covered in water and sweat.
What are some of your favorite venues to play and why?
All venues with a good sound where I can get close and intimate with the crowd without any extra bs. Interaction and dancing together with the people is big for me.
What are some of your favorite countries to play and why?
I’ve been playing in Croatia for like 4 years now every season. Love what’s going on there. Such good parties on the Islands.
What is your favorite color?
What food do you eat the most?
There’s this one perfect Thai restaurant quite close to my house. It’s so weird, I have never been in there but always order in. Basically live on that.
Do you have a favorite in-studio snack
Smoothies. The greener the better.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Facebook because of its solid live streaming tools.
What is next for Rony Rex?
I’ve got a good bunch of tracks waiting to see the sun and a remix EP of F*cked It Up coming out in early August.