EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With Chris Ramos
Calling Chris Ramos a hidden gem in the EDM game would be the understatement of the year. This Toronto-based DJ/producer/remix artist has made quite a name for himself on the Toronto club scene, but after listening to his work, I find myself wondering why this guy hasn’t blown up to international notoriety. Even the most casual electronic music fan could get into these tracks. Ramos’ less-is-more, melody-focused approached makes for a very tight, fun sound that just pops off the speakers. We at The Top Sound truly believe that Ramos is destined for world domination.
So, as it is our job to find the next big artist and hopefully push their career in the right direction, we had to learn more about Chris.In speaking with him, we learned that Ramos was born and raised in Toronto alongside a younger sister who he is incessantly teasing (though he likes to call it brotherly love). When Ramos’ isn’t busy in the studio or DJing parties, he finds joy spending time with his friends and family. A very active guy, he takes pleasure in bike riding in the summer, martial arts (he’s a black belt in TaeKwonDo though he hasn’t stepped foot in a dojo in years), and travelling the globe. He’s also an adrenaline junkie of sorts who hopes to live life to the fullest, trying a lot of things like sky diving and stunt driving along the way.
We also spoke with Chris, hoping to get a sense of the state of his career, as well as where he sees it going in the future. Let’s just say it only strengthened our lofty expectations for his stardom.
D.Rob: So, you’re a classically trained pianist. I always wonder how musicians of your training end up going the EDM route. What drew you to the genre?
Ramos: Well when I was young I used to hear dance/trance/euro music here and there. I was immediately drawn to the genre and started listening to it more and more. The catchy vocal melodies and enchanting chord progressions, I was hooked. Tiesto was definitely my favourite at the time. Once I got the Yamaha Motif at age 12, I began experimenting with the sequencer and taught myself how to build a song. From there songwriting came into play, then a computer to put everything down on. It was very authentic in the way I grew into production and it always felt right. The EDM scene was also very intriguing and I went to all ages events at a young age. Going to The Guvernment or Circa, the vibe was always amazing and I believed that one day I would be playing those kind of shows. By the time I was 16, I read a quote that I will never forget and it inspired me to take this career seriously:
“Follow your bliss, and doors will be open where there were no doors before” – Joseph Campbell.
D.Rob: How would you define your “sound”? I’ve read that your biggest influences include David Guetta, Tiesto, Avicii, and Adam K. What have you learned from them?
Ramos: I personally love every genre in the EDM world and take inspiration from everywhere and everything I see, hear and feel. For my sound, I’d say it is melodically driven progressive house. I love having a catchy melody with epic chord progressions, using my classical training to its fullest. My goal is to make beautiful music with an edge that everyone can enjoy and relate to, even non-house music listeners. I’d include Kaskade and Dirty South in the list you mentioned since I’ve been listening to them for many years as well. All these artists have influenced me in so many ways, from their unique song structures to showing that beautiful music can be made in the EDM world and be recognized. Their success drives me to work towards being up in the top with them.
D.Rob: We’re in love with your new remix of Gabrielle Aplin’s “Home”. It’s an interesting and refreshing song choice. What made you choose this song / where did you first hear it? What was your method in writing this song?
Ramos: I was honestly browsing through YouTube when I came across Gabrielle’s work. Her voice is really enchanting and I immediately had to do something with it, even if it had to be a bootleg with the original track in the background.
At first, I just started playing on the piano along with it. I always have my piano ready just incase some inspiration comes up. I was immediately inspired to load up Cubase and lay down chord progressions, keeping it plucky but not typical with the usual heavy delays on that sound. I then added some drums to get into the groove, and then the melody really just fell into my lap. It’s hard to explain how it comes, it’s usually very natural and I go with how I feel on almost everything. I knew the drop had to be epic, something different for the simple verses to build to. I added a bass sound I liked, played with the portamento, and laid down the baseline that really took the song to a whole other level. Once the structure was laid out I finished up all the details and engineered/mastered the song to the finished product.
D.Rob: You’ve already come a long way at the young age of 21. Your track “Celebration”, featuring Nahrin David, ended up on Toronto’s Z103.5 Summer Rush alongside tracks from Afrojack, Tiesto, and Kaskade. You’ve supported two of our favorites, Porter Robinson and Madeon. Do you consider your career a success thus far? At what point will you feel satisfied accomplished?
Ramos: I’ve come a long way from the start for sure, but it’s only the beginning of where I hope to be. I’ll consider myself successful when I am rich in happiness and can do the things that I want when I want. Playing shows for thousands of people, making music for millions. I hope to become a positive voice for EDM music and show that beautiful music can be made in the EDM scene.
I wouldn’t put satisfied and accomplished together however, because as much as I hope to feel accomplished I hope to never feel fully satisfied. I believe that would mean the end of having something to look forward to, and being a passionate and driven person I don’t see that ever happening until I’m dead haha!
D.Rob: That being said, five years from now, where would you like your career to be, and what steps are you taking to get there?
Ramos: My goals are very straight forward: continue making music, continue playing shows, build my brand and expand. I hope to release a number of remixes, originals and mashups within the next year and build my name and reach throughout the world. Through working with my management team together with various labels I hope to start playing outside of Canada and begin playing festivals. Within the next 5 years I hope to have the opportunity to play a world renowned event such as Electric Zoo, WEMF, Sensation, ULTRA and/or Tomorrowland.
D.Rob: Any last words? Message to our readers? Plugs?
Ramos: Follow me on facebook and twitter to keep updated with upcoming songs and shows. I currently play once a month at The Hoxton in Toronto so make sure to come out if you’re ever in town! Keep an eye out for my next official release in May/June. And thank you to everyone for the support thus far.
A special thanks to Chris for taking the time to carry out this interview! And best of luck!
Be sure to like Chris Ramos on Facebook and follow him on Twitter!
And enjoy these Ramos tracks, some of which are accompanied by free downloads.