We kicked off blog proceedings this week with this mix from Oslo Records’ leading man Federico Molinari who was very forthcoming in lending us some prime beats as we gear up for the label’s Room Three takeover this Saturday. Joining him in there is Ray Okpara, a man who’s been integral to the label since day one as a long time friend and regular party compatriot. Okpara always seems ready to bring an openhearted love of all spectrums of sound into his take on house music, whether that’s through his beloved vinyl collection or through his deep and pumping live sets which, as if by fate, you can check out for yourself right here…
Please can you introduce yourself to our readers who may not already know you?
So, my name is Ray Okpara, I play house music – that’s deep, tech, percussive, disco, jackin, Chicago, minimal – for me it’s all house. I’ve always been into electronic music but I started off being into rap, hip hop, R&B, soul, funk, drum & bass and garage. I’m into it all basically.
Can you tell us about RAJO, your party how important was this to your career?
Yes it was, very much so. Johnny D and I created RAJo as Ray & Johnny that was our first party in 2000 in Mannheim after the 2nd or 3rd party Nick Curly joined the crew. We brought all the crews together in Mannheim from funk to rap, Drum & Bass they all came, because we knew how to party and at the same time we educated them in house music.
Any plans on making parties again, or are you going to stick to making beats?
RAJO was primarily operating from 2000-2006 but once in a while we still make a party. We missed our 10years anniversary though because we were all too busy but I think in 2012 we’re going to throw a party again. We’ll have to see but yeah, I’ll mostly be taking care of mixing beats and tracks for now.
Why is it that you choose do be a live performer? House music in particular has such a strong vinyl culture attached to it how do you see yourself fitting in in that respect?
I actually wanted to do a live set up to be able to do something other than a DJ set. They’re both really different and playing live requires a lot more thought but it’s a good platform to get across your music alone and your interpretation of music. Overall I won’t play so often because I really love DJing. I still play a lot of vinyl if it is even possible to – I know that most venues and sound systems are mainly set up for digital music. So I always have vinyl with me and CDs. It’s becoming less common but there are still a few who keep it alive.
How has your live set up changed over the years as technology’s evolved?
To be honest I try to keep it as simple as possible and my setup hasn’t changed much since I started playing live a couple of years ago. And I’m still learning.
How did you get linked up with Oslo Records?
Federico & Nekes are my very good friends. We’ve known each other for a long time so when they started Oslo I was pretty much already involved.
What would be your pick of record to introduce us to their sound?
Nekes - Sleepless Nights
And finally please can you tell us about this live set you've given to the blog? Where was it recorded and what memories do you have of the party?
It was recorded at Harry Klein in Munich at an Sslo night with Federico Molinari, Nekes & Ana. I’d come straight from Slovenia having played the night before in Ljubljana, I almost missed my flight to Munich because the afterhours was so much fun. When I arrived in Munich I went straight to bed after a quick sound check and got up at 3am and went straight to the club. All my friends and agent who were there were freaking out because they couldn’t get hold of me and thought I was going to miss the gig! I’ve never missed a gig ever so there was the potential for disaster. Thankfully, I was fresh as a daisy and it ended up being a great (and long) party.