An interview with Jesper Ryom

A few years ago a Danish friend of mine gave me the second volume of a compilation series called Sound of Copenhagen. I had a listen, and then went and bought the first. Since then they have produced a further 5 compilations, each packed with a wealth of fantastic songs, from an eclectic mix of luminary artists; Trentemoller, Blondie, Kasper Bjorke, Lulu Rouge, Kolsch and … Jesper Ryom.

Jesper Ryom’s debut release “Luna” featured on Volume 5 of Sound of Copenhagen … From the first listen I was enchanted, I immediately went on the hunt for more material but was quickly disappointed, as there was no more to be found.

Nevertheless Mr Ryom was now on my radar so I kept looking. About 8 months ago, Power Plant records uploaded Jesper’s debut EP … and it didn’t disappoint, listening to Nature Boy for the first time was like immersing myself in a hot bath after a long day. Soothing but stimulating, it was (in my opinion) the best production of 2011.

At that time I didn’t own a vinyl player… yet I was so obsessed by this EP. I bought the vinyl only release pre-sale from Decks.de for the ridiculous price of £26 (worth every penny!) As I write this introduction Nature Boy is playing at full volume. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Jesper Ryom.

A quick glance around the Internet throws up very little information about you, so let’s start from the beginning. How old are you?

I am 23 years old.

What’s your musical background?

I played guitar when I was younger, but I could never find the motivation to practice enough so, I never got really good at it…

Where do you live at the moment?

I live in Copenhagen.

I visited Copenhagen a few years ago for a long weekend and loved how quiet, clean and friendly it is… I also attended Sensation White which showed me that you guys really know how to party… what do you think of the clubbing scene in Copenhagen?

I think it is fairly varied and that the quality is very high at the good clubs, with great bookings often. However, there are only a few places that really influence the electronic scene in Copenhagen. One of my own favorite clubs in the city, Dunkel, is threatened by closing – that has reminded me that the scene is still fragile in a way. If Dunkel shuts down, it’s really going to be felt.

When did you discover Electronic music?

I guess my interest started when I was in high school – I had never really taken electronic music that seriously until a friend introduced me to Danish Electronica. I really got blown away by the richness and melancholy of that sound.. When I began playing around with electronic music myself, for a long time I tried to copy that sound – but I was much better at making Hip Hop beats I think, and by that time my interest in Hip Hop and Trip Hop was a larger influence for me… My interest for House and Techno music came about 1-2 years after high school, and I think I’m still exploring that sound.

If you were to liken your musical style to another producer/ other producers who would it/they be?

Some of the artists I find really appealing on the House scene right now are Nebraska, Axel Boman, Trickski and Hemmann (to name a few.) I think Copenhagen has an amazing scene with some very talented artists. I find it very inspiring. But I think my biggest source of inspiration comes from the genres I listen to the most; Trip Hop, Jazz and Reggae from the 70’s.

I first heard you on Sound of Copenhagen Vol. 5, how did it feel to have Luna released through such a distinguished compilation?

That was of course a very big honor for me. I felt very priviliged when I got the offer to be released on such a well-esteemed compilation, and I think that was the best debut that I could have asked for.

What is your thought process when you begin a production and what setup do you use?

I use a pretty simple setup – most of the time I only use my laptop and a pair of headphones, since I work fastest that way, and I’m not good at sitting for longer periods at my desk where my monitors are. Most of the time I have no predetermined direction when I begin a track – usually I start with a short looped sample of some kind and then I build layers on top of that loop. I think this is the most fun and interesting process, whereas arranging the song can seem more like a chore sometimes.

How did you end up signed to Power Plant records?

A friend introduced me to Sanna (La Fleur) who owns the label, and she liked my stuff. I began sending her tracks, and we soon settled on the two tracks that we both liked the most

Who made the decision to not release your Nature Boy EP digitally?

Well, that has been a starting principle of the label, so I knew that my release would be vinyl only as well. I think it has been a good way to do a debut EP, since I like the thought of people getting the record in physical form. Also, I really loved the artwork, and felt like it came to its own right in this way. I would love to release digitally soon though, so hopefully that will be possible.

You said you would love to release digitally soon. Are you worried about the piracy of your music?

No, not really. I think that with the web and digital media, piracy is impossible to prevent. I would prefer if people who liked my music and wanted to own it, would buy it … but in the end, the most important thing is that people listen to it. Besides, streaming services like Spotify are becoming more and more popular, and I think that when it becomes easier to listen to music legally than to download it illegally, things will change.

Did you toy with the idea of using any other DJ/ artist names, before settling on your own?

Yes, I thought about some different monikers, but I always ended up finding them kind of pretentious or clichéd somehow. It just seemed more natural to use my real name.

How would you describe your music to a deaf person?

Emotional and energetic, but in a laid back sense!

What are your plans as a producer for 2012… do you have any new tunes due for release?

I am working on a new EP and I have a few new remixes coming out. But the last half year has been pretty dull production-wise, so I plan on doing a lot more from now on!

If you were offered the chance to perform a prime time slot at any festival, what would it be and why?

That’s a tough one. I went to Melt! festival 2011 and I think that must be a fantastic place to perform. Great atmosphere and enthusiasm. More specifically I would love to play an early morning set at the Sleepless Stage at the festival.

That would be magical. Do you travel? If so, what is your favourite country?

Not that often no. But, I recently went to Thailand with my girlfriend and oh boy – I would go back there anytime. Such friendly people and beautiful nature… And hot as hell compared to Denmark.

If you could travel through time, which historical event would you visit?

My imagination fails me on this one 🙂

The year is 2013, a series of apocalyptic events at the end of 2012 have decimated the worlds population and driven the survivors underground… spirits are low and depression is kicking in… what 5 albums do you play to cheer everyone up?

Something sunny and uplifting without being annoyingly positive: