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Uniting as ONE Part 1 of 2 – Rani "g"

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on May 29, 2008

House heads of the global soul variety won’t want to miss the return of ONE, Phoenix’s premier destination for a hybrid of world and house music, at the Ruby Room, 717 S. Central Ave. The event, which takes place on Friday, May 30, will be headlined by two men who are passionate about music and have amazing skills on the ones and twos. Check out this two-part feature, with insight from Rani “g” (part 1) and Boddhi Satva (part 2).

THAT’S MY JAM: What was it about DJing that attracted you to the art?

RANI “G”: I’ve been attracted and fascinated with music since I was a toddler. Growing up I would listen to various radio stations that hosted shows with different DJs. If I remember correctly those DJs were mostly radio disc jockeys that weren’t exactly beat matching, but rather just playing songs from start to finish and so forth. Slowly I became curious about blending music and would try to do it at home or school dances with cassette tape decks first and later with regular, non-professional CD players! At times I would get lucky and get songs that were the same speed and I would let them play together until I heard the clash. Having no previous experience about what we now call “train wrecks,” I knew something wasn’t right. I was surrounded by diversity since birth and growing up on the island of Cyprus has played an integral role. I started going to clubs at the age of 15 and that’s where I got exposed to proper mixing/beat matching. I have a lot more to talk about, but for the sake of keeping this short, I will say that as of right now I am really attracted to the art of DJing because I love the feeling of blending and uniting two songs! It’s a beautiful thing when you have two songs playing together, it’s unlike any other feeling in the world, especially if it’s two songs that complement each other and then, on top of that, you do your own live manipulations, whether it’s juggling beats, Eqing, etc. One saying I’ve coined for this specific moment is “make music with the music” (that you’re mixing).

Who were some of your early influences and who influences you now?
I started out playing underground rap, hip-hop and reggae, as well as R&B and later house, UK underground speed and two-step garage. My main influences while I was in Cyprus DJ wise were: Dinos Assiotis (my mentor and the person who taught me how to use professional CDJs, Technics turntables and mixers); Judge Jules, a graduate of the world-renowned London School of Economics, mainly because he proved that DJing is a viable profession and that one can make decent living with it, as he was able to quit the lawyer business and sustain himself by DJing, and later production. Finally, one of my main early DJ influences, and I remember his mixes and seeing him live in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, avidly, is the “multi-award-winning underground UK garage DJ,” DJ EZ. He had an impeccable style of flawlessly blending two records and making music with his mixing technique. Not only did it please the crowd, but also added so much more to the experience of witnessing him perform. I started to mimic him and to this day, you will find me doing it at the right place and time. When I get the right flow or rhythm it reminds me why I love music and blending music. It’s absolutely enthralling. Some of my main DJ influences now are Joe Claussell, “Little” Louie Vega and Karizma.

Coming from Cyprus, do you think this has made your approach to music more worldly?
Definitely, since I was born in Cyprus and grew up there, that’s where it all began! On top of that, my diverse background has opened my eyes to many other forms of music from around the world, especially Arabic, African and Latin Music. I have been fortunate to have traveled the Middle East, Europe and Africa for education, culture and leisure purposes. My parents are also Jordanian, making Arabic my mother tongue, so I was exposed to a lot of music from around the area. I like to look at it like this: my approach to life from a young age has been worldly in that I was surrounded by people from all walks of life and from different cultures. My high school was comprised of students from 30 different countries, so that really helped in exposing me and teaching about different cultures, etiquettes and, of course, music. The main benefit out of all this though, is the love and knack I have spawned for networking and meeting new people.

What type of music are you currently listening to and does it affect what you spin?
Lately, I try my best to listen to a wide variety of music! I mostly listen to global, soul, deep, Afro and Latin-infused house, but I also aim to seek and explore more and more world music. First and foremost I am open to almost anything that is creative, and more importantly, it has to touch the soul and that’s why I also do my best to keep up with the Emperor of Afro-Soul, Boddhi Satva. He’s got so much music under his sleeve that he keeps surprising me with, it’s never-ending. Truly remarkable!

What do you think of the current state of dance music, the people playing it and the people who dance/listen to it?
Dance music has surely evolved, but the term is slightly vague because there are a myriad of genres that fall under the “dance music” category. I really don’t feel most dance music, especially the mainstream/commercial stuff that has no heart or soul to it. Having said that, it’s also important to mention that it is essential to correct those who think that ALL house or global soul music or dance music is “techno.” Usually it’s because one can’t tell the difference, they hear a pulsating beat and their mind is made up. My main concern though is the lack of support real house music and global soul gets from the media, especially radio support. That makes it hard for these quality productions to permeate the airwaves, thus not getting the widespread attention needed. Furthermore, younger teens are not getting the much deserved opportunity of being exposed to global soul and house music, so we have to try our best to find an effective method to involve and educate what could be our future producers and musicians with diverse and soul-moving, good-sounding music.

Where would you like to see yourself in 1, 5, 10 years? What would you like to be known for/as?
1 year: more steady gigs and residencies locally, as well as starting to get my fingers wet with music production.
5 years: residencies, locally, nationally and internationally, and have produced some chart-topping global soul tunes.
10 years: more residencies, productions and owning a unique club.

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