Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: COLORAY

The Berlin DJ, producer and 3D graphic designer talks us through his new track, an ode to the collective joy of clubbing.

Coloray

Photography by Angelina Nikolayeva

Coloray
Photography by Angelina Nikolayeva

The covid-induced isolation much of the world was plunged into over the past few years saw us longing for a myriad of experiences we previously took for granted. One absence most keenly felt, was the rapturous and affirming trips to the club we previously used to punctuate the humdrum of weekly life. For Coloray, a club kid and latterly facilitator of such moments as a DJ, “Blinded” is his triumphant leap back to his nighttime haven, and the extension of his hand pulling us along with him.

It also sees Coloray somewhat personally restored after the Berlin-based artist struggled when the community clubbing provided was ripped away at a moment’s notice back in 2020. Also a member of prominent dance duo Tunnelvisions, “Blinded” is Coloray’s synth-powered, luminous pocket of summer, ideal for the ample raving opportunities the season’s festivals also bring.

His first release on iconic Amsterdam festival DGTL’s label, Coloray also drapes vocal contributions on the 80s-powered track, which draws straight from the canon of the era’s most iconic musical pioneers that dominate his own musical consumption.

Upon the release of “Blinded”, we caught up with the artist about the return to clubs, becoming Coloray, and what the rest of the year has in store. Head below to enjoy the interview and click here to discover more…

Hey Coloray, where are we speaking to you from right now?
Heya! I’m currently en route to Munich from Berlin for a show, and then flying to Cannes the day after. Life is good!

First of all, what inspired your name? Is there a story behind it?
I studied design, and already through my studies, I’ve noticed that colours, mainly the way we use them and the association attached to them really means a lot to me. Colours have a weird effect on people’s minds, and in every culture, every person has a different way of reacting to the same colour. We all see the world differently because of this, and there is no one reality, at least not one objective one. The name stems from me seeing music the same as how I look at design. Every sound evokes a certain emotion, just like colours would for me. When I’m playing or producing, it feels like I’m painting with those colours and I’m not limiting myself to one specific colour as well. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word colour before as much as I just have, but there we go, that’s where my name came from!

What is your earliest memory of music? Did you always know this was something you wanted to pursue?
For me, music always was sort of there. Before I was able to pick up an instrument or produce with a computer, I was singing, and before I could sing, I was using the carton milk boxes at home as a make-shift drum kit. I think one of my earliest memories was of my music teacher at school saying I could sing very well, and I enjoyed singing. It was as if the music was always something I naturally gravitated to, but I never saw it as something I could pursue. That’s why I ended up studying design. If you feel that music is just so normal, and always there, it doesn’t feel like you’re starting a career path or anything in it, it’s just a passion. Later I found out that I could actually pursue it as a career and then I was sold. I quit my job at 21, struggled for a couple of years but kept at it. I still love doing it to bits.

And let’s talk about “Blinded”! When were you first inspired to write this track? Was there an event or a particular person that inspired it?
The pandemic was quite a weird period. I made heaps of music, but I felt like I had no direction and was lost. I moved to Berlin with my partner and decided I had to start afresh. Not in life, but primarily creatively. Who am I in music and what do I want to say? I didn’t have a studio or a space to be creative in, so I knew that I had to develop ideas on the fly and in studios from friends. I rented a studio for a day and that’s when DGTL asked me to write a song for their festival. It would be the first festival where everybody was together again. I think that moment of everything reopening is such a cultural event that I wanted to make something to commemorate that. Welcome back was just a simple slogan to hook people in the track, but I wanted to add some layers to that phrase. Could I write something that would work on different levels? Maybe it was a “welcome back” greeting to myself, the writing of the track marking the moment I found myself again. Or maybe the “welcome back” was meant for society as a whole, not only the festival. The lyric “I’ve been trying hard to see you in the light / so blinded by the absence of the night” is therefore twofold, it’s as much for me as it is for partygoers who didn’t have to chance to go out the last two and a half years.

And, I know that the track is laced with 80s sensibilities! Do you have a favourite 80s artist, maybe one that you looked to when creating the song?
There’s always a red line of old-head, boomer music running through my veins. I love it. My biggest inspiration songwriting-wise will always be Talking Heads, but musicians from that era, in general, seem to work in different ways. Lots of lyrics, vocalists and artists that seemed to have been older got the spotlight as well, and mainly the themes and way of telling those were all very much layered. There were not so many songs about watermelons and cappuccinos in that time. But I do like how simple some stuff nowadays is, it makes it anti-elitist in a way too. So I guess this song is a combination of those two worlds. Trying to bring depth to simple messages.

C

Photography by Angelina Nikolayeva

C
Photography by Angelina Nikolayeva

Is there a key message you want listeners to take away after their first listen?

You’re loved.

You mention that it is an ode to the return of nightlife after the pandemic! Firstly, how was your experience in the pandemic?
It was alright, I had a lot of time to mainly get better at making music, and I had time to develop my skills further. I launched an album with a VR world combined called Future Static which I needed to get out of my system. And also I had a lot of time to start my own label called Intercept. Emotionally though, it was quite hard, but I guess it was for a lot of people.

Where was the first place you partied after the pandemic ended?
Berghain was one of the firsts. Panorama bar is a special place.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we couldn’t find on a press release!
Most DJ booths are too low for me since I’m 6ft 5. If you book me, dig a hole in the ground for me to stand in.

Aside from what we’ve touched on today, what else are you excited about this year?

Playing live! It has become my biggest passion. I’ve only DJ’ed until a year ago, but I’ve noticed that playing live is a new chapter in my life and I’m enjoying it fully. I’m playing Lowlands in the Netherlands this year and making my debut in a very special Berlin club as a DJ.

NEW NOISE: COLORAY

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