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A Dirty Dozen with RATINOFF – July 2021

| 22 July 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “The first single from his upcoming album LET IT OUT (due out Fall 2021 through CEN / The Orchard), “Light Me Up” taps into the music that Ratinoff absorbed as a child.  Inspired by the likes of Joy Division, The Cure and Depeche Mode, the propulsive track bottles up the “eff you” attitude he was directing at his neighbors and infuses it with driving bass and drums, and sinewy synth and guitar lines that highlight his rich baritone. “The song to me is almost like an Anthem of Liberation,” he laughs. Once a budding Latin pop star with acting credits to his name, Ratinoff made waves with a pair of explosive singles which amassed over half a million YouTube views, but it wasn’t what he wanted to be. Feeding his musical hunger with late 80s and 90s alternative, he wrote Let It Out with his own head and heart in mind and created the album he always dreamed of making.” We get Ratinoff himself to discuss new music, influences, and more…

Photo credit: Jen Rosenstein

1. Tell us a little about your upcoming release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

That is a great question… It makes me think of my first experience when I listened to the album Disintegration by The Cure. I remember I used to be obsessed with a track called “Last Dance.” Eventually, I started listening to the whole thing from the beginning to end. The first track called “Plainsong” eventually became my anthem. I feel as in with any album you listen to, when it grabs you, you want to listen over and over again. I’ve had that experience even with my own album. I also feel that the album takes a life of its own, as you listen to it. And this album will definitely get better and better as you listen to it. I’m very hooked on it, I might say.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was always drawn to music and melody making. The first song I came up with, I was 5 years old, and it was called “Banana Shake.” My family still remembers it till this day. As time went on, I started to realize that I wanted to write songs most of the time. Eventually, I would want to perform them, and then I thought that the idea of recording an album with my own songs would be great. And it was.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

A moment that was crucial for me, was when I went to see Depeche Mode in 1998. I was 15 years old, and I remember just absorbing the whole show. I knew every song by heart, and from that moment on, I knew I wanted to be on stage.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

That is an easy answer…ha! Peter Hook from Joy Division. I got into Joy Division later in my life. I had an opportunity to see him live, with his band The Light, and immediately got obsessed with his style. I have to say that I like Peter Hook and The Light more than I like Joy Division, or New Order.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I usually like to just be in a quiet room, and probably just look at videos on YouTube, or just lay down and dabble with my phone. But when I have some energy to blow off, I like going to the gym and riding the bicycle and watching videos as well.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

My music I feel has always been a hybrid, of all the genres I grew up listening to, and the new singers I got in to over the years… Getting into what I listened to when growing up, can be quite boring, I think to the listener. I’d much rather just let people listen to it and see what they feel. Bottom line is made to bring joy to people. Funny enough, I’ve never had people compare my music with an artist. I’ve had the absolute opposite. I’ve had some people in the business tell me similarities with bands that I’ve never even heard of, which is quite bizarre. I can’t tell you which one, but I can remember me reading and thinking “What is that band?” It’s been very strange, but in a good way.

Photo credit: Jen Rosenstein

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When the band is hanging out, its usually for dinner, and we always go out. I am always usually the one clocking out early.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Peter Hook all the way… haha! His book signing. I was jumping all over the place after I took a picture with him, and he signed my book.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is writing the songs and making my own demos. The rush of having the feeling that there is a new song coming out of you, is amazing. I have my home studio, so making your own version of a song you created is great. I can’t imagine doing something that is not music related…Maybe doing voiceovers for cartoons would be fun.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I can’t think of a question. How would you describe your music?

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

The classic answer to that, is that it all happens for a reason. However, I wish I wouldn’t have gotten involved with most of the people I worked with in the past. But then I realize that all those got me to work with the people I am working with now. All those people were just a bunch of thorns I had to cross in order for me to be able to work with CEN/The Orchard. So to all those ‘’thorns’’ out there, thanks for making me bleed, but I healed. And now I am with CEN! In your face!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would have loved to have seen the creative process of Achtung Baby. It’s my favorite U2 album. I love the struggle behind it, and just knowing that the band was about to implode in the making of that album, it would have been great to see how they came out strong thanks to the song “One.” I love that album.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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