Exclusive Interview with DJ Ravin
DJ Ravin was born in Mauritius, moved to India and then to Paris where he grew up. He was in London when he heard about Buddha Bar, knew Claude Challe (creator and DJ at Buddha Bar) and started DJing at Buddha Bar only 3 months after it opened in 1996. He still is a resident DJ there until the present day. Back then Claude Challe asked him to do a Mixtape, a compilation of music that should be played at Buddha Bar, by doing this the first Buddha Bar compilation was created.
Siam2nite had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with DJ Ravin, shortly before his performance at Sofitel SO Bangkok on 31st May, on the occasion of the launch of his new album "Urban by Nature - From Mauritius to Bangkok".
Congratulations to the Launch of your album "Urban by Nature". Please tell us something about the creation process of the album.
First of all i was invited to Sofitel Mauritius and then also Sofitel Bangkok. The concept of the album was Island meets Urban city, so the album fits perfectly for both. The music for the island is more aquatic, more loungy. The music for the urban city is more deep, a little bit jazzy and electro.
Buddha Bar is famous for it's compilations. Do you play exclusively lounge and chill-out music?
I don't only focus on lounge music, at Buddha Bar as it is a restaurant, the music is more loungy. But i also play in huge clubs, i was in Italy last week, with 3000 people, it was more clubbing stuff, more electro, progressive, house. I can switch to all kind of styles. Also the second CD of the newly released Buddha Bar compilation is more up tempo, so i also doing clubbing stuff, not only lounge stuff.
Please describe a moment where your new album is the perfect company.
When your relaxing, on an island, just listen and watch the sunset.
The Albums theme "When Bangkok Meets Mauritius" is exciting, as the two different locations are very different. Please tell us which things in your eyes, make the beauty of those both places.
Mauritius is all about the beach and the atmosphere, a place for relax and chill out, good food and great hospitality. Same for Bangkok, but Bangkok is a 24 hours city and the Sofitel Hotel here is very different, much more alive compared to Mauritius island. It's more quiet and peaceful in Mauritiues, Bangkok is much more alive.
You have travelled to Bangkok before. Please tell us something you especially like about Bangkok or Thailand in general?
Yes, it's not my first visit in Bangkok, i have been here 5 or 6 times. I've been around, i've been playing in different clubs before. I also seen Wat Pho and i been at some of the huge shopping malls. I like Thai Massage. I never had massages in Paris and here it's very good. It's quality and reliefs.
For people which are not yet familiar with Buddha Bar music, which songs or albums would you recommend them to listen to in order to get a feeling for what Buddha Bar is about?
They should start with "Buddha Bar 1", it's a journey of ethnic world music with electronic, and also "Buddha Bar 3" and "Siddharta: Spirit of Buddha Bar" which are different albums but still is also in the same style, ethnic world music mixed with electronic. They should listen to these albums first.
On fist May, the latest Buddha Bar album (number 14) was released, mixed by you. How is it to create a compilation for a series with 13 previous albums. Is it motivating or does it also put pressure on you?
No. It's a passion for me to compile these albums, because every time i do a Buddha Bar album it's a different story, a different theme. The theme of the this 14th album is Bollywood. The last one was about Prag, because we are opening a Buddha Bar in Budapest. I'm very happy to do it. It's not like a challenge, i like to do it. Sharing the music, choosing the right tracks, putting them together and having songs that have never been released/compiled before. As it is a big compilation, we always have to bring something new and fresh, which not has been released on other compilations. I think people wait for that and are happy to have those kind of compilation, because it's unique.
If it comes to Chill-Out and Lounge compilations, the most regarded are Buddha Bar and Café Del Mar. How would you describe the difference between the two series?
Cafe Del Mar is more for celebrations, they were very successful for sunset parties. The music is more balearic stuff, more flamencos, guitars, fits perfectly to mediterranean style. Buddha Bar is more world music. Besides that there is also the compilation series Hotel Costes, it's quite famous, it's more trip hop, jazzy. There are these 3 concepts, similar, but different style of music.
Where did the impulse to make music come from? Does anyone in your family play music?
Not specially, but i was involved in music since the beginning, since i was 15 years old. I was working in a record shop selling records, working in a radio station. I was always curious about all kind of music, hard rock, disco, punk, soul, everything. So selling records was a great experience to me, that's how i got in touch with all kinds of music.
You have a residency at Buddha Bar Paris. Please tell us something about the venue and the crowd in Paris.
I play there since the beginning in 1996 until now, between 12 and 15 days monthly. Buddha Bar Paris is a restaurant, a lounge, not a club. People come there to dine and have a drink on the mezzanine, have sushi. The atmosphere is very romantic, there is a big Buddha statue inside. In 1996 it was a totally new concept, back then it was a huge success, because it was something new, also a bit provocative, as nobody else was putting a Buddha - which is religious of course - inside a restaurant. The CDs are good advertisement for the place of course, so we have 80% to 90% foreigners, so the clients are different everyday. We don't have too much french and Paris clients, it's always changing. We play up-tempo grooves in Buddha Bar after midnight. We don't have a dance floor, but people dance there anyway when we move away the tables.
You travel a lot. Besides Paris, where you live, what places do you enjoy visiting the most? Do you have places that you would call your second home?
Difficult to say... it's Brasil. My wife is from Brazil. I love it there, it's very human. That's what i like.
If I had a look on your MP3 player now, what song would you not want me to discover?
Yeah, there is many... not only one. There is plenty of it...
Besides Paris, there are Buddha Bars in Beirut, Dubai, Jakarta, Kairo, Kiew, London, Prag und São Paulo. Of course every venue has its own charm, but which one(s) do you cherish and recommend especially?
Yes, there is a lot of licenses now, i have been at all of them. Next week i will go the brand new one in Manila, it just opened now. I will go there for the Launch of the Buddha Bar album. The one in Dubai and the one in Monaco is also very good. Jakarta also, London, and the one in New York.
On 7th June you will be playing in Bahrain and on 9th June in Doha. What will you do in the meantime? Do you have time to enjoy Thailand?
It's a very quick visit. Only for 2 days, i'm leaving tomorrow. Last year when i came to Bangkok, i stayed for one week.
Please tell us something about your year 2012, your highlights so far and an outlook on things you are planning or looking forward to.
What's coming next is my projects and albums, playing gigs in different cities, i love to share the music on the dance floor. And i'm looking forward to my own studio to produce tracks.