“I wake up everyday, do a meditation, take a cold shower, have a coffee, and play piano for 30 minutes. I do this literally every day, seven days a week (yes, that’s hard on the hungover days), and it has been paying off since I've never had any lack of energy or ideas for my music.”
For anyone familiar with the music of Rose Ringed, it is easy to understand how his morning routine has helped push his music into the hands of some of the most notable tastemakers in the dance world. The Dutch producer utilizes analog and digital sounds, calling upon his extensive collection of synths to create a diverse range of music, including melodic techno, house, and synthpop.
“I gravitate between an external perspective of concepts that fascinate me, and an internal perspective mostly about deep inner emotions.”
The Amsterdam native has gained notoriety since his debut release in 2018 was featured by Kölsch during his BBC Radio 1 Residency. The unique blend of upbeat, dance-heavy tracks that also manage to incorporate complex melodic elements makes the music of Rose Ringed truly unique. Artists like Solomon, Blond:ish, and Joris Voorn are just a few of his supporters.
With a background in live instruments, producing synth-heavy, melody-influenced dance music is a natural fit for the uber-talented artist. An ex-jazz pianist, Rose was born to a music-loving father and a jazz ballerina mother during the early trance rave era of the '90s. Rose’s mother raised him on a steady diet of jazz music. At the same time, his father regularly played early dance music and rock, giving him a CD of Queen’s greatest hits, which heavily influenced his musical proclivities.
“That song [‘Bohemian Rhapsody’] used to be such a big influence when I was really young," he says. "So much happens in that track, I can just hear it all in my head.”
Growing up on deeply complex music, such as Queen’s discography, explains why Rose Ringed produces the way he does. Although dance music’s simplicity and repetition can often feel “safe,” Rose Ringed’s productions are immensely layered and emotional. The more he listened to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the more he realized how much was going on in the track. Internalizing this, Rose has often found the need to take a step back when producing to ask himself if he’s doing too much or not doing enough.
“I always start from harmonies and melodies. That’s my core, for every song," he says. "Chord progression as well. From that, I just write down ideas. Sometimes for me as an artist, the biggest thing that I’ve learned and still have a hard time doing is killing your darlings. To a lot of artists, it’s the biggest thing you have to learn how to do. You have to know which elements are most important and make the track around that and not put every idea into one track. At the same time, I like to break the rules. So as long as you feel the track [emotionally] and it has a message in there, it’s okay… I never tried to rationalize making something complex or difficult, it’s just what happens sometimes.”
For Rose Ringed, producing music is a genuine journey. A producer so focused on layers, analog sounds, and creating live with synths, he often finds himself falling in love with each aspect of his tracks as they are born from his fingertips. Becoming a master producer means understanding that not everything you love makes sense on the same project. Putting hours into each element does not mean they are all useful—a lesson Rose is learning over time.
As with many DJs, his proper introduction to house music came after nights out at the clubs as a teenager. “When I started university, I went to my first festival. That’s when I encountered dance music," he says. "Around age 20 I went on a ski trip with some friends and one guy brought a DJ setup. I found it pretty easy to learn and he told me that because I played the drums I would probably have an easy time with it. That gave me a little bit of confidence and I quickly bought a DJ set, then a vinyl player to mix vinyl. I slowly shifted to producing music and just completely fell in love with it.”
Although Rose Ringed received support from Kölsch on his debut release in 2018, he was humble and smart enough to know that this did not mean he had made it. Although it would be easy to view this as a massive career milestone, the reality is that support from a prominent artist on one track can only last so long. That being said, the moment motivated Rose to continue striving towards making music a full-time career.
“If I’m right now able to make something that [Kölsch] thinks is good enough to play, then I am onto something," he says. "You have to get a little bit nudged into your confidence.”
Despite early success and momentum, like artists worldwide, Rose’s reluctantly put the performance side of his career on hold during the pandemic. He used this time to bunker down in the studio and ask important questions about what kind of artist he wanted to become. Given the type of music he creates, it only makes sense that a crucial element of creation for Rose is the concept of storytelling. While this can feel like a generic sentiment, each song produced by Rose truly has a narrative, often bred at the very outset of its production. When starting a project, Rose has to save the file on his computer. To save a file, you need a name. If the track is meant to be, the name will come easily. Often, Rose cannot conceptualize a name and therefore understand where the project will go and what story it will tell. In these cases, it is time to start over.
“I start by taking my MIDI controllers and making live arrangements. By arranging live you get the most natural way of telling a story, instead of clicking your arrangement you find a natural flow by launching elements and tweaking filters. With tracks like this, there’s a story behind it and I become increasingly inspired throughout the process… when there is no story behind it, it’s just a chill beat and I can’t finish it.”
To have such a complex creative process ultimately means that completing a track can be a lengthy ordeal. But just finishing the production side does not mean the life of the track is over. The next step is, of course, releasing it. The process of finding a label can be brutal, even for established artists. Sending out demos and being rejected, even if the music is great, is disheartening. Additionally, it can often feel like the artist forces themself into fitting the box of a specific label’s sound.
Rose has decided to release all of his music independently. It’s risky but has ultimately paid off for the young artist. He has maintained creative integrity and releases whenever and however frequently he wants. Now that he has established himself, he is beginning to send music to labels, but it has taken him years to get to a place where he finally feels comfortable doing so.
His most recent EP, For Us, is an incredible three-track journey that showcases the high energy, complex music Rose Ringed is producing. His next EP will be released soon with a massive label (we can’t say yet!). It’s safe to say that Rose Ringed is one to watch.
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