INTERVIEW | Ravenscoon Reveals Concept Album ‘PERIPHERY,’ Musical Inspirations & More

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Bass music is getting a proper boost today. San Francisco-based producer and DJ Ravenscoon has been steadily rising through the ranks, combining influences of death metal, hip-hop, and punk rock with experimental bass music. After releasing a series of thematic EPs in conjunction with his album, he’s finally ready to unveil his magnum opus, PERIPHERY, out now via WAKAAN.

The album is both diverse and cohesive, showcasing RAVENSCOON’s creative ambition and dedication to pushing the boundaries of the modern bass music scene. The whopping 18-track project is broken up into four distinct sections: BODY, HEART, MIND, & SOUL. Each section tells a unique story, allowing Ravenscoon to experiment with different sonic ideas while also showcasing a profound creative versatility.

In addition to the release, Ravenscoon also announced his debut headline at Denver’s Ogden Theater on March 8 & 9, where he’ll be performing for two nights alongside barnacle boi, brothel., Artifakts, Ian Snow, and more. Click here for ticket info.

We were lucky enough to pick Ravenscoon’s brain about everything from the creation of PERIPHERY, his musical inspirations, his unique approach to songwriting, to his proud 4+ year sobriety. You can check out our conversation below, along with the stream of his new album. Enjoy!

Ravenscoon –  PERIPHERY

[TSIS]: An 18-track album is a beast of an endeavor. What led to you pushing out such a massive album? 

[Ravenscoon]: As long as I can remember I’ve always loved concept albums, collections of music that tell a cohesive story. I’ve also always been big into film and screenwriting – both of which I considered doing as a profession at one point. I didn’t want my debut album to just be songs that felt like they were thrown together without little thought, or just be “bangers” that are designed for the dance floor. 

I wanted my album to be thoughtful, have intention, and feel like a journey that you can continue coming back to over and over. That’s one of the reasons I split it into four distinct parts, each one tells a piece, and when combined you get the full story. I wanted to touch on themes of love, sadness, longing, movement, psychedelia, and euphoria. What better way than 15 songs and 3 interludes/outros?

You plan on rolling out this album in four waves: Body, Heart, Mind, and Soul. Why such a unique way to release a full album? And what can fans expect from the coinciding visuals from Magela Crosignani?

I wanted to showcase the album in its four themes without bombarding listeners with 18 tracks at once. The four parts help listeners digest the entire album without hopefully skipping as much as they would in one single drop. It also allows me to showcase the various production, thoughtfulness, and coinciding visuals that Magela put together for each part. They’ve been posted on my Instagram & Twitter (X) for promotion, and will be uploaded to my YouTube as well.

What was an emotional highlight for you when making Periphery? And what was the most daunting moment?

I think my emotional highlights of creating this album were dancing with the daunting ones throughout the entire process. Sitting down and writing songs from scratch is insanely difficult, especially getting 18 that you feel deserves to be on such a large, serious body of work.

The daunting part was writing 30 or so songs and whittling them down to 18, making sure I chose the right collaborators, that my vocalists got the lyrics and vibe correct, that the mix and master (worked with Seth Drake on the entire process) was perfect. At one point I had Seth remaster the entire album to be much quieter just for streaming after we had finished the “final” live masters.

I think one of the most emotional parts was when I finally felt we were done, but also writing some of the more thoughtful tracks like Emerald Eyes & Everything Everywhere. The entire journey was a massive undertaking and I couldn’t have done it without my engineer Seth, as well as my trusted confidants that gave me feedback throughout the entire process. 

Take us through the thought process when creating such different tracks like Go and Emerald Eyes. 

I approach writing songs like this completely differently. For high energy songs like GO!, I think about the various sections, how to escalate the energy, the drums, and the sound design. I spend a lot of time on the song structure and how they should flow, since I believe that the essence of a good party anthem is how the listener moves through the track from section to section.

As for a song like Emerald Eyes, I focus more on the feeling of the atmospheres, the melodies, and the vocals. I spend a lot of time on the intro, bridge, and outro, and the drops feel more like a climax of all of the melodic elements with less emphasis on energy and more on how it makes me feel. I find it much easier to write anthemic emotional songs like Emerald Eyes because they flow so naturally from me.

What inspired your sound for this album?

I think ~30 years of listening to music inspired this album. I will say that the 2009-2012 era of dubstep/bass music was probably the most formative for me, especially when writing Periphery. I wanted to write an album that incorporated sounds, feelings, and elements from that era into a modern, fresh, and unique take. I have a lot of nostalgia for how music from that time made me feel, so I wanted to pay respects but also offer my perspective on it – combining stuff like trap with modern talking bass patches, ‘drumstep’ with energetic synthwork, etc. 

I really pulled so much inspiration from all of my favorite bass music and tried to combine it into how it sounds to me.

You say you drew inspiration for Periphery from 2010s bass albums from Nero and Pretty Lights. What elements from those artists and albums did you use when you created this album, and where will we hear it most predominantly? 

I think the flow/sound design of Nero’s ‘Welcome Reality’ and the emotion/feeling of Pretty Lights’ ‘A Color Map of the Sun’ were the most impactful on me when writing Periphery. Both of those albums have a certain feeling, something almost indescribable, that gives them longevity and uniqueness. 

You can hear the influence of Nero in my sound design, song structure, and transitions, and the haunting emotion of Pretty Lights in my vocal-driven songs, as well as the overall feeling that the album gives. 

I heard you wanted this album to resonate with trap fans. Trap was huge in the early 2010s but disappeared to a degree over the last few years. Are you hoping to help revive that sound?

I have always loved trap, even when I was a kid listening to Gucci Mane in 2007 driving to and from school. I was overjoyed to see EDM take the genre to a new level, and remember seeing allstars like RL Grime & Flosstradamus at 500-800 capacity venues over a decade ago. 

I don’t think I necessarily am reviving the sound, as it has continued to be present in bass music, just maybe not at the forefront. There’s plenty of talented producers who are revolutionizing the sound at the moment, and I think that they are leading the charge better than I.

HOWEVER, I do love incorporating trap breakdowns, drums, percussion, etc into as many of my songs as possible. This is most evident in my original tune MELT with Ashel Seasunz, but also in the drums of at least half-a-dozen songs on the album. I am going to continue to further explore trap as a producer, so be on the lookout.

You have been sober for 4 years now. That’s a huge accomplishment! How has going sober impacted you professionally?

I have, thank you! Coming up on five years next February. 

Being sober has allowed me to have clarity in my vision, to fully embrace my passion as a producer and DJ, and has allowed me to function without health problems & everything else that comes from being in active addiction. I most likely would have died by now if I hadn’t chosen sobriety.

I hope anyone that is struggling knows that things can get better. 

Your influences range from death metal, to hip hop, to punk rock. Who do you look at as some of your biggest influences in your style outside of EDM and how do you incorporate those influences into EDM?

Bands like Slipknot, Chelsea Grin, A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada, Suicide Silence really have an influence on the energy and rawness of my production and sets. Heavy moments remind me of the same type of chaotic energy from shows like that.

As for hip hop, my biggest influences into my sets are probably TI, Gucci Mane, Kendrick, Kid Cudi – all very different but all have their own storytelling, energy, and flow. You can spot vocals from all of those in my sets. I also have the venues on every stop of tour play “Soundtrack 2 My Life” by Kid Cudi at the end of every set I play “closing” music as people walk out of the venue.

You have your debut headline set coming up at The Ogden in Denver in March. Us being based in Denver, we know that Ogden is a huge venue for a debut show. What can fans expect from those two nights, especially with them having different labels (wave night and rage night)?

Yes – I have two massive nights at The Ogden planned for March 8th & 9th 2024. I’m enlisting HSD Sound to bring in 16!!!!! Battleaxe subwoofers (the most sound/sub bass the venue has ever had in it), working with the same team that does Illenium’s stage design, and Laser Monkey to bring my live production to a completely new level.

I also am working with my engineer Seth Drake to debut an Ableton-Live set, which is a brand new way of mixing live than what I normally do with Traktor. This is going to give me way more precision, samples, and a newly refined live performance than what anyone has ever seen.

Wave night will feature wave producers showcasing the genre, and Rage night will feature producers who focus more in the “bass” realm, but you can expect both of my sets to feature insane energy and beautiful, slow moments. Tickets are on sale now and readers, get yours ASAP so you don’t miss out on this insane curated event.

-Interview By: Derek Lavezzo