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Ohannes

Interview: Ronika

12 July 10 words: Paul Klotschkow

"I’m gonna ride in on a deer, and hopefully get the stuffed gorilla from Wollaton Hall on stage for a dance"

Ronika is one of the new stars of the local scene, creating sugarcoated dance-pop melodies with a concealed intelligence within. With a new EP out now and a slot on the main stage at Splendour, expect to hear more from her...

How did you start making music?
I started writing soul-inspired tunes on guitar when I was fifteen. I loved Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone. Then I went on to study sound engineering and got into DJing and producing music - making electro inspired by Tiga, the Hacker and Kraftwerk.

Who are your influences?
Shannon, Gwen Guthrie, Tom Tom Club, Prince, Chaka Khan, KRS-One, The Sequence, Acid House, early Madonna, Kool Keith, Arther Russell, Frank Zappa, Vitalic and LCD Soundsystem.

Any non-musical influences?
I read a lot for inspiration. I love Nabakov, Bukowski, Barthelme and Heller.
You’re holding a Roberta Flack LP on the cover of your new EP. Is she a particular favourite?
Yes she is. That record is from Rob’s Record Mart and cost me 50p.

You’re also sat in a laundrette with a basket full of vinyl. Is this how you clean your records or is there a deeper meaning?
I’m wearing sequins and washing my vinyl at the laundrette - mixing the glamour disco with English small town mundanity. I also did an OAP roller-disco photoshoot where I was roller skating around a sleepy suburban street wearing hotpants and carrying a walking stick.
 
Who have you worked with on the EP?
I co-produced Do or Die with the brilliant Joe Buhdha. It was a total meeting of minds musically, as we have so many shared influences and inspired each other. Paper Scissors and Stone features local jazz singer Charles Washington on vocals who has a gorgeous soulful voice and Honey Benjamin on bass - injecting the funk.

The EP is the first release for a brand new label. Tell us more…
I set up my own label and it’s called RecordShop. It’s in collaboration with a team of creative people who are based at Shop on Canning Circus. The place is a collective of fashion designers, film makers, photographers, artists and web designers.It’s a real creative hub for Notts.
 
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Every time I finish a tune I feel a massive sense of relief and achievement which lasts for a couple of hours. Then I have to start the next one.
 
Are you looking forward to playing the Main Stage at Splendour this year?
Massively! Opening the same stage as the Pet Shop Boys is really special for me as I grew up listening to them and they are a big inspiration.

What can we expect from your set?
I’m gonna ride in on a deer, and hopefully get the stuffed gorilla from Wollaton Hall on stage for a dance.
 
Will we be hearing any more new Ronika music any time soon?
I have an album bubbling away waiting to explode. It will be a lava flow bloodbath of disco that will chase you down the street until your feet melt.
 
Any tips for people looking to make their own music?
Be prepared to put in the time and effort. Nothing good is ever easy.
 
What do you like to do on a night out in Nottingham?
Food at Alley Café, film at Broadway, cake at Lee Rosy’s, drink at Moog, then a fight in the Market Square.
 
If you were to die and were reincarnated, what would you like to come back as?
The right lion. Then I could gaze at the left lion forever.

Ronika plays the main stage at Splendour on Saturday 24 July. Her debut EP Do or Die/Paper Scissor Stone is available to buy now

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