Album Review: Rinko Serlier And His Last EP ‘Slow Down Sweet DUB’

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Believe it or not, the Netherlands had still not been represented musically on the Drooble blog until Rinko Serlier came along. Music is an obsession for him and he tries his best to bring hope and positivity through his tunes. It’s probably weird and undoubtedly rare to see someone who combines reggae and classical music in their work, but in the case of Rinko, the two come together in a non-invasive manner, staying in separate pieces while remaining a well-integrated part of a single concept in a strangely satisfying way. Before immersing into his thoughts, we recommend you check out his last EP ‘Slow Down Sweet DUB’. You can listen to it here 😉

Rinko’s music is also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Hey Rinko, great to have you on the blog :) What inspires you?
Hey! First of all, what inspired me to make this EP, is expressing myself in music and perhaps reaching the soul of listeners. I’m such a big music fan, I’m almost everyday listening and playing or recording music.
The genre of this album is reggae and dub mostly. I must say that there is a band that has been inspiring me for a long time now, namely UB40. They still exist and make great new music. They release dub albums regularly too and I simply love those. Also, other reggae artists like Bob Marley, but also Major Lazer and the dutch band Chef’Special are an influence for me. For me, nothing beats the feeling of a deep bass and drum.
Rinko -1There are 3 original songs and 2 ‘covers’ of classical piano plays. I’ve had the idea of remaking piano songs for a long time. One cover is originally Bach’s work (Musette) and the other one Burgmuller (Arabesque). I’ve learned those songs a long time ago during piano lessons and they’re my all-time favorites to play. I wanted to give them a reggae feel and beat, so I decided to remake them and combine my love for piano music and reggae/dub.

Is there a message you’re trying to convey through your tunes?
I believe that music has or can have more power than words. Creating vivacious and simple melodies is the base for composing music. I try to let the notes tell their story. For me, a beautiful melody is the opening for your emotions and feelings. It can be very touching and intense if it hits you at the right spot. As is has been a tough year for me personally, I created the songs on this EP while trying to feel better.

Clouds and Slow Down Sweet DUB are songs with multiple faces. I wrote Clouds from a sad and down feeling, ending it with a more positive feeling of hope.
Slow Down Sweet DUB tends to be more positive but the darker feeling tries to pop in too. The title is meant to express that taking a step back when feeling rushed can feel so much better! It’s a little reminder in these rushing times. Life Continues is like the title says, a song that I wrote while realizing that life indeed continues, no matter what happened before. Although there is cynicism in the title.

Anything interesting about the recording process? How long did it take? What did you learn?
It took me all together almost a year. In this time, I also recorded and released other tracks. The most intensive part of the process lasted the last 4 months. For the recording I used both a digital piano and a guitar. Everything you hear is by me, without the use of loops or samples. I’ve learned so much about mixing and mastering, because I finally stepped over using better software (Logic Pro X). For me, this is the most difficult part of the process. The first track I made (Dark Souls), I didn’t even know about mastering at all. While releasing my new EP, I’m already working on improving these skills and hearing things in the mix that I’d like to improve. The perfectionist in me will be satisfied.

Rinko + Robin Campbell UB40I’ve also learned to be more modest when using effects. I kind of have a fetish for delay and reverb, but using them wrongly or too often takes the tightness of a track away. I talked to my reggae heroes of UB40 (they are very accessible), they listened to my music, said they really liked my reggae and advised me to not overuse effects for that reason.

Are musicians different from other people? How?
I find this hard to answer. I have the feeling that is the case somehow. I think musicians and artists in general have more eye for detail or can maybe lose themselves too much in them. You often see musicians disappear for a while, because the writing is so intense. Besides that, it was proven, as far as I remember, that depression, for example, is more common among artists. Besides being able to see the beauty of the world, also the downsides in life can feel strong or stronger than you’d like them to. In short: sensitive and passionate people :)

IMG_2681Describe the perfect band!
The perfect band for me would be a reggae band that makes down-to-earth songs with beautiful melodies. It would be nice to have a reasonably common music taste while individual band members can bring in specific preferences or styles. I see bass, drums, 2 keybords/piano, percussion, guitar and, last but not least, a brass section. Perhaps someone singing a bit would be nice too.

Describe your creative process.
Just practically seen: I go and sit behind the piano and begin playing what comes to me and strokes my emotion in that moment. By trying different chords and variations, a new song can arise. It happens too when I’m listening to music in series or movies and just get inspired.

When my goddaughter Sofie was born, I wrote a song especially for her: ‘Voor Sofie’ (For Sofie). The song Clouds of the current EP was created by me when I had a hard time and felt very sad and down. I began playing and the song was there quite fast. Often, the more emotional I am, the more creative ideas come up. But it’s not a rule! Sometimes new music also arises at moments you wouldn’t expect it to: in the car, watching TV, in bed, while I’m eating or while talking to someone.

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You have experience with various genres – which one’s your favorite?
It depends a bit on the mood I’m in, but most of the time I’m doing reggae and DUB influenced songs. In general I make relaxing music. From time to time I really enjoy live piano music. For me, also in the creative process, an important base in compositions, both in classical music as in modern-reggae-edm.

How do you feel about online music collaboration? Do you think what Drooble is trying to achieve is possible?
I’m now about 2 years into recording and promoting my music and trying to reach people – musicians to connect to. Before I discovered Drooble, it was mostly via Soundcloud and social media. I still use it to connect, but the good thing for me about Drooble is that all who have something to do with music, are on board and supporting each other in their musical careers. I compare it to Facebook, but focused on music.

RinkoSince the use of Drooble, I’m connecting more with others and really learning things too. Besides, it’s fun to listen to new undiscovered music with the radio or check out what others in the same genre are doing. I have seen the site grow in the couple of months. I’m a regular user.

What is your dream or goal?
I would really like to record and play my music using all real instruments. Now, I have to use software for everything but the piano and guitar. How great would it be if a band is playing it live! That is also the case with the classical songs I’ve made, ‘Bliss’ and ‘Voor Sofie’. Having a real orchestra performing these works would be the ultimate goal, with or without me on the piano.

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