When reggae and ambient meet – Interview with Stefanosis Hansraj
Usually perceived as uplifting and danceable music reggae can be also pretty contemplative, meditative and deep. The music of Stefanosis Hansraj is proof of this. With a passion for the message, roots and the atmosphere of reggae, he’s currently finalizing a new record where all these worlds will meet. More about his biggest Drooble hit, his passion for the true sound of old analog gear and adopting yoga as a lifestyle find out in our recent interview with him.
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you become the musician you are today?
I actually grew up in a non-musician household. Luckily, my parents were always very supportive. I became serious about music at 16 when I asked them to buy me a bass guitar so I could play in my friend’s garage band. A few years later, my dad bought me an 8-track ADAT for recording with a Korg workstation, and the rest is history.
Would you share with us your current musical projects?
I’m very big on self-releases, so my latest project is an instrumental ambient reggae-dub album called ‘Dubplates for a New Paradigm’ scheduled for March release. In fact, I’m very pleased to mention that my top-played song on Drooble ‘A Blissful State of Dub’ is in fact taken from this album and has already reached 1.7k plays already. It’s a very promising sign. My goal for this album was to make reggae-dub very meditative and Eastern-influenced, and I think I managed to achieve that.
How do you find the drive to keep making music?
It’s definitely not financially driven haha. It’s both a creative outlet and a need, kind of like breathing. I keep going because I feel like I have to. Playing all my instruments and self-recording really facilitates this inspiration.
How is your local music scene in your perspective?
At my age and with my genre of music, I’m really not involved with a scene. Although, there is a rising “conscious” community and yoga plays a big part of that. I’m very involved in yoga as a lifestyle and philosophy. I also teach yoga in my spare time. The conscious community is more of a world-scene rather than a local one.
What is your all-time favorite album?
So many good albums out there! But since I have to narrow it down to one, I would have to say ‘Brand New Chapter of Dub’ by reggae band Aswad. I discovered it in my mid-twenties, and I knew I had to make music like this. The exaggerated delay-taps on vocals, the minimalist structure of the mix with huge baselines and the vocal harmonies coming in and out unexpectedly made it a very meditative experience for me. To this day, it’s a huge influence on my music and production.
Would you tell us a bit about your song-writing process?
It all starts with inspiration in my head, but my recording process is based on the creation of reggae dubplates: drum loop or drum pattern first, bass, percussion, keys, then everything else. I do a lot of instrumental music, so I tend to focus on emotion or Eastern philosophy.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
I still use a lot of analog instruments, but my recording unit is a 24-track Tascam. I plug and play all my instruments. I love simplicity. I love doing “live takes” for all my tracks. I just use older software such as Cakewalk and Audacity to polish (master) the final mix and boost the levels. I respect ProTools and all the other, amazing music software, but I come from a generation that didn’t rely on these things to produce good music. I also use some ethnic instruments, flutes, and melodica, so I have a few very good condenser mics.
Which is your most memorable live show and why?
I rarely play live, but playing tabla drums for German artist Hansu-jot when he was here in L.A was quite blissful. I’d like to play live more often, but logistically, it takes time, collaboration and bookings.
What is your biggest goal in music?
My biggest musical goal is to become an “established” artist in my genre of music. To get featured on compilations with some of my favorite artists, and to be known for deep, meditative music. If possible, more live-music collaborations would be great.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Drooble has given me hope for social-media, and especially as a music-hosting site. It’s a true, online music community. It has done more for my music in just months what other sites haven’t in years. Much respect to Drooble worldwide! Peace.