- Words Liam Cattermole
Fresh from his set at Mallorca Live Festival, we spoke with Ralphie Choo about musical beginnings, getting into the world of fashion and his highly anticipated debut album.
When talking about Madrid-based singer-songwriter Ralphie Choo, it’s best to avoid a discussion of genre. An innovator in the bedroom pop space, his propensity to blur pre-established musical boundaries, and inspire others to do the same, hasn’t gone unnoticed – he’s the name on the tip of many tastemakers’ tongues. But, before a debut performance on COLORS last month, he’d been keeping cards close to his chest, dropping singles sporadically throughout 2022.
“Tangos de una moto trucada”, the track he chose to play for the coveted platform, seamlessly blends pop and flamenco. Submerging Ralphie’s icy autotune croons in always off-kilter drums, the track’s warped tendencies reinforce the musician’s genre-defying mantra. Similarly, standout single “Lamento de una supernova” utilises a myriad of unexpected sounds to keep listeners on their toes and indulge them in his enigmatic world. Catchy and clappy, the occasionally orchestral beat illuminates his sultry tones and shows off the range of styles he’s become accustomed with.
Fresh from his set at Mallorca Live Festival, we spoke with Ralphie about seeking new paths, getting into the world of fashion and his highly anticipated debut album.
Your latest release is a debut on COLORS, congratulations! Why did you want to perform “Tangos de una moto trucada” on the platform?
I think it was the perfect approach between pop and flamenco. It’s a platform with an impact on a global scale and I felt it was the perfect opportunity to show that connection.
Taking it back to some of your earlier inspirations, who or what kicked off your journey into making music?
I started making songs thanks to a teacher from university. At the beginning, I just made beats and recreated soundtracks from films and images that inspired me.
Were there any artists you admired growing up who’ve shaped your career or sound today?
When I was little, my mum use to play lots of classic records, especially from Paco de Lucía. I remember listening to his song “Entre dos aguas” a lot.
When you look back at your early releases, like “Town Boyz”, how do you feel that your music has evolved since then? It feels like you’ve taken so many sonic directions in the meantime…
I’ve always tried to look for new paths. Ultimately, I’m encouraged and inspired by many different genres, it’s almost a generational matter: to combine these codes with others in order to find a new vision or remake something that was already invented.
It seems like musical uniqueness is something you achieve with every release that goes by. Why is it important to not conform and maintain the innovative status you have today?
It’s like the engine of the project; I don’t feel safe when I’m in my comfort zone.
Festival season is in full swing and last week you played Mallorca Live, which looked like an amazing time. What was it like to perform at the festival?
Although it was a bit late for my project, I felt super comfortable on stage and the audience’s response was amazing.
Did you have a chance to explore Mallorca Live? If so, which acts did you see and what vibe did you experience?
Yes, I saw some friends perform, like Judeline and Blanco Palamera.
What would it look like if Ralphie Choo ruled the world for the day?
I would force people to leave the virtual network. I sound like a treehugger, but I really like what’s tangible, talking to people, listening and observing. But it would be too much responsibility, so I’d delegate to someone who’s more trustworthy.
2023 has been a relatively quiet year for you. Can fans expect a wider music release, any concerts or more festival appearances in the coming months?
I’ve spent two years working on an album with Drummie and it will finally come out soon. I like staying in the shadows, working, so that people wonder, ‘what is he doing?’. When someone shows themselves so much, they lose their magic.
There are several festivals, I am especially excited to play Sónar.
To wrap up, what’s next for Ralphie Choo beyond the music. Is there anything else you’d like to achieve in the near future?
It might sound a bit cliché, but being happy and being surrounded by good people. Maybe getting into the world of fashion? It’s something I’m passionate about almost as much as music, especially the creative direction aspect.