A chat with Ralph Session

Ralph Session hails from New York City, six years back he hot footed it over to Spain. All part of the master plan as Ralph begins to take the deep house charts by storm with his Freerange Records debut, Freaknik. Even though is based in the sunnier climes of Europe these days, it is clear that Ralph’s roots are firmly embedded in the NY house scene and is sonically evident in his sensational new EP which features Juliet Mendoza and Ladymonix. Here we get the chance to talk to this house soldier about why he left New York, how he got signed to one of the UK’s leading deep house labels, and what its like to play back-to-back with your girlfriend.

Where are you at this moment and how are you spending the day?

Yo, what’s up, thanks for having me. I’m in Barcelona. I was getting things ready for a long overdue vacation with my girlfriend.

Where were you born? Where are you based now?

I was born in The Bronx. Been in Barcelona for the past 6 years.

What do you love most about where you are living? What keeps you where you are today?

Probably the weather. I left NY because I was sick of winter. Here they are mild. What keeps me here is hope and location. I moved so that I could pursue my music career and make it easier to get bookings in Europe than I would if promoters had to book me all the way from NYC.

If money was no object, and you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would that be and why?

I guess I am living that scenario a bit. Moving here was my big thing. I didn’t want to live in the US anymore. I wanted some Fu*&^%g healthcare and a different quality of life. Pretty basic stuff but not for Americans. So, I’m here and I haven’t thought of moving anywhere else. I want to make this work.

How long have you been making music?

More or less, I started back in 2007/8. I don’t really like to count the first couple of years because the “music” was cheese. Didn’t know any better yet. But it sank the hook in and in ’09 I invested some money and got a Mac, Logic, proper sound card and monitors and from there, the rest is history.

What came first, Djing or production?

I guess Djing was first because I had turntables and a mixer when I was a teenager, but it was used for Bboy practice. I would collect the breaks and music for practice sessions. But I don’t know if I would call that Djing playing for a couple other dancers. It wasn’t ‘til years later that I would start playing parties and that was around the time I started making tracks.

What kind of artists, DJs, genres were you into growing up?

I was a Hip Hop, R&b, Disco, Funk, Soul, Freestyle kid. My mom had great taste and being in NY you were around so much variety, so you learned from that or at the very least knew it existed. When we moved out of state for a while, I lost the ease of that as a kid until I moved back to NY years later. I needed to be surrounded by the sound of the city and get that feeling back.

Who are the artists that you follow right now?

I have been digging Retromigration’s stuff. He’s killing it at the moment. Turbojazz as well. Austin Ato always bangs, Makez, TipToes, Less J, Acid Jerks to name a few.

What is the most recent record you purchased?

Sound On Sound – Sweat. This shit is amazing. I can’t wait to play it out at this party in Albania this weekend.

If you could choose a few words to describe the vibe of Ralph Session, what would they be?

His music is fun AF or He makes proper shit! Same goes for my personality. 😊

Talk to us about the new EP. When did you first approach this concept and what was your original intention?

Oh shit, this one was so unexpected, but worked out in the best ways possible. I usually make a song and somewhere in the mix I start thinking if the song needs a voice and then who. That starts my search.

Staying connected on the Dj side helps because you come across voices and for me when I find the person I will reach out and see if they are open to work on the project. I approached Juliet with the song. She was all for the idea and had some things to use. After some editing and what not the idea started to develop, and the rest is history.

What was most important for you to convey through these tracks?

For me, the most important thing to convey is the vibe that I want in any particular song. I was able to see my vision come through because I produced 2 versions. The original and The Brooklyn Bounce Mix. I wanted the original to be more of a song that people will remember. But my second track I kept it way more Deep House club shit. I like knowing that I covered all the bases on a release.

How did you connect with Freerange Records, what’s the story?

I met Jimpster back in Brooklyn a few times before I moved to Barcelona. I always was a fan of his and Freerange. It’s always been the epitome of premium house music for decades. I’ve been sending them demos for years. Every ‘not for us’ was motivation for me. Finally, I made something that they felt would work really well with the label. I kinda thought it didn’t fit lol. But from that point on I have felt what it is to work with a properly organized label that is on top of things, that helps the artist grow and not just tosses releases out. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

What are you most proud of with this release?

The reception! We are still in the Traxsource overall Top 10. I haven’t had a song stay in it that long either. At the time this article comes out we might not be anymore but it’s safe to say people are feeling it. Most artists would agree that releases might hit for a weekend or 2 and just fall into the ether, so it’s nice to see that this one has some staying power and I honestly owe it to the legacy and reputation of Freerange mixed with the fact that it’s a dope fuckin’ song and Juliet is great on it. To cherry on top of it there is the Ladymonix remix which gives hit a need change from the vibes of the other two mixes.

What was the most challenging part of bringing the release together?

Two things…. getting the idea of the beat and developing it. Honestly pushing myself to make it a fully fleshed out song and not just an idea that loops. That’s where Juliet came in. Second, once you go through the process of finding someone to be on it you have to develop the song again. Arrangement might change and it did. But when all the pieces are in place it’s crazy to see how far you have come when you listen back to that first bounce when it was only a beat or 16 bar loop. The challenge is to keep the original vibe while taking the track to the next level.

Who are the other artists and musicians on this EP that you would like to shout out?

The ladies of course. Juliet Mendoza first and foremost, but also Ladymonix who did an amazing job on the remix. Thank you to both of you.

What drives you to create music?

It’s therapeutic most of the time. Probably a fair bit of narcissism too lol… but I love this house music shit. I want to give people the feeling I used to get from nights out in NY. Whether that’s through my productions or when I DJ at parties.

What has been one of your favorite moments from the past year?

Getting to DJ with my girlfriend at Macarena club. It’s something I never experienced in past relationships. It’s cool to share something you love with someone you love.

Where do you find the most inspiration when it comes to discovering new music?

It used to be going out but lately it’s just going through Bandcamp, Traxsource and Juno. I wish I heard half of those tracks when I go out.

What can we hope to see next from Ralph Session?

On the DJ tip, I’m trying to bump up my bookings. I have something in the works for ADE and the Climax Institutes anniversary party in October. On the music side, I have a lot of releases lined up: A collaboration with the DJ Fudge on Groove Culture called Golden. Releases coming out on Quintessentials, Last Forever, Slothboogie and Makin’ Moves. Plus, my NYC Boot Tapes free download series on Bandcamp is really doing great. Check ‘em out if you haven’t and grab a copy of Freaknik EP on vinyl or digital!