Coloray, the versatile Dutch artist, has left an indelible mark on the music scene, challenging the conventional norms of the dance world by placing a strong emphasis on songwriting. His extensive background in electronic music showcases a commitment to pushing boundaries and defying expectations. With an ever-evolving musical style fueled by a profound message, Coloray refuses to rest on his laurels.
Now, with the release of his sophomore album, Coloray delves deep into the intricate dynamics of our relationship with technology. This exploration aligns seamlessly with his affinity for futurism, a recurring theme in his work. Notably, his debut album, “Future Static,” was accompanied by an innovative VR app titled “Virtual Space,” demonstrating his forward-thinking approach to both music and technology.
Fast forward two years, and Coloray’s latest endeavor shifts its focus to the realms of artists and media. The album places a spotlight on the rapidly changing environment in which art and culture navigate in contemporary society. Coloray’s ability to blend the cutting edge of technology with the timeless essence of music positions him as a visionary artist who not only observes but actively shapes the landscape of the creative world. With each release, Coloray continues to defy expectations, leaving audiences eagerly anticipating the next chapter of his artistic journey.
Hello Raynor, it was so lovely to meet you last year in Amsterdam! Could you still introduce yourself to our audience? and what does Coloray mean to you?
Likewise! Was fun how we ran into each other. There’s a small record label I run called Intercept Records and I make music under the name Coloray. For me, two sides to what I do, there’s the songwriting side where I sing and the production side where I’m interested in everything that’s happening around us in dance music. Combined it makes for constantly changing synth-heavy dance music with a vocal element to it. Coloray is a place I go to explore and change with what I’m feeling at the moment. There’s always an influence of technology in everything I do, and right now I’m mostly focused on exploring the intersection of tech, music and visuals.
Currently, you live in Berlin but most of the time you spend in Amsterdam, what brought you here and how do you feel around?
Berlin always was a city where I went to a party and had fun, but somewhere around the pandemic, I felt I’d love to live there for just a bit. Partly to meet friends and explore life again, but mostly to get inspired by new things happening in the arts. For me, since I’ve moved, life has gotten a lot more colourful with more influences to take in. It can be chaotic at times, and I also feel like Berlin has multiple sides that don’t always work in tandem, but in general, it’s a blessing to see so many different sides of arts and culture reflected. It has been really inspiring.
Discussing your career, which has led you to collaborate with outstanding artists such as Massimilano Pagliara or play major festivals like DGTL, how would you characterize your journey into the music industry?
I sometimes wonder why I have a ‘career’, not in the sense that I don’t want to, but in the fact that the core of my music has always been constant change and discovery and that can be hard to follow at times. You might hear my music in one year and the year after it would have totally changed. For me, it’s the only way to stay motivated. Over time this has informed the way I DJ, I love hopping genres and finding a common thread amongst it all.
As a musician, though I think I got the most inspiration from the artists I’ve been working with. Massi for example is an expert in his thing and has made that aesthetic his own.
My journey so far has been characterized by looking around, meeting people, learning from them and slowly getting opportunities to show a bit of what’s in my head. I feel like right now I’m on a really good path where I creatively feel free, but also want to find that focus and aesthetic, just like the artists I admire have done.
Going back to the track that we are going to premiere ‘New Form’ could you tell us about the story of this track and the idea/ and the process behind it?
New Form is one of the tracks where I already had the vocal lying around for a long time. For me it solidified the idea that even though you’re changing. I wanted to make a track about changing amidst chaos. Even though you’ll move, get new inspiration, meet new people and grow as a human, being the ‘new form’ is acceptance of who you were in the first place. Over the 2 years of making that track it maybe had 5 completely different instrumentals. The one it’s now was made in 20 minutes and I felt this version finally contrasted the subject of the lyrics. The lyrics are optimistic, but the instrumental is not. That contrast is incredibly inspiring for me when I listen to other peoples music, so I hope to implement a bit of that in mine. The rest is not so interesting, a prophet synth, breakbeat drums, vocals that are stacked, it’s more the general concept of it.
‘New Form’ is accompanied by a music video that’s very personal to you. Could you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
There was a time in the past where I was still partying a lot. The dancefloor always was such an amazing place to go to for me, but I knew it was always an ‘escape’. After going to a festival for a couple of days the designated driver wanted to drive back right away. When we drove through a tunnel, it triggered an epileptic attack and we had to stop the car. Those flashing tunnel lights remained as a big inspiration somehow. For me that was a turning point where I knew I had to change a thing or two. So I did and over the years after music became a point where I wanted to go to and let things out more. The ‘New Form’ I’m describing is the change I wanted to make at the time. The music video reflects this feeling of chaos, losing yourself in life and refinding yourself on the dancefloor.
When discussing your latest album, you’ve introduced numerous questions that delve into the relationship we have with technology. What do you believe is crucial during these times when it comes to creating a new album, and how can we connect with the ongoing acceleration of our lives?
That’s an interesting question and I feel like every answer could be different depending on who you ask, so there’s no one defined way of going about it. I set out to make an album that dove deep into electronica and dance stylings, but during the process, this acceleration you’re talking about really exploded and the subject started to change. Covid ended, life started again, and I couldn’t keep up. I started performing live and during this time it dawned on me that artists in this time are also changing with the times. Making content became more important, being able to brand yourself, and construct an ‘avatar’ for your music that could live online and offline. I love people that do that, but isn’t that also just a reflection of a market that demands hyper clearly defined products? I knew that the album needed to be about this chaos, this change, the time where I personally felt like being a ‘human being’ in music instead of a ‘brand’ was under pressure. Techno and house were also blending with pop suddenly, and international DJ’s became pop superstars. I wanted to express this in very clear pop songwriting combined with a constantly changing sound over all tracks. The crucial thing in these times is that I knew I would be criticising the hand that feeds me, and that I shouldn’t be scared in doing so. We all talk about these subjects, everybody feels it, why not write something tongue in cheek about it? I guess the crucial thing is not being afraid of change, and allowing growth and change within yourself.
“New Form” itself emphasises the highs and lows associated with depression and underscores the increasing importance of addressing mental health, including depression. Could you please tell us how you connected with this issue?
Over the years there has been a lot of attention for mental health, but I still feel like we have big steps to take to give room for the ever-growing mental problems in society. Still to this date, I’m meeting people who say things are easily solved or somehow feel it’s taboo to give room for these subjects, but that’s what’s creating problems in the first place. Now, I’m not a negative person at all, not anymore. But there’s something a lot of people are carrying around with them, and as long as that’s not integrated into a field of acceptance it will never get better. I truly feel that creative people have so much potential and talent, but for a lot of them it comes with a hypersensitivity to the world, and that’s not always easy. I knew that if I was able to live with that more and take my space, offer other people the same, we’d have a space for creativity where we could express ourselves fully. My label partly does that, but I hope to do the same as a human being. For others, but hopefully for myself as well.
If you could tell us your ten favourite tracks from last year? What would it be?
French II – Frequency
Tsepo – Perc Track
Bella Boo – Looney
Thomas Garcia – El Carpintero
Abdul Raeva – Alpha Track
Kassian – X-303
Lonely – Tukuntazo (lonely Edit)
Cool Jack, Ralphi Rosario – Just Come (Ralphi’s Main Mix)
Kellee – My Love (Luvspunge Mix)
Pangaea – Still Flowing Water
What does the future look like for Coloray ?
I finished this album and I knew; this was done now, it’s a closed book with a story written between 2019 and 2023. In a way, this feels like a fresh start, and I know I want to focus more. My music always looked to the past as a reference point, but what does the future sound like? How can I take my voice and make it abstract? How can I use technology like AI to help me curate an idea better, or make new versions of instruments?
Also with the developments in the combination of music and tech, I wonder if it’s possible to create a new form of live performance where the computer and artist assimilate even more, forming a new hybrid human/computer way of live performing where it’s all one big organism.
The future for me is taking a step back, and using this moment as a starting point of research into what this blend of computer and human music-making can be, especially within dance music. You’ll see me lean more into the nerdy side of things for sure.
Coloray is the boundary-pushing creative moniker from electronic artist, Raynor De Groot. Residing from the industrial city of Tilburg in the Netherlands, he’s known for his multi-disciplinary approach that sees him excel within the realms of production and singing and songwriting, as well as his unique ability as a 3D artist and graphic designer. As Coloray, his creative endeavors are limitless and he’s fuelled by endless possibilities.
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