Fast-rising Taiwanese artist RayRay has proven, in a short amount of time, to be a breath of fresh air in the dance music scene. Last November, the talented producer/vocalist dropped off her anticipated debut album Unearthly World which served as a stunning and diverse look into RayRay’s psyche and unique sonic influences. From incorporating everything from dubstep and trap to house and hardstyle, the LP is constantly exciting and creative; reminiscent of the folk tales and fairy stories RayRay loved while growing up in Taiwan. After hearing the project, we knew we needed to sit down with the artist herself for an exclusive interview: so join us as we talk with RayRay about the inspiration behind her latest album, growing up in Taiwan, performing live, being both a producer and vocalist, and other topics.
Run the Trap: Your debut album showcases an impressive array of genres from dubstep to hardstyle – was it a challenge crafting a cohesive album with so many different styles involved? What was that creative process like?
RayRay: I love making music in different kinds of genres. I found it very fun and interesting. I don’t like to limit myself with one music genre. Experimenting and exploring are more like my approach when it comes to my production. Making an album is like reading a book to me, it requires many chapters to deliver a nice story.
Unearthly is a very vague word, but it’s also a word which can link to my alien branding. From my past EP “Purple Alien” to “Alien Invasion” to “Alien mutation,” and now we are talking about a world that only exists in hearts or in the other dimensions.
Over the past 2 years, there have been so many changes in my life. I was torn apart after the loss of my cousin and my good friend, my breakup, and my depression. Music has been my only getaway, so I decided to make an album to express my feelings and everything I have been experiencing. Through this album, I want to share my true self with my fans. I want to provide my audience with the diversity of my sound and my vocals. I want to introduce the listeners to my own unearthly world.
In this album, I poured all my emotions into the songs. There are songs about the difficulties I faced during the pandemic, there are songs about my break up, there are songs about the old RayRay. I also tried to challenge myself with producing different music genres. I want this album to be very diverse, and full of the taste of RayRay.
The album also features a ton of great collaborators: Nonsens, Dirty Audio, and JVNA just to name a few. How did bringing on these other artists help you deliver on your vision for this project?
I like working with different artists, and I always learn a lot from them. I like to create demos first, and send them to the artists, or we just vibe in the studio together to finish the songs. You can always stick to your main ideas and concepts when you work solo, but when you work with other artists, you can learn from their different approaches and ideas. The best part of having collabs is you never know what the song will lead you to, and this is exactly how I like to be when I work on my music. I love Nonsens’s unlimited creativity and precise details in production, I’m amazed by how fast Dirty Audio can finish a banger, and I love working with JVNA. She’s absolutely a creator.
Also, I can always explore different audiences by collaborating. For example, the collab I have with JVNA, her fans really like the melodic and pop influenced dubstep. And my fans like the hard elements and heave bass, so we created a song with all these elements, and also the message we want to deliver in the song – “Be strong & be brave, eventually you will be like a butterfly emerges from the cocoon.”
How did growing up in Taiwan influenced you as an artist? How different is the music scene there compared to elsewhere, like the United States?
Growing up in Taiwan gave me a lot of freedom to explore things I love. Taiwan is incredibly open to all kinds of music from around the world—there are no restrictions, and people are wildly open-minded. I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop and pop music from Taiwan, and also from around the world. This led me to set up a kind of hip-hop music community when I was in college. There we shared a lot of music, and it provided me with ways to meet and work with local DJs and rappers. The Taiwanese hip-hop music scene is a super small and tight knit community, but we help each other a lot. And because of my hip-hop background and the support I get from that part of the scene, I feel like you can hear the influence in my music.
North America is actually the next market I really want to explore more. I feel like Americans have a stronger connection with the music because they are more closely related to the DJs and can understand songs’ lyrics and messages. Also, people are more likely to accept new music styles and sounds. I can’t wait to build my own music community there.
Talk a little about being both a producer and vocalist; how does being involved in both of these creative domains influence your creativity and sound?
When I made my first EP, it had a lot of trap noise, and I was still searching for my certain sound. When I did my first EP “Purple Alien” on Barong Family, it was kind of a way to introduce “RayRay” into the EDM world with the Barong Family signature sound. After that, I started focusing on my vocals in the production. There were just some short phrases in the beginning, and it transited to the proper verses and Hip-Hop influenced raps in the second EP “Alien Invasion” on Barong Family. For my third EP “Alien Mutation” which I dropped during the pandemic, I would say my sound had some significant changes in this EP. Instead of having only one music genre, I was able to play around my vocals and my sound in multiple music genres. I took vocal lessons to improve my singing skill and apply it to my music.
In this album, I combined a lot of different genres and different elements which are not just trap or dubstep or no brain party bangers anymore, but also some elements from techno, future bass, and house music. I wanted to show the listeners and my fans the emotional side of me. Everything you hear in this album has a meaning – the way I processed my vocals, the way I sang on the songs, the reasons I came up with the ideas of the songs, the way I structured the songs, the orders of the track list, and so on.
What can fans expect who have never caught you perform live? What makes a RayRay set unique?
I just did an album concert last year in December, and it was a combination of a live performance, an orchestra segment and a DJ set. I love making a lot of edits of my own songs and my set is always very energetic, and most importantly I like interacting with the audience. I normally don’t have a fixed set, I like to read the crowd and provide them the perfect music for that night. Recently, I have incorporated a lot of live singing into my set, and I also combine my set with the visuals which impact the audience with extra sensations. All these elements combined are what makes a RayRay set unique. I want my fans to go home with big smiles, sweaty shirts and a very unforgettable experience!
Now that you’ve released a debut album, what’s in store next for RayRay? Any future career milestones you’ve got your sights on?
I just did a LIVE concert at a 1,000 people capacity venue in Taiwan, and it was the first full production show I’ve ever done by myself and my team. We are planning for the world album tour which combines the live shows and the club shows all together, and we are trying to do the LIVE show in multiple major cities. Also, we are planning to do a deluxe album with 2 more new songs and remixes early next year. More good news for you – I just signed with a new agent in US, and I’m starting working with my new US based management. I’m looking forward to spending more time in the US and to start building my music community there.