Interview with http://www.bc-i.net
Hello Ron, Thanks for having this interview with us.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and on how you got started in the music business?
It all started for me when I heard Run DMC “It’s like That”. All of us
would learn the words and rap along with the music. This led to
creating our own rhymes and a rap group was formed. I eventually became
the DJ/Scratch –master of the crew, which made me in charge of the
beats. Many years of renting crappy equipment (cuz we were broke) and
using 2 boom-boxes to record our overdubs and by the time the song was
finished, it was such bad quality that you could hardly make out who
went first! But it was the bomb anyways.
I’ve had many musical influences along the way, as I loved all types of
music from rap to rock to house and techno to jazz and soul. DJing for
so many years also gave me a good ear for what was hot.
Influenced by Detroit electronic music legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derek May,
I became fascinated with electronic music and started producing electro
and techno records. I was signed to Bigshot Records when I moved to
Toronto, which I will call a learning experience and leave it as that.
From there, Hayden Andre brown and myself launched Strobe Records,
which became a legendary force in the house music scene.
After a long break from music I started producing gospel, Hip Hop,
Reggae and R&B music. This brought my production and writing skills
to a new level and I have had the pleasure of working with many
talented singers over the years.
Q. Describe your workspace and perfect environment to create music in?
I prefer to work alone, late at night. It doesn’t really matter where,
but I prefer solitude – because I like to be myself, pace and dance
around the room (nobody knows this until now btw!) I spend a lot of
time listening to my mixes and tweaking them until I can’t stay up
Q. Who have you produced for?
I have worked with many independent and major artists over the years. I
have worked with or written songs for KO Kapches, Cindy Gomez, Snow,
Elephant Man, Usher, T.I. Jagged Edge, Lauren Christoff, George Nozuka,
and many more. Currently I am writing and placing songs with major
artists in the US many of which will be coming out soon. I work with a
lot if the top labels and writers in Atlanta, LA, New York and Toronto.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement so far would be producing the KO Kapches album
for Atlantic Records. I managed to produce all 16 tracks on the album
over a 6-month period. It was the most satisfying project because there
was very little creative input from the label and was a truly creative
project to work on.
Q. What’s your take on the music industry right now, urban music to be specific?
I think the industry is trying to play it safe without knowing what
safe is, because in reality nothing is safe in these times. Lyrically,
the overall thought process has been thrown out the window and it has
become a factory for one-hit wonders. At the same time, consumers need
to check into music rehab because they have become addicted to this
superficial hit-of the-day music drug and they have allowed the
corporations to shape their expectations of what good music is. In
today’s world there is even more good music out than ever, however
those type of artists don’t get the exposure from the corporate world
and we as the listeners don’t look beyond what’s playing on the radio
or is promoted in the media – but that’s just my opinion.
Q. What do you think of the current state of radio?
Radio is the same as it has always been. You only have 24 hrs in a day
and that has never changed. So, in those 24 hrs they still have to sell
advertising and keep us entertained. They are like a grocery store –
limited shelf space, so the product has got to sell. Remember if we
don’t like it we can always turn it off and slip into our headphones
and blast the iPod.
Q. Which do you prefer the most, recording with software or the more traditional approach such as hardware and why?
I do most of my work in the box now. Plugins are so powerful and offer
many more options than we ever had which adds to creativity if we
choose to go beyond what is being done. I still prefer analog equipment
when recording instruments and vocals, but after that it stays in my
Q. What is your opinion on the Auto-tune technology phenomenon, and what impact do you think it will have in the future?
Honestly I think it is a great effect and I didn’t think it would have
lasted this long. I use it upon request, however I prefer Melodyne to
tune vocals. We live in a fast paced world and most artists rush their
projects and/or don’t put enough time and effort into their vocal
training. Some artists who can sing their ass off use it just because
it’s popular. I was shocked to see how good of a singer T-Pain is
Q.Was there a particular moment in you career where you wanted to call it quits and if there was, how did you regain your drive?
Oh Ya – every day! I took a 7-year break after Strobe and started a few
businesses. But music has always been in my DNA so I’m back for good.
Music can and has driven people crazy – I had to change my passion and
dream for making it into motivation to building the proper foundation
to making it reality. Remember, dreams happen in your sleep – you gotta
be wide awake to make it happen.
Q. What type of music or specifically who do you listen to when you want to get away from it all?
I listen to jazz, deep house, and neo-soul when I need a break from the urban –Pop world.
Q. What advice would you give to somebody who is just starting out?
If you want to do this, be ready to sacrifice a lot of time and
happiness. Be ready to be disappointed. Be ready to fail. Be ready to
lose good people around you. Be ready to almost lose your mind. And
never give up until you make it.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learned working in the music industry?
I have learned that the only thing that matters is the people around
you and the really true friendships that you have. It has very little
to do with how good you are. Also educate yourself to the fullest every
step of the way and don’t rely on others to do what you can do for
Q. What does the future hold for Ron Allen?
I am going to continue to make the best music that I can and work with
the best people I come across. I manage a few acts right now and I will
be assisting them in their dream quest, with hopes that I can make this
road a little easier to travel than it has been for me. I still love to
be around talented people and there are a lot of artists that deserve
to be stars.
Q. A quote you live by?
Sing now or die with the music in you.