Ritmo is a name in Psytrance which needs no introduction. Having produced multiple albums and countless eps, remixes, and tracks galore as both a solo artist and in collaboration with many revered artists in the scene, Ritmo has been at the forefront of Progressive Psy-trance for around 15 years!
Dubi Dagan, aka Ritmo, has spent the past 3 years meticulously crafting his third studio album, “Roots,” which is out now via Iboga Records. Through 9 cohesive tracks, the album will take listeners on a journey through the fusion of his internal and external experiences exploring the intricate connection between life, music, and nature.
With the 3 singles off the album comfortably securing top 10 positions on the Beatport chart, it’s just a taste of what’s in store for listeners as the delve into Ritmo’s “Roots.”
Before even starting to write the album, I made a conscious decision to create a body of work that would have a light and organic feel, emphasising melody and musicality.”
Your new album, Roots, will be released on Iboga Records on 9 June. Congratulations! Let’s begin with the most obvious- the title of the album. What does “Roots” say about the album and why did you choose it?
RITMO: Thank you so much! When envisioning the album, I aimed to create a contemporary blend of my musical roots and influences. The title ‘Roots’ represents this connection to the past, while infusing it with a fresh sound for the present. Notably, the album took shape during the COVID-19 pandemic, which became a deep-rooted journey for me, spending unprecedented time with my family. ‘Roots’ reflects both my musical heritage and personal experiences during this transformative period.
Fans have been privy to having access to 3 singles from the album. What stood out about “Owl Dance”, “Organic Rhythm” and “Distorted” that made you choose them as album singles? All of them have secured top 10 positions on Beatport and have been lauded on your Instagram posts by both fans and producers. Does it bring relief knowing the album’s reception is off to a good start?
RITMO: As the album approached its final stages, I meticulously chose three singles that encapsulate the diverse layers and chapters within the album, showcasing its range of sounds and themes. I am genuinely grateful for the positive response and warm reactions from fans. However, rather than experiencing relief, I am eagerly anticipating the thoughts of listeners on the remaining tracks and the album as a cohesive whole.
“Owl Dance” was played by Charlotte De Witte. It’s not the first time we’ve seen psy in techno sets. It’s got to feel good to have your track played by a major artist from a different genre? Did she reach out for the album? Or did you send it to her?
RITMO: It is truly gratifying to see the videos of Charlotte playing ‘Owl Dance’ in venues around the world and witnessing the enthusiastic response from a different genre’s audience. As for how she discovered the track, I believe she likely purchased it from Beatport.
Since the full album hasn’t been released yet at the time of this interview, she doesn’t have it either.
I allow myself to flow and let the inspiration guide me in bringing the track to life.”
You recently played to a MASSIVE, electric dancefloor at Baoba Festival in Brazil. What was it like to receive such a rocking response from the crowd after putting your heart and soul into your new album for the past 3 years?
RITMO: First, I want to express my sincere admiration for the festival production team’s incredible investment in creating such an extraordinary event. The spectacular stage, the immersive setting, and their meticulous attention to detail throughout the party were truly impressive. It was an honor be part of this remarkable edition.
The feeling of playing my album and receiving such a positive and enthusiastic response was truly overwhelming and exhilarating. It filled me with immense satisfaction and joy to share the final product with the world and witness the deep connection it made with the audience. It reaffirmed my passion for music and reminded me of the incredible fulfillment that comes from sharing my creations with others.
You mentioned that “Distorted” was created “during the chaotic and weird times when the world had gone mad,” and that the track was the main muse for the album. Take us through that time in your life and the decision to put pen to paper, or shall I say producer to DAW?
RITMO: Right before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I made the decision to start gathering tracks for my next album. Approximately four months later, when the pandemic hit, I had a realization that this chaotic and unprecedented situation might last for an extended period of time (it was just a gut feeling I had). As the lockdowns and closures began, I understood that the only thing that would keep me sane and provide a sense of optimism was diving into the creative process and dedicating myself to writing the album. Every day, the story of the album unfolded as I passionately worked on it, serving as an anchor during those uncertain times.
Apart from “Distorted,” the rest of the album has a light, organic feel and is very musical. It’s not just a collection of dancefloor bombs, so to speak. How does that reflect your journey from the chaos to the relative peace of now? What is your creative process in putting life into song?
RITMO: Before even starting to write the album, I made a conscious decision to create a body of work that would have a light and organic feel, emphasising melody and musicality. It was important for me to showcase my artistic signature in the most refined way possible. Interestingly, as the album took shape, I discovered that a significant portion of it also resonated well on the dance floors. (:
Regarding my creative process, it tends to vary from track to track. However, in general, I focus on making musical decisions early in the process, which helps to establish the overall concept of the song. From there, I allow myself to flow and let the inspiration guide me in bringing the track to life.
I love the cover art for album! You collaborated with Daniel Philosoph to combine visual and auditory art for the ultimate experience. How did that come about and how do you feel about the outcome?
RITMO: Thank you so much! I’m thrilled that you love the album cover art. The collaboration with Daniel Philosoph came about during the final stages of creating the advanced sketches of the album. I was seeking a painter who could join me on this artistic journey and visually convey the story behind the music. Daniel, with his incredible talent, decided to embark on this exciting adventure with me. The process involved nearly a year of continuous brainstorming and refinement until we reached the final product stage. I’m genuinely delighted with the outcome, and I hope that listeners will also find it captivating and meaningful.
It’s not often that the title track is downtempo. What made you decide on the track name “Roots” and was it always intended to be the title track when you wrote it?
RITMO: The decision to name the track “Roots” was made towards the end of the album’s production process. As mentioned earlier, the concept of roots represents both my musical roots and my family. In the final seconds of the track, there is a recording of my wife and two children saying the name of the album ‘Roots’, with my daughter playfully adding, “Dad, make people dance” in Hebrew language. Additionally, the track incorporates various nature sounds, including animal sounds and water, which further emphasise the connection to the natural world. Although it wasn’t initially intended to be the title track when I first wrote it, its thematic elements and meaningful content made it a fitting choice to represent the album as a whole.
There are two collaborations on “Roots.” “Cloud Passing” with Pettra and “Full Circle” with Sphera. How did these collaborations come about?
RITMO: The collaboration with Pettra came about after several years of discussions between Jonathan and I about working together on a track. When Jonathan sent me the initial sketch with the captivating bouzouki melody, I realized that we could create something very special and deep. I infused the vibe and atmosphere of the rest of the album into the track, resulting in an interesting fusion of ethnic, melodic, and deep progressive trance elements.
As for the collaboration with Sphera, it was a clear and well-known decision. Liran and I have been close friends and music production partners for years. From the very beginning of the writing process, I knew I wanted a collaboration with him on the album. Our goal was to bring a technoid touch while still staying within the trance realm. Ultimately it is up to the listener to determine if we achieved our goal.
The release of the album comes just before a massive summer tour- how excited are you to play the album to dance floors all over the world especially now that fans have access to the whole project?
RITMO: I’m really excited to share this art that represents my entire journey over the past three years.
It’s an incredible feeling to have fans finally access the whole project and experience the journey from start to finish.
I can’t wait to see how the music will be received with fans in different venues and cultures, and I’m excited to create unforgettable moments together on the dance floor.