A Letter From The Editor
Pure isn’t a word I often use, and I don’t mean to use it in the ‘The Oxford Dictionary defines…” kind of way. I want to use this word in a way that describes something that is ‘fresh’ without contamination of what came before. Pure in the sense of honest emotion, of truth to ones self. Pure in a sense of progression. It is this way that Cero Rio is pure, pure Future Funk
DnM: Thanks for being here tonight Cero.
Cero Rio: Thanks for having me!
DnM: It’s my pleasure. Before we jump into the thick of it, why don’t you tell the readers a little about who Cero Rio is.
Cero Rio: I’m a music producer based in the United States, been doing it for about 16 months now (started in January ’16). I mainly produce in future funk, french house, and a little lo-fi.
DnM: Great! Now, before you started making Future Funk you really focused on ambient / instrumental hip hop. Why did you make the switch of genres?
Cero Rio: I grew up on a lot of 70s/80s funk and 90s R&B. Most of what I did in my early productions reflected that, until I started hearing the Future Funk genre and saw this was more up the alley of what I wanted to produce. It also helped me broaden a genre I’ve not been too engaged in some time: house.
DnM: That’s cool, so you were exposed to some old groove based music, grew up with 90s R&B and starting producing hip hop music. Then got into Future Funk as it was more your style.
Cero Rio: Yeah, it also helped me expand my music library haha.
DnM: This kind of brings me to my next question. Future Funk has some heavy Japanese / Vapor wave influences, which from what I’ve seen you enjoy, so how did you get exposed to that sort of culture in Alabama Birmingham
Cero Rio: The internet more or less, because it wasn’t here in the city at all!
I love Dragonball (the 80s one), and I was introduced to Maitro’s Dragonball wave about a month after it came out. Elfamosodemon‘s youtube I believe.
This was about summer ’15, I heard “Kid Goku” and instantly bought the album. There were a lot of sounds in that album I really didn’t hear before. When I did more research on it, I found out it was vaporwave.
DnM: You must have stuck out like a sore thumb with those interested in a small city of Alabama. But I totally get now how Future Funk was more ‘up your alley’.
Cero Rio: Well nobody stole the aux cable from me in the car yet, so far so good!
DnM: That’s the kind of action that can end friendships. Glad to hear you’re exposing people to the sounds of FF. Now when you broke into the FF scene, how did you overcome the fear of releasing new music? Music that isn’t 100% in your opinion?
Cero Rio: I always look at my music in retrospect, since initially I never release a track unless I was completely sure it was something I wanted people to hear. Later down the road, you learn new things and new techniques that make you go “well damn, I could do such and such better on this track.” I can get by with new music being released on two conditions: if I knew O did my best with the knowledge I had when I was working on it, and taking in reception in a constructive fashion.
DnM: Good for you man, know that there is always more to know, be happy with what your capable of and don’t take criticism to heart. Any advice for those who struggle with perfection or just releasing music?
Cero Rio: Don’t release everything you make (I made the same mistake before) and don’t feel you need to release in such a short amount of time to stay relevant, have quality control with people you trust in music. Also know that as with a lot of things in life, take your time. Nothing should be labeled as a race.
DnM: Great advice. Don’t rush, quality of quantity and trust your connections in the industry for honest feedback. Your future funk is slightly different than the standard sample based stuff out there right now. How do you go about setting yourself apart from the others?
Cero Rio: Entry level future funk producers usually gravitate towards j-funk/j-pop samples that many people have done in the past. There are a lot of untouched genres that could work in Future Funk and sampled house. When I started, some of my early tracks were sampled from acid jazz, 90s R&B, video games even.
DnM: Nice the sounds of Cero Rio really have been accumulating for a long time
How did you try and represent this in your first/fourth album Towards The Future?
Cero Rio: I wanted to portray a single story with multiple sounds/genres for sampling. It was a combination of close friend recommendations, my mom’s tapes, and my music library. I went from jones girls to brandy; Himiko Kikuchi to Jazztronik, all included in this album. It was a lot of trial and error over the summer where the bulk of the work happened, but I do hope people enjoy what I created over the past year.
DnM: This sounds like it was a very personal album to you. Heavily influenced by your friends, family and your own unique identity.
Cero Rio: It very much is!
DnM: Cool, well it’s fantastic. Now, we’ve talked a lot about Future Funk, and I’m curious to hear your opinion on the culture and community of the genre. I’ve heard a wide range of perspectives.
Cero Rio: First of all it’s a young community, some people are half my age and been producing longer than I have. I had no idea. But aside from that, the community has been very welcoming and I was able to join a collective to help promote my music and make connections within the genre.
DnM: That’s great, collectives are such a good way to build community and get feedback.
Cero Rio: It helped tremendously, I was able to talk with a lot of other FF artists, improve my own production, and get a better idea of exactly what sounds I want to create.
DnM: I want to end this with the question I ask everyone. It’s really to get an idea of your ideal experience. If you could do any drug, with any person, past or present, who and what would it be?
Cero Rio: Cocaine with Rick James, easy.
DnM: Cocaine is a hell of a drug…Thanks again for staying up late and doing this.
Cero Rio: no problem, thanks again for having me on