Pierre Ravan interview

The Dubai-based DJ and producer talks us through his latest KaRavan compilation album, ahead of its launch at Barasti on May 7

We have to give Pierre Ravan credit for ambition. How many dance producers do you know who view their compilations not just as collections of great music, but as spiritual and emotional journeys?
Yep, exactly.

Soul Liberation, the fifth edition of Pierre’s yearly KaRavan compilation series, continues the themes and structure set by its predecessors, as Pierre explains. ‘Every year there are two CDs, one representing light and one representing dark, which form a journey from soulful, deep house music – the light – to darker and more progressive sounds. I tell people, “Don’t treat this like an ordinary compilation album and just play any tracks; try to take the journey from start to end, and take a little time to digest it.” I put a lot of effort into editing the tracks together, adding a capellas and things, to make it into something special.’

The CD is being launched with a special 12-hour set at Barasti on May 7, so we thought we’d ask Pierre to run through the highlights from the album and explain how they fit his vision.

Afternoon

CD one, track two: ‘Bittersweet’ by Jay ‘Sinister’ Sealee and Louie Vega feat. Julie McKnight
‘Imagine it’s 3pm, the sun is shining and this tune is playing. It’s not chill-out music – the kick is there – but it has this soulful sound with an oriental guitar and organic percussion, as well as beautiful singing from the incredible Julie McKnight.’

CD one, track five: ‘Eyes Should be Washed’ by Pierre Ravan and Spin Science
‘The lyrics of this track are a poem by Persian poet Sohrab Sepehri; it’s an atmospheric, soulful deep house track that we built around the vocals – they are too beautiful to place on just any music. He talks about closing your umbrella to get wet; it’s about being blessed by being exposed to the world.’

Sundown

CD one, track eight: ‘I Want’ by Scope
‘The sun is going down and I’m pumping it up but keeping that deep edge. This song is slow to start, but the voice loops in and the track begins to play with your emotions, makes you feel more intense and takes you to the edge. It gets you up on the chairs, ready to party.’

CD one, track 12: ‘It’s Gonna be All Right (Help is on the Way)’ by Deep Zone feat. Ceybil Jefferies
‘You’ve come out, you’ve sat there thinking about your problems, you’ve listened to the day music and now it’s dark. The track is saying, ‘It’s all going to be all right,’ and the music turns from that sunny Balearic sound to a darker edge that pushes you out to the dancefloor.’

Darkness falls

CD two, track four: ‘Xiba Chant’ by Marco Fracasso
‘You’re in the dark now and there are these African drum beats, and this voice is singing “Xiba Jazz” over and over like it’s a kind of spell. The beats keep coming and they’re layered with these electronic samples and rhythms, as the music becomes more techy. It creates images of voodoo in your head.’

CD two, track eight: ‘The Rhythm of Life’ by Formation Soul
‘This is so beautiful; there is this voice saying, “This is the rhythm of life,” and there is this “wowowowow” sound and you feel as though someone is going deep inside your heart and bringing something out, you know? The track also has this hard, techy sound that really connects on a human level.’

Early hours

CD two, track 10: ‘Say What!’ by X-Press 2
‘It’s midnight now and this beautiful remix by Yousef is the ultimate track for this time of night, because you want to sing along and get taken higher and higher. And you think you can’t stay up there, but I manage to keep you there.’

CD two, track 12:
‘Kalimba’ by Steve Lawler
‘This is a dark, twisted, tribal tech sound with hard drum beats, a very strong bassline and voice hypnotising you with this repeated word: “kalimbakalimbakalimba…” You can’t leave the dancefloor.’

CD two, track 13: ‘Soul Good’ by Roland Clark
‘This deep house remix brings you down again. A voice says, ‘The soul is good, it lives inside you, you have to listen to it,’ and the last part of the Soul Liberation message is told: you must preserve the soul inside you. And the whole journey is finished.’

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