Ramesh – „Valentino“ – Track Premiere

Ramesh “Valentino”

Ramesh (Photo: Daniel Everett Patrick)

Ramesh, thanks for premiering „Valentino“ with Kaput, highly appreciated. I feel a familar vibe here. What is the track all about?

Ramesh: The song is a stream-of-consciousness meditation on my many experiences in gay clubs – and in clubs in general – balancing the impulses of hedonism and the longing for deeper connection. When I first started going to Optimo at age 19, I was blown away by the dark, alien-sounding records they played…one prime example being Throbbing Gristle’s “Hot on the Heels of Love”. The mood felt sinister yet simultaneously filled with joy. I have experienced this same dualistic essence in most of my favorite clubs, such as Berghain and How to Kill the DJ. Sonically, this song is an homage to those places.

There is this one lyrical line from the Pet Shop Boys I always connect with nightlife: „We all look better in the dark“. True or not true? And why so?

I used to think that was true, but more and more I find that my attraction to someone is based on knowing the true essence of that person. In a club environment one gets glimpses of that, but I need to experience them in sober daylight to feel fully connected.

Would you say that you are a big clubber in general?

Mathematically speaking, not at all, meaning that I go out infrequently. I choose my occasions vs. being out simply for the sake of being out. That said, I still feel very connected to club music, particularly when I am DJing.

What does a night out need to offer to activate your lust for getting on?

For me it’s all about the quality of the music…I was spoiled by going to Optimo (Espacio) every weekend for three years, so now my standard is very high! I’m half-joking but I do intentionally look for events that will push the boundaries of my music knowledge.

Ramesh (Photo: Daniel Everett Patrick)

Gay culture and gay nightlife is incidental with a let´s say more open and free aproach to sex as we know it from most heterosexual contexts. Why do you think this is (still) the case, Ramesh?

In some ways it feels like the birthright of gay people — that although we are often marginalized by society, as a trade-off we get to experience more pleasure. The tricky part is that eventually the endless indulgence in pleasure ceases to be fulfilling and you become aware that what your heart desires is a deeper foundation and structure. Conversely, I’m sure many heterosexual people experience a desire for more freedom and pleasure, so in the end everyone meets in the middle and that is how we know that all human beings are equal.

At the same time your album „Eternal Spring” is all about love and deep feelings for what seems a specific person – a contradiction or just the natural flow of the inexplicability of your existence?

More so the latter. The years spent making this album were very transitional for me, lots of “shadow work,” as it is known in the therapy professions. For anyone who is not aware of this term, it means investigating our sense of shame in order to understand its roots and free ourselves from it. When I started making this record I was in a very difficult place, emotionally, and have slowly made my way to a happier one. Part of this transition was realizing how much I want to be in a committed, loving partnership, which is something I had never truly wanted before.

Which leads me to your album title „Eternal Spring“. The cover shows you sitting in front of a little pond in front of an open landscape.
First I am interested in where this was shot? It looks amazing.
And second: you sit there with closed eyes. What did you think about?

My talented friend Daniel Everett Patrick took that picture — he was also the cinematographer for the Eternal Spring music video. The picture was taken at Enchanted Rock, which is about two hours drive from Austin. It is my favorite place on Earth and is where I go when I need to feel at peace.

When I’m there I think a lot about eternity, about what my presence is beyond my body and mind. It is the biggest question of all but somehow feels answered by the silence of the landscape. I was either thinking about that or I was thinking, “I can’t wait to get off this mountain and have a beer.” 😉

The album is pretty versatile and explores multiple sound horizons from energetic pop to ballad-esk moments and finally club tracks like „Valentino“. What connects all the songs for you?

They represent the different kinds of music that I love, and therefore I feel that they represent different parts of my spirit. I go through periods of thinking that my music should be streamlined into a specific genre, but ultimately it never works because it doesn’t feel like a true representation of life. The human experience is complex and diverse, and I want my music to express that.

How does „Eternal Spring” relate in your eyes to your 2014 solo debut The King?

When I was making The King, I felt very lost and I think that is reflected in some of the music…not in a bad way but I do feel there is a certain sadness that permeates the album. The making of Eternal Spring was much more an exercise in self-empowerment and in trying to find peace with life. It’s still something I’m working on but I feel more solid inside than I did ten years ago.

Ramesh, how important is Austin and the community for you these days?

It is more important than I would have anticipated. Not only do I find a lot of peace in feeling at home in the place where I was born and raised, but I am grateful to still be embraced by its robust music community after so many years. If you have ideas and initiative, there are lots of other people here who also want to make stuff happen.

Austin changed within the last decade quite heavily and is on top of the list of expensive cities in the US these days. What made you come back to the city after some time first in Glasgow and later on in New York and Los Angeles?

When I came back a few years ago, I planned on leaving again right away. I had just been dumped by a man who I thought was going to be my life partner and I wanted to get as far away from him as possible. At a certain point, though, I had a clear realization that my pattern of running away from heartbreak and other challenges was not serving me, and so I decided to stay and work as hard as possible to make my life happy and stable.

The video to „Eternal Spring“ is dedicated to the “LGBTQ+ people everywhere“ and includes quite a lot of what I guess is your own community, right?

Actually, the people in that video are all people I met last year in New Orleans. Ted Joyner from the band Generationals introduced me to choreographer Diogo de Lima, who in turn found all the locations, dancers etc. The video required a lot of work but it would have been much more difficult without Diogo’s help. I owe him (and the New Orleans community in general) a lot of gratitude. As I said in the Brooklyn Vegan press release, I wanted the video to be a love letter to the particular powers I perceive in LGBTQ+ people… a certain strength, resilience and beauty.

What is your current favorite club track?

It’s eleven years old now, but I recently found this track by Digitaline called “Africa” (Cadenza Records). I am in love with it!

As today, Friday, 4th of March Bandcamp waives their revenue share, Ramesh is going to donate all purchases made today to Ukraine Crisis Fund.
“Valentino” is vailable for purchase and streaming on his Bandcamp site starting at midnight, and the full album is currently available for pre-order.

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