Like The Phantom of the Opera, Ouici lurks in the shadows, composing genius arrangements. Ouici’s Ricardo Del Mundo Jr. once answered to the moniker Ric Notes, partnering with the crème de la crème of hip-hop: Drake, Shad, Blake Carrington. Chances are Ricardo’s already ravaged your headphones; Ouici’s good ear for music helped Keys N Krates‘ first full-length record Cura, released February 2nd on Dim Mak Records, hit 700,000 SoundCloud streams and counting. His sentiment? “#ifuckincreate.”
What planet did Ouici come from? Toronto doesn’t count.
Coming right off the bat with a question like that, eh? Hmm, I come from a planet where people celebrate their differences, where creatives are encouraged to create, not duplicate. Originality is paramount. Imitation is frowned upon. Family is everything.
Where did you encounter Greg, Adam and David [Keys N Krates]?
I’ve actually known Greg for a very long time, since his days as a world renowned battle DJ. We actually went to the same high school. I was running a home recording studio at the time, and he used to record his mixtapes there. We grew up on the same music, shared a lot of musical tastes. I think that’s one of the reasons we vibe out in the studio well together.
I met Matisse shortly after that, when he was still singing. I remember seeing him onstage, rocking out on his keytar, killing it with the vocals and thinking he was super dope. We were introduced by a mutual friend and worked a little bit on some songs after that. I’m glad he’s finally incorporating the keytar into the Keys N Krates shows now. This was all before Keys N Krates was formed, maybe before they had met each other.
Adam, I didn’t meet until a couple of years ago when we were working on the ‘Midnite Mass‘ EP. Great dude, super funny. Great engineer and a magician on the drums.
How does your participation on their debut studio album Cura differ from the Midnite Mass EP?
Those two experiences were actually very different from each other. ‘Midnite Mass,’ I think they were near completion, when they came to me for some contribution. It was done, all done, remotely through email. They sent me a couple things they wanted my input on, and we’d go back and forth through email like that. For ‘Cura,’ they brought me in very early; I think at the very beginning, and most of the work was done in their studio together in person. I contributed to four songs on ‘Cura,’ two on ‘Midnite Mass,’ totally different experiences, that led to very different outcomes I think but equally challenging and fulfilling.
Where was 2013’s She Dreams in Sound LP constructed?
‘She Dreams in Sound’ started as a simple concept in my head: what would it sound like if I dreamed in sound? Probably an amalgamation of everything I’ve ever encountered sonically in my life. I took that concept and just started trying to create that. Combining music I loved from childhood up until the present and trying to make it sound as cohesive and as interesting as possible. It’s layed out like a night’s sleep, starts off with a song that has elements of a lullaby and ends with what sounds like an element from a song but turns into an alarm.
So to answer your question, I guess a lot of it was constructed in my mind, and the rest was done where I create the bulk of my music, in my studio at home.
Why or why not would Dim Mak Records be ideal for Ouici’s next release?
I actually have a couple of projects nearing completion, all very different from each other. I know Dim Mak is primarily putting out festival music right now, but they do have their roots in non-conventional music, so it’s hard to say. I think the ideal label is any label who believes in the your vision and has the resources behind them to reach anyone and everyone that needs to be reached. I think Dim Mak has those resources, but do they believe in my vision?
How does an aspiring entertainer “make it,” without an extensive social media following?
Hmm, I can answer this question in a lot of different ways. I think it depends on someone’s definition of “making it.” If you are an artist that’s striving to be a popstar and making huge hit songs, then I think it’s next to impossible in today’s musical climate to make it without an extensive social media following. Social media following is super helpful in so many ways. I think it’s a great gauge for your fanbase, your outreach, your growth. I can go on and on.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to sustain myself and my family financially, through music, so maybe I’ve “made it,” but I’ve done it by diversifying what I do and to continue growing as a musician. I started off as a producer, mainly of hip-hop/rap music, but I kept working on bettering myself, with composition, melody, learning new instruments, working with new people. Since then, I’ve scored commercials, a documentary, had my music in films. Now, I’m “Ouici” the artist and deejayed and performed under that name too. I’ve also started prototyping some electronic instruments that I hope to release in the near future. That being said, I believe an extensive social media following is always helpful, so it’s definitely something that I’ve been working on and trying to grow.
When should supporters expect a tour to ensue? Your son will be on drums, right?
Wow. You’ve done your research, eh? I would definitely love to have him on the drums. He definitely has the skills for it but has some issues getting on stage right now; we’re working on that.
I’m in the process of putting together my ideal live show right now. I’ve done shows solo but recently been working on getting some people together to make the experience something greater than the music. I think live music is so important and is sort of lost in a lot of ways in today’s scene, but I think we can expect a mini tour as soon as all that is taken care of.
What about staying low-key entices you?
I don’t know if I’d say it entices me. I think it’s just how everything fell into place organically, an extension of my personality maybe, but I do think it allows for more creative freedom, directly and indirectly, being able to make whatever the fuck you wanna make.