‘Picture’: A conversation with Rafael Cerato

‘Picture’: A conversation with Rafael Cerato

Rafael Cerato, based in Aix-en-Provence/Marseille, is a respected artist known for his blend of emotional and percussive sounds. His music is characterized by impactful basslines that combine elements of pure house and classic influences.

Photo credit: Rafael Cerato – Facebook

With a thoughtful approach to releasing music, he has gained recognition on labels such as Diynamic Music, Systematic Recordings, and Stil Vor Talent. In addition to his musical pursuits, Rafael also manages his own label and organizes events called Ritual.

Notably, in 2020, Rafael released his debut studio album titled ‘Requiem’ on Marc Romboy’s Systematic label. With a decade of touring experience worldwide, including performances alongside Solomun at Ibiza’s Pacha, Rafael has established himself as a sought-after artist in the international club and festival scene. Recently, he released his first mini-album, ‘Picture,’ on Diynamic Music, followed by his second studio album, ‘My Reality,’ on Systematic Recordings in June 2024.

In an exclusive interview with EG, Rafael Cerato discusses his latest release, explores his creative process, and shares insights into his future projects and endeavors.

EG: Hi, Rafael! Welcome to When We Dip. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? How did you start your year?

Rafael Cerato: Hey guys! Thanks for having me here. 2024 started off nicely, with lots of meetings with my team to plan the entire year’s plans, etc!

EG: Congratulations on the release of your installment for Diynamic’s ‘Picture’ series! You must be psyched to finally share this one. What has the initial reception been like so far?

Rafael Cerato: Thank you! I am super happy to finally be able to share it. As you already know, the Picture series is really famous on Diynamic and very special. That’s why I’m really proud to contribute to this project with 6 new tracks representing my music spectrum. The reception has been massive, starting with Solomun who played all the tracks non-stop over the last months, also from the Diynamic team, and now with the official release, I’m getting superb feedback and support. I couldn’t be happier!

EG: Diynamic’s ‘Picture’ series is meant to serve as a snapshot of an artist at that point in time. What kind of picture did you want to convey? How do you view the record as a whole?

Rafael Cerato: Yes, you are right. This is the concept of the Picture series on Diynamic. I really wanted to create something unique, full of diversities, and show some experimentation that I’ve been working on over the last months/years in the studio. It sounds different from my previous tracks, and I wanted to show all my influences from the beginning, when I started to produce music 15 years ago.

EG: Having “only” six tracks to showcase your moment, what was the creative process like for you? Did you go through more tracks than just the six that made the final cut? Were all of these exclusively created for this project?

Rafael Cerato: So basically, I was producing a bunch of tracks that could fit a global project like Picture. But the idea came from Solomun and the Diynamic team to build a Picture with these 6 tracks instead of a “regular” EP. The idea came from the diversity of tracks that I sent to them over the last months, and of course, I loved the project.

“I really wanted to create something unique, full of diversities, and show some experimentation that I’ve been working on over the last months/years in the studio”

EG: By the way, there are three collaborations in the package, including works with Thomas Gandey, Astrid James, and Laherte. How did these come about? Had you previously worked with any of them?

Rafael Cerato: Yes, for Thomas Gandey, I used to work with him in the past, and he always delivered super nice vocals. That’s why I wanted to make a featuring with him in a really different vibe, more hip-hop/rock, and I love the result. Regarding Astrid James, it’s the first time that we’ve worked together, but I fell in love with her voice and skills. She is a young vocalist from my city, and the future looks bright for her. And regarding Laherte, it was our first track together, but since then, we already have a bunch of unreleased stuff coming later this year. It was a pleasure to work with him. I love his universe, and he is such a talented and nice guy. This track is the only co-produced track of the release; other tracks are just vocal features.

EG: You’ve been around for quite some time. What does the scene look like to you at the moment? What are some of the biggest changes you can foresee for 2024?

Rafael Cerato: Well, over the last 10/12 years, I’ve seen many things evolving and changing in this industry. Some good and bad sides as always, but I think we can be super happy that many “real” new producers are developing amazing music every day. It’s also a source of inspiration to meet new generations of beatmakers, and I love to learn again and again and experiment with new things. For 2024, I think visuals will grow up again as an experience in clubs and festivals. It was a huge jump over the last 2/3 years, but for me, because of this, sometimes the music is pushed to the background unfortunately. So as an old school man haha, I would prefer to go back to the music as the first experience, closing your eyes, dancing, and not filming or doing videos of visuals only. But it’s just my own opinion.

EG: Stepping out of the studio for a bit… Over the past years, we’ve seen a huge rise in acts or concepts that depend on these immense screens and eye-watering visuals. Do you think this enhances the musical experience? Or is it taking too much away from the actual music?

Rafael Cerato: Yes, as I said before, from my point of view, it adds an experience to the music, but when it becomes too much, it’s never good. I mean, the music needs to stay the center point of the experience, and visuals add something on top and not the opposite.

EG: Also, the use of AI in music has become quite common after its initial introduction, which raised many eyebrows. What’s your stance on this? Have you contemplated its possibilities? Do you find any potential uses enticing?

Rafael Cerato: To be honest, I’m still a bit old school, so I’m not really into it, but as I said previously, I love to experiment with things, so for sure, one day, I will try it, but I’m sure that if you use it in a good way, it can add many crazy possibilities.

“The music needs to stay the center point of the experience”

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for Rafael Cerato? What’s in store for 2024? Where can your fans catch you next?

Rafael Cerato: In 2024, the music side will be really nice. After the ‘Picture’ EP, I will release a new EP on Systematic Recordings, and then we will start the promotion of my official second full studio album called ‘My Reality’ LP,  also on Systematic Recordings. We will start the promotion with 3 singles every 3 weeks until the official album release on 7th June 2024.

I will also release a remix for Vintage Culture’s new album, one remix on Bedrock, and another single track as a contribution to the 20-year anniversary of Systematic Recordings around August 2024. And more to come, but I will keep some secrets for now.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Rafael! We wish you all the best for the future. Take care!

Rafael Cerato: Thank you, guys! It was a pleasure. Ciao!

Rafael Cerato’s ‘Picture’ is out now via Diynamic Music. Stream and download here.

Follow Rafael Cerato: SpotifySoundcloud | Instagram | Facebook

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