RONIKA’s debut album “Selectadisc” was released a few weeks ago, and it received bloody loads of great press. The NME called her “Britain’s best new popstar”, and they’re bang on, because “Selectadisc” is a brilliant album. You can see my thoughts on the album HERE; but we thought we’d get Ron herself to explain a bit about the album and the incredible success it’s had…

How would you describe your style of music to those unfamiliar with it?
Soulful, feel-good Pop music, inspired by Disco, Boogie, Electro-Soul House and freestyle influences.

When did you first start working on “Selectadisc“?
I first started working on the first material with a couple of like-minded Notts producers about 5 years ago. Me and Hip-Hop producer Joe Buhdha got together with the idea of making some tracks inspired by kinda post-disco sounds and “Forget Yourself” was born there. We were listening to ESG, Tom Tom Club, and a lot of 80’s disco. And then “In The City” was a collaboration with Citizen who’s also originally from Nottingham, with the idea of doing a project inspired by early house.

You’ve had so much National press love for the album; what’s your favourite line from one of the reviews?
The Observer called me ‘Sound-engineer turned disco-alchemist’ so I’ve told my friends and family I’m now only answering to my title ‘the Disco Alchemist’.

In your LeftLion feature, you claimed the most valuable thing you own to be your Boyzone lunchbox; did Boyzone play a big part in influencing the album?
The whole album is influenced by Ronan Keating’s beautiful teeth, his incisors in particular. And Shane’s eyebrow piercing was also an inspiration.

What’s your favourite track off the album?
I’m gonna say “Clocks” because it features one of my best friends and mentors Charles Washington who has been a really important person in my life.

What Notts specific things influenced the album (musically and non-musically)
I grew up going to a lot of clubs and house-parties run by sound systems in Nottingham, I started sneaking into clubs from a young age, around 14, so that’s where my love of dance music which permeates the album comes from. I also lived in Sneinton for 10 years where I had some good times and some hard times, which maybe comes across in the lyrics too.

Can you tell us the story behind “In The City“?
In The City” is about when you live in a city, in an ocean of people, you can get lost in the grind of day-to-day survival but it can also be the most exciting place where you can be completely anonymous, or be whoever you want to be. It’s about how a special person can bring a tired, lifeless place to life. One of the lyrics is ‘On our own we are only one/ But together we are four or twenty / Let make some maths yeah we can have some fun /In the city you’re a piece of many.’

Who are your favourite Notts musicians at the minute?
I absolutely love SLEAFORD MODS, first heard them last summer and it was love at first listen. Finally some real talk and hilarious too. Also really loving KIRK SPENCER who’s new set I caught live recently and blew my mind, and new artist CJ MIRRA who is one to watch – performs in a space suit using magical gloves to control the music.

What would be your desert island disc, and why?
SWIMMING – “Panthalassa” cos it makes me feel like I’m flying.

Can you remember the very first time you went in Selectadisc?
I can’t remember the first time I went in, I remember buying a lot of CD’s, first and second hand from about the age of 13. But I do vividly remember buying my first vinyl in there when I was 15, which was LTJ Bukem – “Logical Progression“.

Can you remember the very last time you went in Selectadisc?
I do sadly, it was during the closing down sale and I couldn’t quite believe it was happening, I was in shock. But I bought James Murphey’sFabric Live“, some Sugarhill, a go-go compilation and a few from the Trojan label series. A sad, sad day.

You’ve had health challenges the like of very few twenty somethings have to deal with, how has that affected your music? And your attitude to music’s role in your life?
The album is full of feel-good, uplifting music because I’m drawn to the kind of music that can take you away from yourself and lift your mood when you’re feeling terrible. Four years ago I got diagnosed with a painful and debilitating auto-immune disease and I was pretty sick for a few years before that too. It came from nowhere and completely turned my life upside down and it’s taken me a long time to get my album out, much longer than I’d have hoped, due to many periods of hospitalisation and long, slow recovery times. It’s unbelievably frustrating but I realised all I can do is work with the time I’ve got, and I also realised that people are actually very accepting and forgiving, so if I have to cancel something it’s not the end of the world. I’ve decided to talk about it finally because I thought it may give hope to other people who may be going through a similar thing… because when I was diagnosed, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do my music anymore which broke my heart, but music is everything to me so I decided I’d find a way and somehow I have. Better late than never innit.

We’d like to thank Ron for taking the time to answer these questions!

Well, as I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s certainly a few interesting insights there. Insights into an incredible pop album, that really does deserve all the success it’s getting. If you’ve not got a copy of “Selectadisc“, then get out from the huge rock you’re under, and get it on iTunes now!

Yours in Love of New Music,
Sam Nahirny x