Ralphie Choo Is Blasting Off

A supernova is a stellar explosion that shakes space so much that it can be detected far away from its location — a solid metaphor for Ralphie Choo‘s first album. SUPERNOVA, released last year, managed to shake up the European music scene. No one could have guessed the phenomenon that this 14-song album was going to be — instantly reference-able and already inspiring new and veteran artists both musically and visually.

The Madrid-based musician has built around his debut a cryptic and personal world that seems to pull from the most enigmatic corners of the internet and its confusing virality. From “GATA” to “MÁQUINA CULONA,” each of the songs are pieces that make up the puzzle that is Ralphie Choo: fun, unpredictable, enigmatic and experimental.

Still in the throes of SUPERNOVA, Choo is preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the album, which will unleash several unexpected surprises in September. Below, PAPER chatted with the musician about navigating the music industry, working with friends and his style influences.

Ralphie, there is no doubt about the success SUPERNOVA has had, and I want to congratulate you. Now that some time has passed since the release of the album, how would you describe the experience?

I am super ultra grateful with the reception it has had, the first and second chances. Now it’s starting to feel a bit distant, maybe because of the speed at which music is consumed nowadays. And I would like the life of these projects to be at least as long as the process of creating it, although that doesn’t depend on me. Even so, I’m enormously happy and embracing the new opportunities it has given me.

Could you share a special moment from your adventures with SUPERNOVA?

I remember the first trip we made to London to work with Mura [Masa] and then to LA to meet the team. We were three kids barely aware of what was going on around us that barely knew how to speak English, and we defended ourselves as best we could. But based on pursuing the future that we had in mind, we knew how to surf it and, above all, discover the world and have a great time. We called this state “surfing squirrel.” We didn’t know very well what was going on, but we got used to the uncertainty. In this music business, there is a lot of smoke, desires and promises until you get something tangible.

You are also making your way into the U.S., and I’m curious about your perspective on the Spanish and American industries, what differences have you noticed between the two?

I’m not really that into the American market. Most of my audience is Spanish-speaking, but I do see more and more international artists recognizing the place that Spanish and Latin music deserves and the cultural diversity it has.

If you had to move to the U.S., where would you go? Is there a specific reason for choosing that city?

If I had to choose, I would say New York because of the social bustle and the confluence of cultures. I feel that it is a city that welcomes people from different places, where they nurture each other in a reciprocal way to get an opportunity —the city where you go to achieve your dreams, too romantic.

As consumers, I think we live in a moment that feels saturated, not only in music, but in entertainment in general. Every day there are new releases of songs, movies and series. As a singer, what do you think about this hyper-stimulation?

Obviously, art-related professions have democratized, and this feeling is very noticeable in music in particular. Having made a song with a beat from the internet is super common now. I don’t think it’s bad at all. Everyone is free to do what they want, and I really believe in anyone who dedicates time and love to it. On the other hand, I think songs will drift towards a shorter and shorter format that’s pleasurable, like a sniff of poppers, and a counter-response will be generated, as with everything,

I have been able to attend several of your live shows, and I want to know a little more about your way of building them. We have seen visuals of all kinds, from live shows on Zoom to appearances from Rusowsky and Tristan. How do you prepare them, and where do you get the ideas?

I really don’t know. I don’t think I have to be the one to answer that question, maybe because of the experience and the amount of sensations and emotional stages you go through. It takes you to places, takes you out of them, introduces you to characters you identify with, brings back memories. It’s like looking back at a photo to remember an era or a person. I don’t know. As for the live shows, we try to introduce elements that don’t belong to that field, resources to interact with the audience and amplify the experience and arrangements that add a point to the live song while respecting the original version

In your concerts you wear a kind of transparent mask, and your style has a lot of personality. What is the place of fashion in your projects? Do you pay attention to any specific designer? Do you have specific references?

It occupies a super important place. I’ve always been interested in fashion and aesthetics, playing with having another identity to inspire and create sensations of any kind. I have a special devotion lately for the masks and hiding the identity that lies behind. I also think that we are not something static, but a process. This is influenced in the way we express ourselves through changing the outermost layer we have. Now I’m wearing a lot of Bikkembergs and Marithé + François Girbaud.

I have to ask you about “Dolores,” the song you did with Rusowsky, which is a real anthem. It’s been several years since the release of that song. Where does its magic lie, and what relationship do you both have with that acclaimed song?

It is the first song we did together, and we’re affectionate about uniting to make it. But things change. Tastes change, and we see it with different eyes.

Since we mentioned Rusowsky, you maintain a great friendship with him, Mori and Tristan. How important is your relationship with them and how they influence your music?

Well, they have influenced me enormously. I assure you that I wouldn’t make the music I make or focus on the details I do if it weren’t for everything they have taught me. We are partners in life and in our profession, and we all get involved in each other’s projects.

Photography and direction: Pablo Mas
Creative and movement direction: Muriel Seiquer
Art direction: Marta Ochoa, Yosi Negrin
Post-production: Pablo Rivera Gento
Styling: Jon Mikel del Valle
Makeup: Hugo Trix
Makeup assistant: Laura Romojaro
Hair: Gorka Larcan
Hair assistant: Brais García Martínez
Lighting: Claudio Oca
Production: @paubelr, Xabier Fernán
Casting: Celeste Casting
Cast: Seju and Xiandong Sun via Uno Models, Layla Novas via Salvador Agency, Terese Aguado, Adassa Navarro, Sun Weihang via Zerek Studio, Marlon via Isla Management
Commissioner: PBM
Special thanks: RUSIAIDK,
Manuel Jubera

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