Having crushed 2017 with massive original projects and EPs, the Charlotte native known as Ray Volpe hits the ground running in 2018 with the release of his highly anticipated track, “Walk Away” and his remix of DJ Snake’s “A Different Way.” At just 20 years old, Ray has crafted a unique and innovative style that continues to push the progression of the genre, and has caught the attention of heavy hitters in the scene time and time again.
We got a chance to talk to the young producer about his most exciting release yet, “Walk Away,” where his inspiration comes from, and what’s in store for 2018.
2017 was a huge year for you, and with the release of “Walk Away” kicking things off, 2018 is looking to be even bigger. What are you most excited about with this track?
The release itself, really! Just the fact that it’s finally coming out and everyone can finally hear it in full studio quality. It’s been passed around at festivals and shows for a minute now and no one’s really heard the final thing. I’m happy that everyone can finally have it.
There is a ton of anticipation from your fans on this one. What do you hope fans take away from this release?
Firstly, I hope they’re not too mad about how long it took to put this one out! Last year was a huge year, and there were a ton of short-term but great opportunities that came along that I couldn’t refuse, which pushed this release date further and further. I want everyone to be able to jam to this and head-bang at the shows, but also find a good groove to it while just listening at home. I always try to find a good happy medium in my music between heavy and bouncy, dancey, melodic vibes.
You-ve gotten massive support from other heavy hitters on this one—what’s that been like?
It’s super surreal! It’s honestly crazy to call a lot of these guys my friends now. Huge thank you to everyone that’s been supporting it, including those that I definitely didn’t send it to and somehow got it anyway. I love you all!
You also just remixed DJ Snake’s “A Different Way.” Tell us how that relationship came to be.
It started a while ago when he followed me and was just supporting my music, and approached me to remix a song of his. I originally remixed “Sahara” a long time ago, but then the release plans fell through and I turned that one into an original. It’s actually the title track off my last EP, Reality. Once he was looking for remixers for this, a fan recommended me so I replied and he messaged me and sent the stems and it was all magic from there. I’m really happy with the way it came out, and I;m beyond happy with the love and support from him and everyone else on this remix.
You got into production at such a young age. What initially got you into producing and how did you know you wanted to pursue it as a career?
I used to be, like, really into Call of Duty and had a big passion for editing videos and film production. I’d make montages with the gameplay and use metalcore/post-hardcore and electronic music for the videos. I was super into it and thought I’d take a crack at it. It was terrible, naturally, because I was literally 12. Eight years later, here we are!
I think the day I wanted to turn this into a career was after I released what I considered to be a mediocre bootleg remix of “Thrift Shop.” It randomly blew up and had a couple million plays across the web. It gave me this confidence that I didn’t have before and at that moment it really clicked that I loved making music, and I loved seeing people react to it in a positive way. At the end of the day we’re all just button pushers, but I really want my music to move people, whether physically or emotionally. I love this job, for real.
Where do you tend to pull inspiration from for your music?
Definitely my metalcore/post-hardcore roots. I sing in that style, and I constantly think in that way in terms of synth leads. It might sound strange but I work the most when I’m sad. I’ve dealt with a lot of bullying, anxiety, and a little bit of depression over the years. I’m a positive person on social media—I yell and make stupid jokes all the time—but under all of it there’s definitely some heartache and bad times that help spark the music I create. Music is an outlet for me, and I guess that’s why I really want it to help someone else—because it helps me.
In the past you’ve recorded your own vocals on tracks like “Bipolar.” Do you plan on incorporating more of your vocals in your songs?
That’s definitely the plan! I sing on “Walk Away,” though it’s only one line, but I want to incorporate it as much as possible to just add that extra layer of personality to my music. It might not be my normal pitch, but you’ll definitely hear some of my vocals in pretty much every original song moving forward, besides a few here and there. I might even sing on some remixes as covers; we’ll see.
I’ve dealt with a lot of bullying, anxiety, and a little bit of depression over the years. Music is an outlet for me, and I guess that’s why I really want it to help someone else—because it helps me.
In September of 2016 you joined the SLVYVLL roster with other artists like Borgore, Getter, and more. What has that been like?
It was a very natural transition, as all of those guys have already been involved in my life in some way for a bit. The team (Steven, Klint, Adam, and Christina) are all like parents to me and the roster are like random brothers and cousins I go and see when I’m in LA. I’ve definitely learned a lot from the guys. While we’ve all been making music for a similar amount of time, they’ve been big household names forever, so it’s good to pick up some stuff from them since I’m a younger and newer act in the scene. I’m probably closest with Spock, though. I’ve actually known him for years pre-SLVYVLL and he’s easily one of my best friends. Love that guy.
What plans do you have for this year that you can share with fans?
I just launched a soft rebrand of my last logo, redone by my designer Cody Diodato. Lovely boy, he’s the best. I plan on expanding on that over the year as well as putting out more originals and remixes. The big things for the year are in the content, shows and merch, so expect more merch over the next few months, a ton of shows, and some other fun forms of Volpetron content. I’ve started up a Discord and I’m very active in there and always talk to fans and friends, and I plan on starting a podcast this year as well for friends and I to chat about current events and other funny stream of consciousness stuff. Plus some other secret stuff; it’ll be fun for sure!
Any special shoutouts you have before we wrap things up?
Shoutout everyone at SLVYVLL for everything they’ve done for me since I joined the team, as well as Paradigm and my man Daniel at Icon-BM. They’re all my team, but they’re also my family and I couldn’t do this without them. Special solo shoutout to my manager himself, Klint. Under all the jokes and social media fun, he’s a good friend and keeps my head on straight when I need it. He’s also a hell of a manager, love that guy. That’s the only time I’ll be nice to him all year, so you’re welcome, Klint.