Ray Angry at Pitchfork [INTERVIEW]
Interview by Sofia Wheelock / Photos by: Roman Sobus
“As a musician, you’re a storyteller. I help people tell their stories.”
I had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing composer and producer Ray Angry at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend. I started the interview by inquiring what his favorite part of being a musician is and why. He explained how music is a form of storytelling and, being an artist himself, he uses music to connect with people and help them tell their own stories.
During our discussion, he explained a bit about his inspiration and where he draws it from. He expressed his admiration for many artists, such as Drake, Stevie Wonder, and Anita Baker and how much they have inspired him and his work.
I asked Angry to describe his music using only one word. He answered with “sensational”. I could not agree more. His music is truly awe-inspiring and incredible and I believe that “sensational” is the perfect word to describe it with.
Next, I asked about his first album and what it was like to release something that was his and his alone after so many years of collaborating with a multitude of different artists. He said “Recording something that’s mine and mine alone was scary. And seeing the fruits of that labor , it’s just, for me that was incredible.”
After this, I wondered if there was anyone in the music industry that he looks up to or is inspired by. He listed off many names, such as Questlove, Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Q-Tip, DJ Premier, Kanye West, and Jay Z. “There are so many people that I’m inspired by” he said. He expressed that he not only looks up to these artists because of their artistry and talent, but also because their creativity and their ethics. He also said that he idolizes some of these artists for their consistency. He stated that “Artists come and go, but the ones that are able to have a consistent career inspire me.”
Some of you may know that Angry goes by the name of “Mr. Goldfinger”. So, naturally, I asked him where this name came from. The story is fantastic.
” I was working with Queen Latifah and Christian McBride. Christian and I were doing something and (this was my first time playing with him. He’s an incredible bass player.) he said to me ‘Man, you’re like a secret weapon.’ And then, at the time, I was working with a friend of mine names Sophia Bastian and she had this crazy idea to pitch a song to the Bond estate, because they were working on the James Bond movie.
I wrote this track and it was very cinematic and we wanted to present it to them as, like, the title song. So, while I was working on that song, she just started calling me “Mr. Goldfinger”. And I was actually like ‘this is kind of cool’. “Mr Goldfinger”, I like this name.
And so I just stuck with it because for me, even though Goldfinger was the villain, for me, my takeaway from the name “Mr. Goldfinger”, was that James Bond was always this character that was always, like, if there was an issue he would handle it. So, that’s been my job in the music industry. I’ve been working in all of these different genres and behind the scenes and no one really knows who I am, and so that’s kind of where it comes from.”
He then said “So, maybe one day I will do the soundtrack for the bond movie! Hopefully they’re listening!”
Next, I asked “If you could collaborate with one musician, living or dead, who would it be?”
He said Prince, because “Prince is music. He’s, like, the history of music. Everything that I love about music…he is the steward of music. So, it’s like, I would get all of those things that I love about music, plus a future kind of vibe from him…Prince is everything. And he’s a hell of a musician, a hell of a songwriter, one hell of a businessman, and a fashion icon…he’s got it all.”
Finally, I asked if he has anything exciting in store for the near future. He said that he is currently finishing his first symphony, called “Black Athena”. The premiere is November 19th in Lexington, Massachussetts and he is extremely excited about that. Black Athena is a film that he is a composer for and it will be coming out later this year on Netflix.
He expressed excitement for being able to attend his first New York film festival for the premiere. It will be his first red carpet as a composer. He is also releasing his first solo piano album called “Ray Angry Three”, which will be released next year as a three album box set. He also started his own record label called “Mr. Goldfinger music” and he is going to be releasing a ton of new music and collaborations.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to speak with Ray, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that we can’t wait to see what Mr. Goldfinger does next.
Pitchfork Music Festival: