A graduate of both our BTEC and BA (Hons) in Electronic Music Production, Rewan Leach has worked as a DJ, run his own record label and hosted several radio shows, yet recently he longed for a change. From the ashes of his previous projects came his new alias Pluvio and the formation of the Sinewave Collective, a new venture looking to reconnect listeners with electronic music on a deeper level. We caught up with him to learn more…
Tell us a little about your journey into music production, how you first got into making music and what led to where you are now?
"I grew up with very strong musical influences who got me listening to the right kinds of music from an early age. Bit of prog rock from my dad, old school hardcore from my mother, and a plethora of metal/rock and punk from my auntie. Having that passion for listening to music quickly grew into wanting to start playing it. I began playing guitar in a few metal bands, but by 15 I started to steer into the dance music scene.
"Naturally I wanted to have a hand in creating some and quickly picked up FL Studio. At the age of 16 I started producing and DJing as Raptus, whilst settling down on Ableton Live making Dubstep and Glitch Hop.
"Through the years I ran my own successful Glitch Hop label ‘The Glitch Shop’. I also hosted radio shows with the UK Glitch Hop collective, played alongside the likes of Audio, Skope & Kursa as well as releasing a track on the same album as Black Sun Empire.
"It was all quite exciting, but I felt my drive getting a bit stagnant in more recent years, so I decided to lay all those projects to rest in order to explore a completely different venture with Sinewave Collective, and my new downtempo project Pluvio."
You’ve played a big role in the inception and launch of Sinewave Collective, which recently released concept compilation album Jord|Earth. How did the idea for the collective first come about?
"The sheer genius of the concept came from my good friend Alf (aka AMPRO) just over a year ago. He’s currently working as a music teacher in Norway and is an extremely talented producer and bass player from the Conservatory in Tromsø. He designed the label as a creative course module with his students so they can get first hand experience regarding music industry related stuff.
"Alf reached out to me with this ambitious concept and it just resonated with me. I hadn’t felt so excited about a project for years. Together we want to give the content we put out a bit more thought than whether it would pop off in a club. We want to change the way people connect with music by telling stories with our content. Not just so it stands out from the rest of the music out there, but because it’s what we’re passionate about. Our ultimate goal is to give our audience the feeling of being immersed in another world, not just cool beats to nod their heads to. There’s room for that as well, of course!"
You mentioned that desire to reconnect listeners with electronic music that wasn’t just ‘dancefloor bangers’. Were you disenchanted by the current state of the scene?
"Not entirely, as mentioned - we do love dancefloor bangers! Who doesn’t? But personally, I don't find myself listening to dancefloor-oriented music all the time when I’m at home, on the bus or kicking back with friends. I have started to gravitate towards labels such as Upscale, Night Owl Collective and VALE as their music has purpose and clear intentions. You can feel it, and you know you can guarantee solid output with timeless quality.
"I guess that’s what we want to achieve, we want to give people music they can take anywhere with them. We also want to give an audience to the producers out there that simply want to do 'that little bit' more than just making sounds. There’s a lot of them out there, but with no real platform available to help them pursue these ambitious and creative ideas"
How did you get everybody involved on the album?
"A lot of the artists involved with the project are ones that both myself and Alf have worked with prior to Sinewave Collective, however Alf rounded up most of the roster before I joined the management side of things.
"We’ve spent a lot of time networking with people, by either releasing on the same label as them, joining certain forums (such as the Neurohop Forum) to meet other producers, or just straight up messaging people whose work we admired and start sharing music privately.
"It also helped that I have experience in running my own label, as it’s helped build up quite a large network for us to work within. So between us, reaching out to people was the easy part. We wanted a nice mix of quite established people, and those 'hidden talents' you find lurking in the depths of Soundcloud that you know deserve way more exposure than they are getting.
"Interestingly, one of the artists, Evoke, who is from Colorado, came over to London for a trip and we met up for the first time after working with each other for about 7 years online. We had coffee and we discussed Sinewave Collective for quite a while among other things, and next thing you know he’s on the project too!"
What’s extra special about Jord | Earth is that it’s not only a collaborative effort between musicians, but also artists, graphic designers and writers. How did the process differ when working in so many different creative avenues?
"It was a task, and it meant a lot of online meetings through discord. I think it was a lot more collaborative than just releasing a various artists album. We spent more time discussing the vision with each member of the team, rather than just accepting a submission and moving forward.
"In terms of writing the concepts we had to pin down each musician/producer to get them to detail their idea and vision. Some even sent us storyboards with pictures to further emphasise their ideas. We would then work together with Lor, our writer, to interpret and elaborate upon their idea to establish a more concrete concept. We then had to figure out how to 'knit' each track/chapter together in order to build a more cohesive, overall story.
"As with the animators, it was quite simple. We had a vision, and they did their best to recreate it. Andrew Pierce, who is our main man for animations just inhaled our ideas and exhaled magic. I think it’s really important to have that clear communication and understanding. You don’t want to spend too much time trying to explain the concept to someone who isn’t really getting it. Andrew just feels it, and comes back with something more incredible than we’d anticipate!"
The video for Ekcle’s track Floating Phonics was featured on the Sunday Brunch show at the beginning of June. How did they pick up the track?
"We were very lucky to work with Ekcle in the first instance, being both extremely talented producers and working tightly with Inspected we weren't sure we could pin them to the project. We ended up working closely with their manager Azren from Analogue Dawn, who has spent a lot of time to help build their publicity through the BBC Radio, UKF and various other media outlets.
"Azren wrote to us out of the blue to inform us that he'd managed to contact the team over at Channel 4 to organise a feature on Sunday Brunch, leaving both myself and Alf quite shocked to be honest. I guess it was all down to timing, and working with the right people around the right time. We are extremely grateful for Analogue Dawn and the rest of the team that blessed us with that opportunity."
How did your time studying at dBs Music help prepare you for a project such as this?
"Up until I started studying at dBs, I never really knew what I was doing at all. I was just messing around with Ableton, watching YouTube tutorials and desperately pushing my music in front of everyone without much understanding of mixing quality etc. Now I give my music more time, and a lot of thought before sending off demos.
"I learned so much about industry during my time there too, things I never would have considered if I hadn’t studied. I matured a lot through my studies too, and I think that helped me interact with people a lot better. The most valuable thing was having the advice and support from the staff there, outside of the modules that we were being taught. Just having the freedom to ask someone with experience, and knowing you’ll get a well-thought response.
"I started up my own label during my time at dBs and I got a lot of support from peers and staff there, which definitely put me in good stead for pursuing a career with Sinewave Collective."
Are you already thinking of your next release and will you be following a similar concept-album route?
We are indeed! Jord|Earth is the first of four ambitious projects we have lined up, (but far from limited to) and they will be following the theme of the elements. It’s important to detail that each album will correlate both conceptually and sonically with each element; giving each project a chance to explore different avenues in electronic music, and less feeling like a series of 'Various Artists: Vol. X,Y, Z' compilation albums. We have very different ideas on how to approach the next element after learning so much from this first project."
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"Look after yourself, especially your mental wellbeing. If there’s anything I’ve learned from studying, writing music and just life in general is that it’s so easy to forget who’s most important, and that’s yourself. Especially given the music scene, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in other people’s perceptions of you, and your work.
"You begin comparing your work against other producers, wondering if your latest tune will 'go off' in the clubs, and the worst one is social media stats. The thought that people struggle by measuring their success through how many plays it gets on Soundcloud baffles me. Some of the most incredible producers I’ve had the pleasure of coming across usually have very little following to begin with.
"It creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety, which in turn inhibits workflow and puts up creative blocks. It restricts you from connecting yourself to the music, as you’re too busy trying to connect everyone else to your music.
"I recently changed my alias after 9 years, started writing from the heart, and have not had this much fun producing since I first started. So yeah, have fun with it and remember why you started writing in the first place. Your mind is responsible for your creativity, and if it’s not looked after then your creative process could suffer."
Where can people find out more about you and your music?
Everything you need to know about Sinewave Collective can be found on our website www.sinewavecollective.com.
Recently all the projects I was working on have dissolved, but if you want to check out what I worked on prior to Pluvio & Sinewave Collective then you can check out www.soundcloud.com/raptusuk and all my labels releases can still be found through https://theglitchshop.bandcamp.com/
You can also follow my side project Krimp & Squiffy if you are all about not taking anything seriously, and having fun with music. 180bpm minimum ;). www.soundcloud.com/krimpandsquiffy