A dance floor effective tapestry from raw layers of vocally propelled new wave, post-punk and synth pop. As the newly-founded project by Tilburg-based DJ, producer and graphic designer, Raynor de Groot, Coloray infuses powerful, unpolished sound aesthetics with relentless energy.

After cutting his teeth on both the Dutch and international DJ circuit, and nurturing his production skills as member of the Tunnelvisions duo, Coloray translates an inwards desire to create and explore off the beaten path, and does so with a compelling ’80s attitude. This strong backbone in musical undertaking, together with his background in songwriting and vocal work, transmits a unique sound that drifts somewhere between the hazy lines of contemporary electronics and early EBM. A place where dark and vigorous vocal arrangements take centerpiece, alongside driving bass lines.

Following the release of his debut single on Intercept – the record label Coloray spearheads – his first EP recently landed on Atomnation to much acclaim, next to a collab track with Eagles & Butterflies for Art Imitating Life and gracing Innervisions‘ latest ‘Secret Weapons’ compilation. With the future looking bright for the young gun, it’s a pleasure welcoming Raynor into the mix series as he shares the musical narrative of his Coloray project through a DJ mix for the very first time.

Welcome Raynor, good having you here! What’s been happening and where do we find you today?

I’m good man! Weather’s quite gray and moody in The Netherlands, I quite like that. Can get a lot of stuff done.

It’s been a busy couple of months for you. Between the introduction of your solo project; Coloray, launching your Intercept imprint, and maintaining a steady profile as Tunnelvisions, how have things been going? And tell us a bit about these recent ventures of yours.

Things have been going really well so far. Most of my time now is spent on doing shows with Tunnelvisions, producing music for Coloray and working with different artists in the studio for Intercept. It’s quite hectic, with my calendar filling up very quickly but it’s also super fun to do all these different things. Especially exploring a new sound with Coloray and the Intercept artists have brought a lot of creativity lately. I’m starting to notice that the family of artists at Intercept are super close and we all inspire each other. This really pushes me to keep on trying different directions with my music and stay fresh. It’s a lovely process.

Aside from that I’ve mostly been touring shows with Tunnelvisions. We now play almost every weekend which sort of creates this feedback loop of making something during the week and getting crowd feedback and inspiration on the weekends. Really blessed to be in this position.

Incorporating your background in singing and songwriting, you’ve crafted a very particular sound aesthetic as Coloray. You recently told me that the project serves as somewhat of a rebellious outlet to vent certain thoughts, ideas and viewpoints through lyricism – your extended EP release ‘Real Life Cinema’ being the perfect example of this. Can you elaborate on that? And tell us about the record, what inspired it, and what subjects it touches.

I’ve been writing poetry and songs since I was a little kid. But until shortly ago I truly didn’t feel I had anything to say. My songwriting never really had subject matter that connected with my personality or opinions, I always drew creativity out hard to describe emotions.

Because of getting older and especially the experience I gained while performing I started to connect the dots a bit. Instead of writing songs about deep emotions I started writing about super daily stuff and tried to be more vocal on some subjects. I started writing about instagram timeline, finding love in the club and provoking police arrests. 5 years ago I would’ve laughed at myself. However when I tried to combine it with dance music it became an energetic, body stimulating thing. I noticed my singing started to change and reflect some sort of angriness towards the world that I before wasn’t really able to tap in. The music changed too which became much more intense than I had done before. I then really knew that I had found something that felt really personal, so I decided then to release it as an EP. Funny thing is that the whole thing was done in around a month, like a burst of energy that had been waiting 29 years to get out or something.

Your collaborative track with Eagles & Butterflies scored big last Summer, being played by the likes of Dixon, Four Tet and Hunee. How did you end up working working together, what does your collaborative process look like and is their more to expect from the two of you? 

Can’t Stop really was a crazy one. Chris and I came in touch with each other around a year ago. We started talking about music and shortly after we had the idea of doing something together. It was going to be my first time making music with someone other than Emiel (my partner from Tunnelvisions). You never know what you will get. I’ve collaborated with other people before in the past but not always it’s a good match, especially since I’m quite picky with what I like to sing on. It really needs to be a perfect match. Fortunately Chris and I connected really well. The vocal for can’t stop was done pretty quickly. I had writing 3 different vocals on top of a sketch Chris made.

After that Chris started working on the production, sending me updates through the whole process and both seeing what the next best step could be. This was a very good learning experience for me, Chris is a super talented guy who has been around for quite a while. Getting a look into the kitchen and talking with him almost daily made me realise some things about music in general. Chris and I are still chatting about cool ideas we have to maybe one day work on, but for now I think we’re both mostly working hard in the studio trying to get new ideas flowing.

You’re playing Art Imitating Life’s in-store session at Muting The Noise, alongside head honcho Eagles & Butterflies and Perel. Being your first Coloray show, I’m curious to hearing about your vision for the project’s performances and how its clear sound signature will translate into the DJ sets.

MTN is going to be super cool, but it’s also quite different than playing in a club environment. Especially since I’m opening I’m thinking of not going in too hard and just build the mood a bit. But I’m also doing a couple of club shows next months that I’m really excited for. I don’t try to do too many shows, but the ones I do really fit with the sound I play. I’m mostly now exploring a more body driven sound that goes into rave territory. If I had to describe what I’m trying to bring with DJ sets it’s mostly a ongoing hyped up drive, with experimental and weird steps out of bounds. With this mix I really tried to show that in someway. I don’t intend on playing DJ shows forever, since I’m mostly working on bringing this same experience with my own material in the form of a live show. But DJing is a lot of fun, love doing it.

On the subject of Muting The Noise, you recently contributed a track to Innervisions’ latest ‘Secret Weapons’ compilation. Titled ‘Gazing Eyes’, what’s the track about, how did it find its way onto the comp and tell us your personal connection to the IV brand?

Yeah it’s super sick that I can be a part of that compilation. I actually never expected that that would happen. When I was still a bit younger Innervisions was the label I’d always listen to and go to parties from. It was just so heartfelt and real. It resonated very deeply with me at that time. As I got older I found myself listening more and more to indie music and mostly experimental dance music. For me Gazing Eyes was just trying to combine elements from both. The whole thing was done in an afternoon just messing around, hitting my guitar and singing improvised vocals when recording. I was envisioning myself playing a set and people just gazing at me. I fantasized about pointing to the sky, and getting off stage while everybody was looking up. It’s a song about running away and escaping a pressured environment. But this was all thought of after the fact.

When I heard that Innervisions would like to release it, I didn’t really know what had happened. I never envisioned it living in that world they were building, but at the same time it fits so well. Great to see it having gone this way.

Tell us a bit about this mix you’ve recorded for us. Being your first mix under the Coloray alias, what was the general idea for its composition? Any clear vision you wanted to portray, inspiration for selection, atmosphere, special tracks in there you would like to mention, etc.?

I had decided first not to do any mixes with Coloray since I wanted to have my only output be records I had produced. But throughout last year I roughly had an idea of how I’d like to do a mix. I really like to be free in whatever temp, genre or intensity I can play, but it all somehow has to flow in nicely. What I tried to bring with this mix is showing within which bounds my music lives. It goes from spoken word poetry to ebm to rave and breaks. Also I tried to slip some moody moments in there just to make people feel for a moment. I love the Carla dal Forno track in there, it’s magical, especially juxtaposed with something completely the opposite.

What’s on the horizon for Coloray and Intercept?

Making music as much as I can, making a liveshow out of that, helping the artists at Intercept and having a lot of fun.

Coloray: Facebook // Soundcloud // Instagram // Discogs
Photo credit: Suus Waijers

Grab your copy of Coloray’s ‘Real Life Cinema’ EP HERE.
And his ‘Gazing Eyes’ for Innervisions HERE.