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Exclusive: Raffertie in the mix

Ninja Tune polymath Raffertie ends the long wait for a full-length album with an exclusive mix

For quite some time now, Raffertie – aka 26 year old Londoner Benjamin Stefanski – has been gaining attention as both DJ and producer. On 5 August, Raffertie will release his first full length album, Sleep of Reason, the result of years of patient musical development, and an album that paints a much more intimate picture of the man behind the decks. Whereas the former EPs promoted hectic, powerful beats and erratic manipulation, Sleep of Reason points toward a more emotional, contemplative realm of electronic music.

In anticipation of the release, Raffertie talks influences, the writing process, and his exclusive mix for Dazed Digital.

Dazed Digital: What were you aiming to achieve with this mix?

Raffertie: To take the listener on a short journey through a few tracks I have been listening to recently as well as some snippets of music from my forthcoming album.

DD: How important is the combination of contrasting sound genres for you? 
Raffertie: Extremely. I dislike the idea of genres but I believe that contrast and variety is crucial in maintaining interest for both listener and creator.

DD: How has the move from releasing EPs and extended mixes to creating a full-length album affected your sound?
Raffertie: Writing an album was not what I expected, it was a lot harder than I anticipated, but it is a process which has given me much more perspective on how and why I do what I do creatively. Consequently, my sound is now much more clearly defined compared with my previous output. It feels as though it has come into focus more.

DD: How would you describe the final product in comparison to the sounds of your earlier tracks such as "Antisocial" and "Visual Acuity"?
Raffertie: Those early tracks were what they were for their time. As time goes on your approach to things changes and so it is here with Sleep of Reason. The album is the result of many experiences and much time spent thinking about music. For my debut album I always wanted to dig deeper and produce something with many different facets; it was never about creating a club record regardless of where I started out with the Raffertie project. 

DD: Vocal lines seem much more prominent on Sleep of Reason. What do you feel their inclusion brings to the record as a whole?
Raffertie: Many things: a new voice, a different texture, an augmented pallet. I took a while to work out exactly how my voice sits in my productions but I was resolute on making it work. It seemed more genuine than using lots of featured vocalists. 

DD: In the run up to Sleep of Reason you spoke about the cathartic quality that you feel is inherent to music. How important was this to the writing process and the final composition of the album? 
Raffertie: Absolute. As I said in that synopsis of the album which you are referring to I feel that a lot of music can't help but be cathartic on some level and Sleep of Reason expresses a lot of my own feelings about a number of things, although much of it is not directly about me.

DD: What did you feel inspired by you whilst you were writing the album? 
Raffertie: In no particular order: memories, places, people, music (past and present), the sea.

DD: Has the founding and subsequent growth of your label, Super, been beneficial to your own music?
Raffertie: It is hard to say. I get name checked now and then when the label, or an artist we are releasing, is mentioned on a blog, or in a magazine, but whether or not they knew I ran the label before that, I have no idea. If they didn’t know hopefully they might be interested to find out more. 

DD: What do you feel is the next step for your music?
Raffertie: For this album the next step is to play it live and tour that live show. The live set is really taking shape so I am keen for people to see it.

Writing wise I have lots of things going on at the moment, writing and production with other artists, some commercial work and I have not really stopped writing new Raffertie material since finishing the album so I will continue to pursue that also.

Click here for an exclusive stream of Sleep of Reason on Spotify.