Newfound music producer and senior Christian Ragain released his first studio album, “PAiNT,” on Aug. 24. Its nine songs encompass modern jazz and hip-hop influence with a personalized synthetic twist.
Classically and jazz trained on the piano, Ragain took piano lessons throughout his first grade year before stopping.
Ragain said of his early years, “I just played whatever I wanted and, being the kid I was, there was a lot of like (television) show and video game music I would play on the piano. And then freshman year I was like, ‘Oh I’m not as good as I want to be in comparison to other trained pianists,’ so I started practicing more.”
Even though producing music is something Ragain has “always wanted to do,” he didn’t believe it was within his “financial ability,” until he met senior Owen Ragland, a fellow music producer with an album, EP and single out. Ragland helped with instrumentation on three of PAiNT’s tracks, while Ragain composed the rest. Ragain described Ragland as a large contributor to the album-making process, along with senior Sam Hayden with graphics and senior Sammy Toskin with backup vocals.
Ragain said, “Working with other people makes it all so much easier. Even though it’s my album… I wish it was all the artists’ (that contributed) album… In my opinion, the music just gets better with the more people that contribute. It’s cool to see how much the music can expand with the more people that work on it.”
Difficulties presented themselves in the process, though, also.
Ragain said, “We just go wherever we need to go. That was probably the most frustrating part, is that we left a lot of songs unfinished for months. For example, ‘Idk,’ we made in like a day. It was crazy. Basically, we record until we run out of energy and then we’re like, ‘Oh, let’s make a new track.’”
Ragain’s favorite part of making the album was, “ figuring out that was something I had the potential to do…Being able to, as a 17 year old, release music onto Apple Music and Spotify and say that I can do that and that it’s all done.”
Ragain said, “I didn’t even know I that I was making an album until after about three of the tracks I had actually made. I was just making songs and I was like, ‘oh these sound good together.’ I made ‘idc,’ the beat for ‘Airhead’ and the beat for ‘The Good Goof Interlude(Interlude)’ all before I knew I was going to make an album.”
Ragland said, “Christian as a producer to me is someone who has taken a lot of different influences and tried to bring them together. I think this release is really a culmination of a lot of things he’s been working on over time, which is really cool, but I also am excited to see what his future works look like as he begins to develop more with his own style.”
As far as an overall message goes, Ragain said, “Even though these aren’t really my lyrics or my words, if my music can make someone feel something, that’s the goal. That would be amazing to me. It doesn’t matter what message you get from it. Just, a message.
“In the same way that Owen inspired me to do this sort of thing, I hope that someone is like, ‘Wow, he can do that at 17; maybe I can too.’ This is something you can do with a little bit of work and a part time job.”
This be will Josie Krueger’s second year on Echo staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized by MIPA and JournalismSTL for her work on the Echo.
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