Ras Om

We got in touch with our man representing Highest Frequency on the other side of the pond, Ras Om, aka Imari Collins. We talked to him about beats, tattoos and life.

Saving Grace 8 years ago

Good morning Imari, (or is it afternoon or evening where you are?), how’s it going mate?


You just recently put out your new album The Bukowski Tape, tell us about the idea behind it and how you made it?

I’m a huge fan of Charles Bukowski’s writings. His style meshes really well with my mentality on life and music. I made one track using some vocal samples from him, and it made far too much sense to merge the two for a whole project. Look At The Sky (instrumental version) was the first track completed. the Bukowski Tape was made using Fl Studio 10, and Native Instruments Maschine. Also all vocalists, with the exception of Landon Wordswell and Sir Francis(Franky) are affiliated with Dojo Dungeon and The Rebel Alliance.What’s your affiliation with Dojo Dungeon and Rebel alliance?

Who are those cats and what do they do?

I started as just a bedroom producer and then The Morlocks picked up some of my instrumentals. I collabed with them often enough for them to add me to their in house label. Same thing happened a few years later with Rebel Alliance after working with Home Grown, Ron P, Amanu Kaiju, and Adad. Landon Wordswell is a cat in Portland Oregon, but was in Bloomington for a good while. He’s the vocalist for She Loves Me Not on the Bukowski Tape. Sir Francis is a cat from Normal Illinois. He is affiliated with a group called the Plexicats here in town. Dope musicians all around. I’m the kind of musician to work with as many musicians as possible, as long as I think they will aid in progressing RasOm’s music.Musically speaking,

How would you define your sound?

Hmm. I’d say I base my tunes on more of a hip-hop/trip hop format, but I love experimenting with styles from the likes of Flying Lotus, Shlohmo, and heavy vibes from Madlib and J Dilla recently.

All dope influences!

How did you get into producing,  I know you’re a multi instrumentalist, can you tell us about that?

I went through the concert band courses ever since elementary school, starting with the low brass (baritone, valved trombone and euphonium). Throughout the years I’ve picked up lessons in different instruments and have learned to play a few of them by ear. Granted I’m no professional at most, but it certainly helps me when composing newer material! Haha.

Do you ever compose using samples of instruments you’ve played yourself?

It has been a long time but I have before. If I sample real instruments now, I usually try to incorporate friends. I’ve sampled friends playing ukulele, drums, piano, and I have sampled Diego Aguilar playing guitar quite often. He is a guitarist who used to be in a metal band I knew, As Blood Will Tell.There’s a lot of talent coming from your part of the world. Who’s on your musical radar at the moment from Chicago?

The cats from the Push Beats crew are killin it in Chicago right now. Also be on the lookout for Greenlights and Bad Wolff. You can find them on soundcloud.

You’re also a visual artist as well, can you tell us a bit about Smokin Aces and how you got into it?

I’ve been tattooing at Smokin Aces in Downtown Bloomington, IL for about a year and half now, but have been working here for a few years. It all started with me hanging out at the shop til they put me to work. haha. I also helped put the shop together from the ground up during the summer before it opened. It pays to know how to use Photoshop and the like in this industry, and I had the computer knowledge they needed! I’m glad I stuck with this job. I love the intimacy of this artform and it’s very therapeutic to do art in this medium.

How much does artwork play a role in your musical releases?

I generally make all my own art for my albums. However, they usually get made last and I base my art on the sound of the full project. I’m working on getting some photos your way, just need to get them from the photographers.

Who is your favourite Highest Frequency artist?

I’d have to give it to Surreal or Orrest. They’re killing it with their sounds. Very progressive.Definitely.

Your forthcoming release is The Lost Files on Vitalistik Records, how did this come about and when’s the release?

I posted my last release, The Bukowski Tape, on a page one of the Vitalistik artists was also on. He, Jared Haberman, linked me with the label head and put together a collection of tracks to be used more as a ‘portfolio piece’ or ‘intro’ for them. A day or two later, I was signing my contract with them. I’ve been very fortunate to work with such open individuals recently. Networking is key for me, as I’m still a ‘bedroom producer’ and all. The album drops on May 15th, actually, so in a few days.Man you never seem to cease being creative, it’s a real inspiration to see.

What’s next for RasOm?

Thank you! That means a lot. Next, I have a project in the works using strictly Native Instruments’ Maschine and no samples. I want to show people my composition styles with a very cinematic vibe. It has been in the works for about a year now. I love sample based music, but I feel that every musician needs to understand what it took to build those instrumentations we flip so often.

Where can people go to hear RasOm sounds?

Imari, thank you for your time, it’s been a pleasure. All the best for the future fam, stay blessed

Not a problem man! Thank you for the opportunity and listens

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