Rez Vidal, born as Ruben Rosario, is a DJ/producer from Tampa who knows all the best ways to create high-quality electronic music. According to his bio, Rez Vidal states that “music is a universal form of communication”. Music is a communicative form that allows expression of thoughts and feelings through tones, “even when words can’t express the depth of emotion”.
Rez Vidal is also a multi-skilled instrumentalist as he knows how to play the flute, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass and he can sing as well. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with Rez Vidal, a talented artist who also has experience in the film industry by editing dialogue and scoring films. Check out his music from SoundCloud and Spotify below and also pre-save/pre-order his upcoming track, “Church Fight”.
Kenny Ngo: Your birth name is Ruben Rosario, what is the reason for having “Rez Vidal” as your artist name?
Rez Vidal: “Rez Vidal” (pronounced: Rez V-dal) is actually like a first name, last name type deal. The just happen to come together as my moniker. Most people just call me Rez or Ruben.
I got the nickname “Rez” while I was a student at USF (University of South Florida). I got sick twice during one semester as I got Bronchitis and Pneumonia, both of which I highly recommend against. One day, walked up to some of my friends who hadn’t seen me since I got sick, and they flipped out, saying I resurrected like Lazarus. Rez stuck, though I could’ve been Laz Vidal or Lazarus. I might use that for track title and idea.
Vidal is actually by birth middle name. It’s my grandmother’s maiden name Sylvia Vidal (Garcia). My great grandfather, Alfonso Vidal, came from a wealthy Spanish family. They disowned him when he married my great grandmother, Genara, a dark-skinned Puerto Rican woman. My parents gave me the middle name, and it’s a part of my history I carry with me, so much that it’s also part of my stage name.
Why did you decide to become an electronic music producer?
I grew up listening to a lot of Hip Hop, story-tellers like Slick Rick, Biggie Smalls, Nas, and Jay-Z. Music was an outlet, but I was only using it to make beats for freestyle rap sessions. I started looking at music differently when I went back to school for my audio production degree. In fact, I fell in love with the expression and rhythms of dance music, particularly Trance and House Music.
I started listening to Carl Cox, Armin Van Buuren, ATB (which was a throwback to my party days), DeadMau5, in addition to all of the metal artists I started following after high school and through college and my time in the military. The common theme in all my musical interests was expression. I could hear the emotions in the music, and I saw electronic music and synthesis as a way to express my emotions in a raw way, bringing the influences of my life into my sound.
Before you started your music career, what was your life like?
It was completely different. Don’t get me wrong; music has always been a huge part of my life. I just had other focuses, especially since I began a family as I was finishing college. I served in the United States Army as an Arabic linguist and interrogator and deployed to Afghanistan.
In 2011, I left the Army to be closer to my family (now five daughters), and I continued working in support of the Department of Defense. Later, I worked on music and going back to school to learn the skills I needed to make my music career a reality all the while. My goal is to show my children they can achieve their goals if they take the necessary actions. My family has some awesome adventures. I just get to spend my work time in a much different and creative way than before.
Since you’re currently based in Tampa, how is the music scene like over there at the moment?
The music scene is blowing up in Tampa. COVID-19 slowed down shows for a bit, but things are picking back up. There is always a show to play or attend. Someone is always releasing a new track, and it is a good environment to be in if you can stay focused.
According to your official website, your latest mix shown is Bump In The Night. The mix is described as “Tech House with Texture”. How was the production process for the mix like for you?
Bump In the Night was my outlet during a particularly difficult time dealing with my PTSD. Part of the time I felt like I was the creature going bump in the night, and I wanted to capture that. It was darker than my #Glutenfree project. The production was fun and I used same process I normally use while making music.
I normally start on my Maschine Studio by recording a simple four on the floor, high-hat groove if I’m feeling a house track. Then I open a few instances of Serum and play the chord progressions, basslines, and melodies in my head. The order everything comes is irrelevant at the time because the sounds have to fit together.
Then, I tweak the sounds as I go, playing with stereo width and EQ as part of the sound design. I come back to the drums to further tell the story, adding in fills and designing risers. Afterwards, I bounce out the stems and do my mixing in either Logic Pro X or Ableton. Sometimes I spend days just designing sounds, but that’s the most important part to convey the emotion. The tracks stay upbeat, but the sounds demonstrate the ups and downs I feel.
What was your favorite song from Bump In The Night?
This is a difficult question. Each one was my favorite when I made them. There are three that resonate with some of what I currently feel: “X-Axis”, “Equinox”, and “Settle It”. The fun of those tracks are the layers of sounds that peak out when you don’t expect, but it fits.
You are planning to release a single for a side project. May you please describe what this single is about?
Sure. My side project is “Wala-Wala”, and it’s a collaboration with a close friend of mine, Will(iam) “Wolfpack” Hernandez. We met several years ago while playing gigs, and I commented that he looked like he got attacked by a killer koala because he had a lot of marks on his neck. He laughed, and it became an inside joke. We started calling each other Wala in chats, sending koala memes, and Wala-Wala was born.
The single, Church Fight, is a dub-riddim’ track if I had to describe it. Most of the track names come from how the track sounds, and this track gave us both a cathedral type vibe as we put it together. I had Will close his eyes, listen to the track, and say the first things that came to mind. Everything came back to a contrast with the cathedral vibe, and we chose “fight” to describe that contrast.
The track is about contrast and diversity, the fight for balance and equality. The tension builds as the promise of something safe lingers in the melody, through the first build. The second build is the darker reality, the daily grind. The drop adds a deeper sub, giving a physical sensation for the reality and uncertainty of what we felt while we were producing the track.
Will was expecting his first child, and everything with the social injustices and political climate added with COVID-19 left a lot of uncertainty for all of us. The track is about how all the realities exist together; from the promise of better, to the daily grind, to the anger, rage, and uncertainty in ourselves reflected by society.
Aside from producing music, you also edit dialogue and score films. How is it like working in the film industry as well?
It is awesome, sometimes stressful. It’s exciting because I get to talk to the actors and the directors. I get to further the expression of the scene and create the extra tension in a very real way. This is one of our goals with Hourglass Productions. Aside from publishing music and editing for films, we want to make feature films. Every project is a step towards achieving these goals.
One of the films you worked on was Tubi, He Watches Over Me. What is the film’s synopsis?
The film is about a woman who is sexually assaulted and is left holding the fate of her attacker. The film is powerful film co-written and directed by Shaun Garcia. The cast includes the beautiful and talented Golden Brooks, Orlando Eric Street, Tommy Ford, Alfred Rutherford, Saasha Small, RJ Pacheco, Andre Shanks, and Angela Rice.
This was the last film Tommy appeared in before he passed in 2016. The crew and cast came together with our assistant director, Jenn Pinto, and makeup artist Magen Grays. You would have never known that these people didn’t know each other before filming. That’s part of the excitement in working in film.
If COVID-19 dies down, which locations outside the United States do you want to visit the most?
I want visit Dubai and Israel because the mixture of culture and tolerance of Western lifestyles make both places interesting. I want to see Australia’s beautiful wildlife and scenery, and I would love to go throughout the Mediterranean. The beaches look beautiful, and the culture is rich and diverse. The world is full of places I want to see, so long as I get to experience those things with my best friend and wife, Jen.