Behind The Beat: Raverham Lincoln
Raverham Lincoln aka Conor Brown is a Detroit native and Commander in Chief of House Music. Check out our interview below while you listen to an exclusive mix from the one and only president of techno. Mr. Lincoln will be playing at the Detroit Shipfam Yacht Party on Saturday, May 28th. Check out details and get more information about tickets to the party on our Facebook page.
Only The Beat: First off, thanks for taking the time out of your week to do this with me and with Only The Beat. I appreciate it.
Raverham Lincoln: Yeah, yeah, no problem!
OTB: Let’s start out a little simple here. Who is Raverham Lincoln?
RL: Let’s see…I’m not really sure how to answer that. Basically, it kind of started off as a Halloween costume. I’d really been into electronics. I have a degree in computer science. I came up with this idea to have a Halloween costume that was Abraham Lincoln, but lit up. I had this suitcoat that had lights and EL wire in all the seams. And I decided I wanted a hat or something to go with it, and it just came to mind one day.
As for who it is, do you mean what kind of style I DJ as?
OTB: Yeah. Is it a persona you adopt onstage?
RL: It’s definitely more of a persona. I really like how Daft Punk or Deadmau5 get onstage and they don’t say a thing. They have this cool persona/costume that they adopt. The costume itself is very hard to see anything other tahn the laptop and the decks in front of me, so people don’t bother me nearly as much when I’m wearing it, so that helps as well.
OTB: But to follow up on what you said, tell me a little bit about the style of Raverham Lincoln.
RL: Let me go back to where it kind of started. I was in a fraternity and they needed a DJ, and me and my buddy from across the hall at the same time decided that we wanted to start DJing. I listened to electronic and he listened to rap music, mostly. We got used to spinning both styles at the same time, back to back. So I’ve always adopted a “play whatever” and not necessarily what someone would be expecting. I don’t play things that I don’t like listening to myself. Like you’ll never hear me play the “Wobble.” If you wouldn’t find it on my phone or my computer, then I’m not going to play it.
For now, I spin a lot of house and techno. It’s just what I’ve been feeling a lot lately. I like to spin remixes of stuff that people wouldn’t think of as a remix or people wouldn’t think of as music. One I have a like dropping is a remix of the sound a Gamecube makes when you turn it on. Off the wall remixes like that. Or classic rock remixes.
OTB: I’ve always been a big fan of that. Something that you wouldn’t expect to hear in an electronic set. Something totally random, something that might not fit, but that always seems to get the same reaction, and everyone just gets pumped.
RL: Something that’s instantly recognizable, but at the same time you may not have thought of it as music before. It’s just out there. I also like to mash tracks up against each other, and create the same idea like that.
OTB: I heard that “Exercise in 172 BPM” on your Soundcloud, where you have “Bonfire” and that…Knife Party track…that the name is escaping me.
RL: Because both songs are called “Bonfire.”
OTB: (laughs) Ah, that’s why it’s escaping me…
RL: I like doing that sort of thing too. Maybe the content of the song is the same, but the styles clash, but you mix them in a way that makes sense ultimately.
OTB: You’re from Detroit?
RL: From Detroit! Been in the downtown area for about five years, been in the metro area for most of my life.
OTB: For someone who’s never been to Detroit, tell me about the music scene there. If I dropped in for the weekend, what would I need to know to have the best time?
RL: You need to know a local. We have cool clubs and all, but the best parts of the scene, by far, are the after hours. There’s this one big warehouse that I like going to (I’m not going to mention it here), and I’ve been there a bunch of times and most of the time it’s in a completely different room that I haven’t been in before. It’s this huge industrial complex. One of the things I think is unique to the Detroit scene, especially with the after hours, it they don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl, they don’t care what you look like, you can be in a suit or whatever. Everyone is drinking out of the same half gallon at the end of the night. You’re lucky if you get to choose between cranberry and tonic water.
OTB: Just totally unannounced?
RL: Or they’ve announced it day of. With the warehouse it’s usually whoever is in town that night. Especially someone like Seth Troxler, since he’s from here.
OTB: Griz is from Detroit too, isn’t he?
RL: Yeah, he’s from the Metro area as well.
OTB: So in Detroit you need someone to show you all these parties that you’d never know about otherwise.
RL: That’s where I think the best music is. Like I said, we have cool clubs. The only time I’ve paid $50 is to see Deadmau5, but that’s pretty rare. For the most part you gonna be paying $10-$15 a show and you’ll see some pretty crazy stuff. One thing that come to mind recently is The Belleville Three playing at an art museum three blocks from my house, and I paid $10 to see them on a Monday night. And Kraftwerk showed up. They didn’t play anything, but they were behind the deck chilling with them so it was cool to see them in person and be in that environment.
OTB: I’d love to make it to Detroit sometime. That’s where Electric Forrest is right?
RL: No, that’s on the other side of the state. A lot of people from Detroit go there. I haven’t been there myself. Every year I’ve wanted to go, some other festival has come up. 2014 I did Tomorrowland, 2015 I did Bonnaroo. And this year I did Holy Ship, and I thought it’s not going to get better than this.
OTB: You were on Holy Ship this year? We’re you on January or February?
RL: I was in January.
OTB: I was on January too!
RL: Okay! Who were some of your favorite sets?
OTB: I loved Jai Wolf. Griz was great. What a big surprise for me, since I’m usually not into this kind of music, was Snails. I kind of just ended up in the theater for his set and it was pretty fantastic.
RL: For the Holy Ship All-Stars?
OTB: I mean, that was its own thing. That was a pretty unique experience. That’s the whole point of Holy Ship, right? It’s supposed to be all these once in a lifetime sets.
RL: My favorite one was Hudson Mohawke, who I’ve been following forever. I thought he did a crazy set, and the whole way he was playing around with the speed. And then his second set, everyone went to go see Justin Martin, but I went go I was front and center and he just started playing funk. He played an hour of old school funk. And that was it. I don’t think I’ll ever see that again.
OTB: I’m sure they feel like they’re on the boat and they really do whatever they want and have free range to experiment.
RL: Absolutely. Well, I was talking to Wiwek and he said it’s exactly like that. They’re all partying themselves and they know a lot of these people are there for the party, and a lot of people have seen them and would rather see you spin whatever the hell you want, rather than do the Steve Aoki show.
OTB: We’re you wearing your Raverham getup on the ship?
RL: I was! On the last night I wore it out. I work the suit coat, the mask, and the hat.
OTB: You may or may not have seen it, there was this doge totem, this shiba inu that was running around. There were two, actually. There was a girl that had a bigger one and there was me with a cartoon one.
RL: Yeah, that night was a little bit of a blur (laughs).
OTB: Oh, for sure. I would say it was probably night two before I got any sleep.
RL: I made it from about 10:00 on the morning we boarded to the end of the sunrise sermon before I finally laid my head down. (laughs) I’ve never done that before. Although I got a big weekend coming up for Movement. Once the brunch starts I’m pretty much scheduled through 4am on Tuesday.
OTB: What should we expect for this upcoming weekend? Between the brunch and this Shipfam party, what’s going on and how did you get involved with it?
RL: I’m just a really outgoing person. My buddy gave me a spot on Ship and I thought I may as well meet some of these people. I had done the same thing with Tomorrowland and it worked out really well. I have a bunch of buddies that I still to this day talk to from around the world. I figured I’ll do the same thing with this year.
So I set up a brunch last year and it was really low key. We had like thirty people show up. And this year I know some more of these people and I realized there’s a lot more of these people coming to Movement, we’ll make it a real thing. And I thought I better contact the venue this time (laughs). And they’re cool with it, but we’re expecting a lot more people this year. We have almost 100 confirmed on Facebook and another 200 interested.
For the boat party, kind of like the brunch I wanted to just have a free party for Shipfam to get together as a little meet and greet. And it was originally supposed to be on Friday. I ended up talking to Justin Braun on Facebook and I was planning on going to Chicago and we hung out and talked about it, and we decided we should turn it into something where we can get some headliners. People are in town, they’re spending money, they’re partying…I don’t think they’d be upset if our free party with whoever turned into a paid party with some headliners and a bigger deal, and that’s how it evolved into the boat party.
OTB: On the boat, you’re doing a b2b with Dogma. Have you guys ever met before?
RL: When I was in Chicago last, we were hanging out after the Justin Jay show. We’ve never spun together, but we’ll figure it out.
OTB: What’s the process for spinning with someone you’ve never played with before?
RL: The way I DJ, I prepare pretty long playlists and I continuously add to them. I have one that’s house and techno, and I think it’s like 500+ songs. You feed off their vibe. It’s about communication onstage. There’s a good chance I’m not wearing the glowsuit for it, not just because it’s going to be hot as hell during the middle of day, but I need to be able to talk to the guy, and plan this back to back, especially if we’re not practiced it. I’ll just keep a varied playlist and communicate well onstage.
OTB: Are you at least going to wear the top hat?
RL: We’ll see. I’m not going to say no. It’s something I like to bring it out at night at Movement when it’s cooled down a bit. Plus it lights up. It doesn’t look that impressive during the day, but and night it all lights up and the suit and the mask are sound reactive.
OTB: Oh! Very cool!
RL: Yeah! There’s that element to it, so I’ll bring it out at night. During the day it’s just too hot. I do have a party mullet that I’m probably going to wear.
OTB: All right man, last question here. Boat party this weekend. Knock on wood it crashes, sinks, and strands you on a desert island…What are three things that you need with you?
RL: Well the Eagle Scout in me says sun screen, something to catch rainwater with, and…I don’t know…a large amount of food, but I don’t think that’s a very interesting answer (laughs).
OTB: What does Raverham Lincoln say?
RL: So my top three albums?
OTB: Yeah, that’s a good idea! Let’s go with that.
RL: I’d have to go with 4×4=12 by Deadmau5. Definitely one of my favorites. I’m also going to go with the Marshall Mathers LP. And since I’m going to be on a desert island, I’m going to go with the first Major Lazer album. Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do. I wish they were more into the dancehall sound these days, but it was it is.
OTB: All right man, I appreciate the time again. Good luck on the boat next weekend! Have a good time!
RL: Sounds good!
Get your tickets to the Shipfam Boat cruise party right here:
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