Even if you don’t recognise the name Balistiq, there’s a high chance that you’ve heard the work of East London record producers Ryan Nile and Andrew Stewart-Jones before. The duo’s jaw-dropping career history has seen them collaborate with countless chart sensations including Tinie Tempah, Jme, Delilah and Jessie J, and their impeccable eye for talent spotted many such stars before their big break.
Banding together with like-minded creatives, they recently launched Ulteria, a mysterious new label which has already released its first single, “Purpose”. I invited Ryan to shed some light on the brand and its plans for the future.
Luke: What is Ulteria and what does it mean to you?
Ryan: Ulteria is an outlet for creation, whatever it may be. Music, videos, podcasts that give an insight into the unique perspective of the artists and creators on the label. We want to show that in a world where everything sounds and looks similar, there is something different.
The dictionary definition [of ulterior] is “existing beyond what is obvious or admitted” and “beyond what is immediate or present; coming in the future”. To me, this is what Ulteria means, as everyone is different and has a unique story. We want to help showcase that.
Luke: Love that! Your innovation certainly shines through on your new single “Purpose”; how did the song come together?
Ryan: Thank you! There is always a lot of collaboration at the studio. Out of the skeleton ideas that were started, we as a team felt “Purpose” was the right one to work on and release in time for the summer.
Luke: What put Bellah and her vocal talents on your radar?
Ryan: We were setting up a lot of sessions with new artists and Bellah was one of them. You never know what you’re going to get in the studio, so we’re glad we got this! She has got some cool stuff on the way. So have David [Asante] and Eyes [Adoasi]; they’re all super talented.
Luke: Sounds like quite the team. What does your role involve?
Ryan: The Ulteria creative team ebbs & flows. Hopefully it will become clear as more content drops from the label! There are three founders: Andrew, Tyrone and myself. We all started working together as Balistiq, with Tyrone as our manager. Our relationship has naturally evolved into Ulteria, of which Balistiq is an artist under. My personal role involves a lot of visioning and communicating. We as a team talk everyday on the phone and on voice notes, brainstorming and getting in action. It’s all about momentum, and we’re just getting it going!
Luke: Fantastic, glad to hear it! As Balistiq, you’ve worked with a wide range of artists spanning from Daley and Etta Bond to Jamakabi and Kano; does Ulteria have more of a pop-oriented focus or could anything be on the cards?
Ryan: Anything! We set it up so that we could be free creatively. We want to put out music that we believe in, whatever it sounds like.
Luke: Brilliant. On a different note, do you think streaming services have irreversibly changed the nature of music distribution? Could it be that “CD is dead”? And if so, how would you say this has affected your attitude?
Ryan: I don’t know if it’s irreversible. If you look at the resurgence of vinyl, it shows that people do enjoy the physical experience of listening to music. I think people still value “offline” experiences, but as internet becomes faster and cheaper, it’s only a matter of time until most of the global audience is streaming.
This has changed my attitude in terms of being able to deliver more, quickly. We no longer have to wait around for ages to get something out. We can capture a moment and get it out in the world fast.
Luke: That’s a very good point. You’ve also got artists like CASisDEAD releasing music exclusively to cassette and giving fans no other option than to buy a copy!
So where do you see yourself in a year’s time? Anything exciting in the pipeline that we should know about?
Ryan: Exactly. Big up to CAS. This year ahead is all about releasing good shit. In a year’s time, I want you to go onto Ulteria.co and see various bodies of work and videos, and to come to shows.
We’ve got new Balistiq music coming, some solo stuff both Andrew and I have been working on, and some music from an act we are yet to announce… it should be an exciting year.
Luke: Amazing, I’ll be eagerly awaiting new music in that case! Thanks Ryan.