Music and family always remind me of some of the greats like the Jackson 5. For Unarine “Una Rams” Rambani, music and family met in his parents’ church as a child. As the sons of the pastor, they were involved in the church with his brother on the keyboard and himself on the drums. This was the beginning of Unarine Rambani becoming Una Rams. Over the past couple of years Una has been recording and posting music online to Soundcloud, and today his music can be found on platforms like Tidal, Spotify, and iTunes to name a few. I first encountered Una Rams as a feature on Leslie “T.O.M” Muzuwa’s cover of ‘Twice’, originally by Little Dragon, and have listened to his latest EP ‘PINKMOON’ regularly ever since. Keen to talk to the man that T.O.M spoke so highly of in his April interview with Misa Narrates, of course I had questions!
Q: Why are you studying Computer Sciences at the University of Pretoria?
A: I always wanted to become an inventor of sorts…but it sucks because when i was in high school i didn’t like circuits in physics. Eventually, I thought that because I always loved computers and I always wanted to create things, I could be one of the people bringing change in the world. As much as I get to be creative and influence change through music, for my studies, when I was choosing what to study, it was as if Computer Science said “come here my son”.
Q: You mentioned to me that you are currently independent and enjoying playing around with different sounds because of that. Right now, who are a few artists that you draw inspiration from?
A: I draw inspiration from a lot of different places. Although of the top artists I would have to say Frank Ocean first, but he really must release that album now. Another is Chance the Rapper because he’s just amazing. I also love Allan Kingdom; he’s such a slept on artist. Finally, I think PARTYNEXTDOOR is like a musical brother to me; his sound is so interesting, like I actually don’t have words.
Q: What song was it that you released that prompted you to continue releasing music
A: As much as I don’t want to say it, it was more of a dance or trap song. People vibed with it, I mean people in South AFrica love a good trap song. When people request that song, I cringe a little because that isn’t exactly the sound I want to continue with as much.
Q: When I first approached you with this interview, one of the things you mentioned in your responses was “we aren’t talking about love enough…” When did love become your muse?
A: I fell in love, that’s like the simplest answer to give. When we were starting on the project with a friend of mine, and we were just thinking about what we were gonna do with it, he looked at me and said “You know what we’re gonna call this? PINKMOON.” From then on I just thought about all of the moments I used to spend with my girl, and that totally shifted the whole purpose from what was meant to be a rap EP, but after that it took a different turn.
Q: What was a defining moment of recording PINKMOON
A: The late nights are probably my most memorable when I was recording with Abacus. Some of the tracks ended up being dark and break up like, but the one thing I always want to emphasize is that music has to be able to make people feel something…either from their own experiences, or through connecting with artist’s experience. Abacus would tell me stories, for instance, and those stories and feelings would seep into the track. But otherwise we also made happy, corny, music.
For the one song, Testify, CT and Dr. Jazz invited me over to their place this one night. I didn’t have much money at the time, but I still went and we hung out. We were playing around with different sounds and eventually just ended up watching a movie before we crashed. The next day, after watching Straight Outta Compton I felt so inspired by Dr. Dre. I woke up and started working on a beat, and one by one Jazz and CT woke up. When they got up, they started working on things with me…everything felt right. Eventually I got Jazz on the track and that’s how Testify came together…that was one of the best moments I had recording PINKMOON.
Q: At what point did you decide that your music was ready to be sold?
A: I had a conversation with CT and he seemed so passionate about the people he was working with making it in this industry. He’s the one who first got me to think about selling my work. In South Africa, everyone is so used to getting music for free on datafilehost, even from some of our bigger artists, so the listeners have gotten complacent with that. For me, I really wanted to penetrate markets in other countries, so selling my music on different platforms or even just having PINKMOOON there would help me do that.
Q: You mentioned wanting an intimate crowd , but we often see in the music industry that when you’re the hottest thing out there, you’re booking out stadiums, concert halls, etc., so we don’t always liken intimate crowds to success. For you what does success in this industry mean?
A: At the end of the day I have to be able to live off whatever I’m making, but success to me is getting to a point where I’m able to influence…it just has to be about influence. There are specific things that would be great as well, though; so charting on playlists, getting called out to perform at different festivals, and also to be able to meet and one day collaborate with some of the artists that I look up to are all things that I would use to define success in this industry as well.
Keep up with Una Rams!