Name: Danny ten Nijenhuis aka Rose Ringed

Nationality: Dutch

Occupation: Producer
Current Release: The new Rose Ringed EP In Search for Truth is out via Closed Eyes.

If you enjoyed this interview with Rose Ringed and would like to keep up to date with his work, visit him on Instagram, and Facebook.

Your current EP is titled ‘In Search for truth’. Even if we can't pinpoint truth, exactly – what is it we're searching for, do you feel?

I think everyone has a moment in their lives when someone is wondering about the meaning of life. Most people tend to search for guidance in life, something unbreakable and undeniable like the truth.

Why are music and the arts suitable tools for searching for truth, do you feel?

In the world we created, many approach life rationally, and focus on thinking rather than feeling.

To me, art and music connect people to what they feel instead of what they think. It brings them into the present instead of planning the future or reminiscing about the past.

Why did you decide for a progressive house oriented sryle of music to discuss these topics?

The rhythms you find in dance music, combined with chord progressions and melodies are the most “spiritual” way of sending a message throughout the dance floor. My goal is to tell a story, whether it’s in my music or my DJ sets.

Within the styles of dance music, I don’t choose a particular style; I always start with a chord progression and follow my instinct.

It has sometimes been claimed that the arts can be the new religion for our times. How do you see that yourself?

It seems people still try to find purpose in something. Nowadays it takes different forms than praying to some higher unseeable power. Art is the perfect substitute for that.

Even in the darkest times, people find hope and inspiration in art. If you think about nightclubs and festivals, you could also say this is our new way of going to church. People have always gone to gatherings of some sort because social life keeps us thriving.

Being together makes you feel less alone. We all have this basic need, and many of us seem to find it in dancing together.

What can instrumental music reveal if compared to music with lyrics?

In instrumental music, there is more room for interpretation by the listener.

With lyrics, you are told what the song is about. With instrumental music, it’s less obvious. I also think some people tend to listen to the musical part and some to the lyrical part.

Personally, I mostly listen to the musical section of songs and rarely to the lyrics. That’s why I usually prefer instrumental music over lyrics, also as a producer.

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about the truth as you understand it?

I think music and science do not have much in common. Music is designed to be aimed at feelings, which are mostly irrational and not logical. Science focuses on rational, logical thinking and conclusions. That’s also why there are many scientific successes with exact sciences like physics or maths. Many scientific successes in psychology and sociology are constantly debunked and restated.

Take the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, one of the most important pieces of research in psychology proving that people are inherently bad inside. Years later, they proved that the professor behind it (Philip Zimbardo) falsified the results.

To me, this story shows we shouldn’t always believe what science says is “true”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate for science, and scientific research has given us the most important inventions ever. But too many people base their truth on believing in everything science finds out to be true, yet we all heard of the black swan theory.

Also, there have been a lot of “inventions” in music production, yet the music doesn’t sound better (in terms of what music provokes) than it did in the ’70s or ’80s. Most of us prefer older tracks with their “warmth” and “vintage sound” over the modern over-polished tracks.

Science has improved the production process and made it much easier. But since the result is mainly focused on feelings and emotions, the “scientific improvement” of music doesn’t change the end result (so far).

How does your own spirituality feed into your work?

I've been practising meditation every day, for about 3 years now, which has given me so much. You learn to filter your thoughts and examine them; it makes you see so clearly why you feel a certain way. My music gives me a clear view of the thoughts that come to mind and helps me make better decisions.

I take my “headspace” very seriously, because when I’m creating I want nothing else in the back of my mind that bugs me during the process. Meditation has helped me enormously with this process.

In a previous interview, you've spoken about a "spiritual emptiness" in our current society. Do you think the pandemic has brought us closer to filling that void in some way – or rather made it bigger?

I think it is still there and also even grew bigger during the pandemic. I think the main problem in our society is that we promote the wrong type of behaviours and are currently draining people of their energy and motivations by constantly feeding them into higher dopamine rewarding behaviours. For example, think of the current feed styles of almost every app (Tik Tok, Instagram, Reddit). They are all so addictive, and yet we don’t get a feeling of fulfilment after it.

Apps like Twitter or videos like the trials from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are addicting because they trigger so much adrenaline and excitement since there is some sort of conflict. People are getting sucked in to so many of these addictive behaviours and are unaware of this. While in the past we used to have a form of “spiritual” guidance from the people around us that went to church or practiced religion or spirituality in other forms.

Although religion nowadays does harm in many ways, in its designed form its “guidance” through life is necessary, yet missing for many of us.

How do you see the role of music in this regard?

Music brings people back to the “inner world". That's especially the case nowadays since people mostly listen to music privately. Music could be viewed as a form of guided meditation in the way in which it triggers your feelings and memories, making you aware of unconscious thoughts and feelings.

For example, listening to ambient music while sitting on a train and watching the passing landscape is such a spiritual activity. Music is and will always be a spiritual guide for many of us.

Did you ever have a “moment of truth” during a music performance or listening to music more generally?

You are describing exactly what I’m chasing after in life. The tracks that give you a “moment of truth”feeling.

Somehow I tend to get these mostly with ambient tracks like the time I listened to “Girl Nap” by Brian McBride on Ibiza while watching a sunset. Or the time I shed a tear while listening to “Lost in Music" by Sister Sledge when I was waiting to take the train to the airport in Berlin.

In how far are your current pieces efforts to stimulate such moments within the listener?

Also, you’re spot-on in this question since it perfectly describes what I aim for in creating music. The time I made “God's Power”, I knew I created this moment which would probably be such a moment for other people, too. The first time I played it in the Marktkantine, the reaction of the crowd confirmed this to me. It's the most beautiful thing I can achieve as an artist.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

So although I can't cook, I recently had an epiphany.

I went to a nice restaurant, where they brought three sauces with my meal. I’m the kind of person that just smashes all three of them on the plate, but I realized how putting three very well-made sauces on there at once doesn’t create a better taste. It’s probably more satisfactory if I would take some bites with every sauce apart.

In music, it’s similar. When you have three great ideas that sound amazing, they may not work at all if you put them all on that same track. You have to let go and pick one for a track and save the other two for another type of track.

So, on the one hand, music in terms of the creation process is so similar to so many other creative processes like cooking, making a painting, or shooting a video. On the other hand, something I only tend to evoke through music is that beautiful, inspiring moment you sometimes have while listening to music or creating something new. I’ve never created something in another art form that gave me so much energy and inspiration while I’m in the process as with music.

I guess it’s because music provokes thousands of feelings and memories. And since I’m kind of a melancholic person, it’s the perfect art form for me.