Pop artist Ridg Downs releases his alluring, sophomore EP, 'Neon Skies.'
Hailing from Iowa, Ridg Downs is a classically trained Singer who grew up in the world of musical theatre. He has taken this love with him all the way to Los Angeles where he has made the transition to the Pop flavor and energy conveyed in the catchy tunes he carefully crafts today.
Growing up in Iowa with his roots in the Midwest, this truly left an imprint on how Ridg’s heart and morals operate. He carries a burning passion for the environment, mentally challenged students, and suicide prevention, especially in LGBTQ+ youth. If he can do one thing with his music, he wants to ensure he makes an impact.
His captivating songwriting skills were not always the focus of his mind, but through college, he realized his unique talents of using everyday commonplace life experiences to build the foundation for his early songs and it took him to the skilled techniques we know and love.
We are over the moon with, “Go Away,’ as the introduction track on, “Neon Skies.” It launches with the melody of airy and distorted synths grazing through the speakers before we are introduced to Ridg Downs’ vocals illuminating the surrounding area.
The smooth essence of his voice exudes a fiery passion while singing the hardships of still having someone who has left a dramatic impact on your life on your mind. The nostalgic 80’s Electro Pop vibes create a vivid and up-tempo dreamscape while the mesmerizing hook, “I don’t want you to go away, I just want you to go away,” has us all singing along.
“Taking My Breath,” initiates with the driving of warm, charismatic electric guitar chords to kick this song off in a heavy manner. The elements in the instrumentation give off a variety of moods as components alter as the record progresses. Ridg Downs emanates a certain magnitude in the confidence he uses to deliver this radio hit, Pop forward melody. He showcases a wider vocal range we’re drawn into this up-tempo bop that has us tapping our fingers and toes long after the track has commenced.
We now enter the instrumental layers of, “Really Don’t Care,” initiating the third song on, “Neon Skies.” Melodic guitar chords panning from left to right take us into a blissful utopia as we are introduced to this record. The catchy snaps literally snap our attention to the beautiful words Ridg Downs vocalizes. His charming vocals embrace us in a warm blanket of reassurance.
The memorable words in the hook that offer a message, “I don’t care life is hella unfair. Beggin’ no one to stay by my side. You scared,” allows us to fall into each word performed. The instrumentation takes a more mellow approach on this record but still remains upbeat with each powerful kick drum and snare hit.
The final song on Ridg Downs', 'Neon Skies,' is “Back Into the Fire.” This eminent record is by far the most laid back record on the EP, but that doesn’t mean it takes the back seat.
As the record begins, we are once again transported to an ambiance that only Ridg Downs can set out for us. The distorted layers before we dive into instrumentation begins, allowing us to regain our focus. Everything from the vocalization of each beaming word sung to the dreamy, ominous guitar solo during the bridge gives, 'Neon Skies,' a triumphant finish with each component radiated.
'Neon Skies' allows us to transport our minds to a place of nostalgia and bliss. The progression through this project truly gives this record the sonic voyage it deserves and we can’t wait to hear what is next for the passionate, up and coming pop artist.
This project is truly a sonic voyage and we really enjoyed the tracklist placement to create the vibe that is set. What mindset did you go into this with when picking the placement of each song?
Thank you so much; I am excited to join the BuzzMusic community! As you heard, each song is hand-selected to go precisely where it is placed in the set so that when you listen to the EP from top to bottom, you experience a coherent storyline. ‘Neon Skies’ picks up where my debut EP (‘Midnight Scars’) left off. It takes you from the torment of wanting that person who broke your heart to go away but also stay in your life, to the moment where you stand up and you tell yourself that this person who once took your breath away is not going to do that anymore.
Then it leads into even more self-confidence and realization that this heartbreaker doesn’t get to just come around when they want to and talk with you or ask you for favors because, at the end of the day, you really don’t care what they have to say. The EP ends on the note of acceptance of all that has come before and all that will inevitably happen again by stepping back into the “fire” of the dating world, ready to be “burned” again.
What does, 'Neon Skies,' mean to you as an artist? What is the meaning behind this record?
Neon Skies, for me, is the period after my first breakup where I was in anguish over not being able to let my ex go and truly open my heart up for someone else. I definitely felt like I was in a new chapter of my life but I wasn’t truly over my ex. The lessons I learned in those six months living in the four songs on Neon Skies.
It is learning to accept that feeling of hopelessness and knowing it will get better, learning to say no to someone who used to mean so much to you, being okay with new relationships, figuring out how not to let myself become obsessed with the idea of having someone romantic in my life and learning how to be okay with just myself. Those are some of the many lessons sprinkled throughout Neon Skies. But it’s more than that to me. I wanted the songs to be fun to give that sharp contrast between my last EP which was much more sad boy vibes. Because it is fun and so rewarding, after months of thinking you completely lost yourself, to cross the peak of the mountain, to find and love yourself all over again.
With the ambiance exuded on, 'Neon Skies,' could you please tell us what the studio sessions looked like when creating this EP?
My producer, BANKSTØN, is an absolute rockstar in the studio. Whenever we are working together, it’s always a good time. It is great to work with someone with who you connect so well. My music is very vulnerable so having someone I can trust to bring these songs to life is so important. Whether we were sitting there finding samples, patching in guitars, or tracking vocals we were always having a great time.
These songs have some heavy lyrics and I think the more and more you listen to it, the more you dive into the story of the lyrics. But working in the studio with BANKSTØN always gave weight to those heavy parts while finding that balance with the uplifting nature of the songs. I mean, c’mon, I’m making music and telling my story; I am doing what I love most in the world! I always try to bring that enthusiasm and professionalism with me wherever I go, especially in the studio.
With each song being as good as the last, do you have a favorite song from this project? What’s your reason for choosing that song?
Well, thank you for saying that! I would have to say that “Back Into The Fire” is my favorite song off the EP though I feel bad picking favorites because it’s like picking a favorite child...you know you can’t really do that. Production-wise I think it is wonderfully well done. It is by far the darkest sounding song off the EP and I think it works well for the story of “Back Into The Fire”. It was fun to create this song in the studio because once we found the right rhythm and synth that clicked, we were like “omg this is it! THIS is the song that people are going to love on the EP.”
I also really like this song because of the flirtatious, sexy aspect to it. I feel like it tells a fun story and finally takes you out of the heartbreak of the breakup. But it also leaves you with an “oh shit this has happened once and he is alluding that it will most likely happen again” outlook. So in a way, it leaves you on that cliff anticipating more which I adore!
What would you like your listeners to take away from, 'Neon Skies?'
I want my listeners to take away from ‘Neon Skies’ and pretty much all my music that it is okay to feel things. I went through a very dark time in my life that wasn’t healthy for me mentally or physically but I am proud of myself for coming out on the other end. People don’t always wear their emotions on their sleeves.
Mental health is extremely important as is self-care. Writing songs is one way I take care of myself but I know not everyone wants to do this. My advice is to find healthy things that you can do to take care of yourself when you’re at a low point. Life can be super shitty but it can also be super rewarding and amazing. Enjoy the ride of your emotions and know that it’s not always cloudy skies.
Until you get over that feeling of wanting someone to not go away even though they are extremely unhealthy for you, they are always going to be taking your breath. And until you can stand up for yourself and tell them that you really don’t care because your mental health is more important, you will never get to experience the wonderful flames of jumping back into the fire.