Panamanian powerhouse Rell the Soundbender has been on fire for quite a while. The dirty low-end mad scientist has been cranking out the kind of serious heaters that make a crowd get wild. Now established in L.A., Rell is back with a new round of ammo in the form of his aptly titled Diablo EP. Out now on Insomniac Records, this package is not only a beastly set of tunes, but it also features collaborations with some very heavy hitters: etc!etc!, Rawtek, Sliink, BLANK, Kaku, and B!tch Be Cool.
True to his name, Rell puts forth a meld of the best aspects of a number of genres. There are bits of tech house, bass house, trap, moombahton, and more peppered throughout, all with seamless grace and power. And while the aid of other talented minds helps boost these tracks to the next level, they’re all clearly part of Rell’s unifying vision.
“Diablo House” is a horrific and jagged four-on-the-floor thumper, while “Heat”’ is a Jekyll-and-Hyde chunk of future-infused trap. “Bamba” and “Baja,” both in their own way, merge a strong dose of moombahton with upbeat flavors of club and trap music. Last but not least, “Loboz” is truly a raw and insane track that reimagines the possibilities of hardcore. Diablo is a dense EP full of bona fide bangers, each that come wrapped in their own unique style. It’s further proof that Rell the Soundbender is a new king in the world of bass.
Rell the Soundbender’s Diablo EP is available here.
How long have you been in L.A. now, and how’s it treating you?
I’ve been here about two years now. I’m loving California—one of the best decisions of my life.
There’s a ton of talent on Diablo. What was the process like linking up with all of these big names?
I wanted to do something special and put a project together with all of my friends. When the opportunity surfaced to put it out on a platform such as Insomniac, it was a no-brainer. Some of the songs have been sitting in my vault, untouched and unheard, due to me wanting to find the perfect home for them. Much love to all my friends and team who took part on this—so many diff styles that reflect a lot of my interests. Diablo is going to be dope!
How did working for artists like Lloyd Banks and Flo-Rida parlay into your own music career?
It was all a learning experience. It helped me see where I wanted to take my sound and my career. I’ve always been the exploring type when it comes to music, so the direction I took eventually worked out for the best.
You’ve mentioned moombahton as an early influence on your success (landing you on one of T&A’s legendary compilations for the genre). What drew you into that sound, and what was the first moombahton track that really stopped you dead in your tracks?
I’m Panamanian, so I grew up listening to reggae, reggaeton, salsa, merengue, soca, and a bunch of other stuff. That bounce was always programmed into me. I’m also from VA, and that infamous Virginia bounce and moombahton go hand-in-hand. Timbaland, Neptunes, and Nottz all played a part in crafting my sound (e.g., “Get Your Freak On,” “Ugly,” and “Pass That Dutch”). The first time I officially heard moombahton was when I heard Munchi’s “Firepower” remix. When that shit dropped, I had the ill stank face, and I was sold.
How has the response to “Bloom” been? Have people reached out to you with their stories about personal struggles?
“Bloom” response has been solid. That was more of a personal song for me than for the masses. I did have a number of individuals contact me that were also going through what I had gone through—one in particular who ended up being a friend of mine now. With that, I feel “Bloom” served its purpose, and I’m honored to have impacted those individuals. Satica and I are def going to do another song together soon.
You have a very raw but solid production style that combines a lot of different genres, each of which could be described the same way. Where does that come from, and how do you think it’s exemplified in Diablo?
I’ve always listened to everything. I’ve always loved all types of musical genres and styles. I literally listen to everything from soundtracks and movie scores to bhangra. It’s been a struggle for me to “stick to a sound,” because I’ve been trained as a producer, not as an artist. So, instead of fighting myself, I just stay true and let my mind create and explore. Music is there to enjoy, and there is no rule that you can only make and like one kind. That mindset is slowly coming around, and I’m excited. I wanted to be like Timbaland and Quincy growing up, and that’s a path that’s proven [to have] longevity.
People say you’re wild live. Where can they see you in 2018?
I’ll be playing this year’s Beyond Wonderland SoCal! Come say waddup. Hope to see you all there!