︎ Photo by Steve Addabbo
Once a composer for daytime television, Ramm was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1992 for a song he wrote for Lauryn Hill's character on "As the World Turns." Euphoria was born about a year later, around the same time that industry-savvy musicians began using the Internet to promote their work. The Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) was Euphoria's first online home, and by 1996, the cyber venue had gained such momentum it became the subject of a Time magazine article, which noted Euphoria as one of IUMA's early loyalists.
That same year, Ramm inked a deal with Six Degrees Records, and his eponymous debut, Euphoria was released in 1999. The album exploded with licensing opportunities. From Apple Computer and the “Keynotes” of legendary CEO Steve Jobs, to multiple uses in shows like “Malcolm In The Middle” and “Roswell,” plus international trailers for “Vanilla Sky” and “Hidalgo,”. Songs from Euphoria launched a sonic profile that helped make Euphoria a valuable commodity in the film and television world. A high profile licensing use by Nissan, brought the Euphoria song “Delirium” into the mainstream, as it crossed over into high chart positions on U.S. AAA radio and into advertising culture.
In 2001, the second album, Beautiful My Child, was released, further garnering attention from film, television and advertising elite. The single, “Sweet Rain”, was used by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, this time to launch MacWorld 2002. "Little Gem," was used on the hit TV series, "CSI," making its way onto the show's soundtrack. Pop culture shows such as “Oprah” used “Devil May Care”, broadening Euphoria’s catalogue for future uses.
With its third release, Precious Time, Euphoria took its sound to new levels, partnering with internationally acclaimed vocalists who made a unique mark on the album's tracks and helped create full-length vocal tracks, which enjoyed radio play and licensing success in the U.S. and abroad. The most noticeable thumbprint on the album is the emergence of Ken Ramm as a producer. “I felt it was time that I stepped out and took control. Precious Time was, “my baby”, and I wanted the artistic thrust of the album to fall on me. I will always look on Precious Time as when I finally stepped out with a voice of my own in the production world.”
Tracks like "The Getaway," which Ramm names as one of his favorites on Precious Time, will have any Massive Attack fan conjuring memories of dark and dreamy electronic hits like "Angel." Also noticeable on Precious Time is the influence of harmonica player Howard Levy who helps to give the album an undertone of Chicago blues, “like the distorted sound of Paul Butterfield.”
Probably the biggest departure on the Precious Time album was the inclusion of full-length vocal tracks by singers Tina Dico and Tracy Bonham. Dico, highly regarded for her stunning vocal contribution to Zero 7's album, “When It Falls”, had just released her international debut, In The Red, which was produced by Chris Potter (The Verve). Potter and several other influential industry figures suggested the collaboration between Dico and Ramm, who had both, coincidentally, previously been recording at Metropolis in West London. "I had heard her music,” Ramm says of Dico. "I just had a feeling."
“My music is a fusion of forms...”
Going with that feeling led to the inclusion of two vocal tracks by Dico, "Blue," a song that perfectly balances acoustic and electro components, and the more aggressive, rock influenced "Sinners and Saints," where Ms. Dico moves from deep, sultry tones to high-pitched wails for emotional choral components. The first track on which Tracy Bonham contributes, "Precious Time," is heavily influenced compositionally by Brazilian music in terms of its harmony and chord structure, Ramm notes. But the track also marks a distinct shift in the flow of the album, he adds, transitioning it from rock influenced to more of a sensual, dreamy mood. And Bonham, who many know as a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and electric-violin-wielding rocker, shows a softer, gentler vocal side with both "Precious Time" and "Anyone Can Lose."
Listeners could easily imagine any of these vocal tracks being featured in a film or serving as background music for a television show. Ramm was conscious of those mediums favoring strictly instrumental tracks. So additional tracks were mixed without the vocals.
That mindset paid off, with highly regarded film director Michael Mann and creator David Milch using “Blue” and BMC track, “Devil May Care” for the HBO show “Luck” starring Dustin Hoffman. C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation once again stepped up, choosing the Precious Time bonus track, “Sleeper”, as a high profile opener for the dark episode, “Up In Smoke.”
Though Ramm's aspirations for Euphoria and for the third release, very much included continued work in the worlds of film and television. He is cautious not to create his music solely with any one market in mind. "I am open to all kinds of creativity with Euphoria," says Ramm. "It's not a work of hire. It's a work of heart."