Wilton hip-hop artist prepares for Trackside concert

You could say hip-hop music runs in the family of 18-year-old music artist Ryan Farinas, a senior at Wilton High School.

“My mom was an independent artist in the 1980s. She put out three house tracks and was kind of popular for a while,” Farinas (pronounced far-een-ya) said of his mother, Carmen Torres of New Jersey, a flight attendant.

A Wilton resident for the past couple of years, he is a native of Passaic, N.J., who also lived for a while in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, before moving to Wilton to be with his father, Raz Farinas, who runs the Warrior Walkers dog care business with his wife, Maria Farinas. The couple also has a cooking business.

Hip-hop music has been the soundtrack of his life, and a couple of years ago he began writing and producing his own.

“I’ve always loved listening to hip-hop music. My dad and mom used to listen to it,” Farinas said in a telephone interview to promote his upcoming gig.

Farinas brings his music artistry to the Trackside Teen Center Saturday, April 22, for a one-hour show starting at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7 and tickets are $10 online and at Trackside.

Trackside, with its ample stage and expansive standing room dance floor, is actually a bigger and better venue in many ways than many of the commercial rock clubs in the region. Farinas will fill the stage that night most likely with a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, and himself on the microphone, where he will rap his flowing lyrics.

“English is my best subject in school,” he said of his poetic side, and his lyrics show a love for expressing himself in the language.

Here’s a sample from one of his tracks, available on the music website Soundcloud:

Keep on the Visine
finally his mind’s on his Reeboks and rhyme schemes, visions and all kinds of ideas bright
like my lightbulb was struck with some lightning and I see clearer each day
it’s why I tend to have no filter.

They’re actin’ plastic. they’re all the same, ironic I guess it figures.
Maybe not overhead but overzealous, wasting time and being jealous
Hastily tryna be a legend
But hold up wait I thought you felt it
Now all those culdesacs are meltin’
The past just fades into the present
And all remains the same
Out of frame.

I’ve lost my concentration
What was I even sayin’
Close to the end and my pencils breakin’
We never make points anymore is the point I’m makin but the lack of flavor is the sweetest tastin’ so

Let’s stay out of focus
It stops the hurting
When visions blurry
My mind can’t handle the substance no more
I’d rather stay where I cannot explore.

His instrumentation on his tracks is mostly electronic computer keyboard, known as Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI. He taps the beats on digital drum fingerpads and makes his keyboard attenuate the sounds of various orchestral instruments.

“I produce my own, and work with other students,” he said, adding that he is president of the studio club at school. He also produces music out of a couple of studios in neighboring Norwalk.

“I don’t necessarily play all the instruments. Most of what I do is through MIDI, doing it all through the computer with a keyboard and drum pad,” he said.

It is a simple musical setup, and it reminds him of the humble origins of hip-hop, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Children in the urban centers of the United States had no money to buy musical instruments, so they learned to make music with what was available to them, taking samples of records on turntables, keeping a beat, maybe sampling some sounds with an inexpensive keyboard, and, of course, the rap.

“I started playing guitar when I was around 10, then eventually I started writing lyrics,” he said. “I started taking it seriously sophomore year when I moved here.”

Ask Farinas about the future and he is quick to point out he wants to go to college and major in marketing, to get a real job in the real world outside of show business. But that will always be in his repertoire.

“Most definitely, I will be making music in five years. I want to make music in college while I’m doing my degree, on the side. I’ll always be making music,” he said.

His goal is to make music for his own enjoyment, and if others enjoy it as well, more power to it.

In the meantime, he loves living in Wilton. It is a town with a real sense of place and belonging, he said.

“I like it a lot. It was a big culture shock to me at first, but I’m glad I made the decision to come here from Pennsylvania. I didn’t have a sense of community where I was,” he said.

Here are some audio clip links: