Ravenscoon’s Hard-Earned Journey to Sobriety, Inner Peace
As any person who has attained it will tell you, success does not come easily. This is certainly true for Paul Conversano, better known by his stage name Ravenscoon, who has fought more than his fair share of demons in becoming a beloved producer and national touring artist. He sat down with MP3 MAG to discuss that journey, his sobriety, and the future of the Ravenscoon project.
Music runs deep and primordial through the blood of Paul Conversano — whose earliest memory is from the age of three, teetering up to the DJ to request songs at a wedding reception. He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia by an Italian-American family, describing the community in which he grew up as “very strong” and “very loving.” As a child, his parents played Italian opera and classic rock, and would often spend Friday nights poolside, listening to music and grilling out with friends and family.
Music always played a prominent role in Conversano’s life—from his parents’ massive CD collection to his first concert seeing Green Day on their American Idiot tour. Around the age of 15, Conversano discovered electronic music. At first, he gravitated toward the high speeds and chaotic rhythms of psytrance and happy hardcore. Later, a friend broadened his horizons by showing him dubstep.
“He showed us Pretty Lights and Rusko and Minnesota and all those artists of the time,” he said. “That’s really when I was like ‘Oh shit, this is a whole different thing’ [compared to] what I was used to hearing at the time. It was slower and more like metal, but fun and energetic.”
From there, Conversano began going to electronic shows more regularly, yielding a fascination that gave him the impetus to learn to produce.
“There was this weekly EDM club in Atlanta called The Quad,” he explained, “They’d have DJs that played dubstep. [My friends and I] used to lie to our parents and say we were sleeping over at our friends’ houses and go to downtown Atlanta on a Wednesday night and party ‘til 3 or 4 in the morning–and then go to school the next day.”
In his free time during college, he made fan mixes of his favorite DJs, which he enjoyed because it allowed him to hear songs in the order that he wanted. While studying abroad in Chile, he learned to DJ from a friend whose brother happened to be Felix Jaehn (famous for his remix of OMI’s “Cheerleader”).
“When we were both in South America together, it was when that song was a worldwide hit. So everywhere we would go, [that song was playing],” Conversano recalled. “He had learned to DJ from his brother, and he taught me what he knew.”
Learning to DJ allowed Conversano to level up his fan mixes. Meanwhile, an urge to compose music—rather than just sample it—gnawed at him.
There was always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind: ‘Why aren’t you making your own music? You have all these sounds and ideas in your head.’ And I finally was just like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna try.’”—Ravenscoon
Conversano took a huge leap by relocating from Atlanta to San Francisco, where he accepted a job with CBS’s gaming division. He lived in a tiny apartment with his girlfriend (now fiancée) and their two cats. Whatever free time he had was spent leveling up his production skills.
“It was literally, wake up at 7 A.M., get home at 7 P.M., maybe eat dinner, and just work on music,“ he said. “There was no time for a social life. But it allowed me to learn a lot. I did a lot of one-on-one lessons with different producers and YouTube tutorials.”
Conversano learned even more once the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to work from home.
“[Covid] gave me so much time to [learn],” he said. “I think that’s really what skyrocketed me forward on my skills.”
While all of this was going on, however, Conversano quietly struggled with substance abuse.
“I have a family history of alcoholism,” he explained. “From the time I was a younger kid, maybe 12 or 13, I started experimenting with drinking and drugs. My friends and I would take cough medicine over the counter and drink the whole bottle. The EDM scene definitely exposed me to a lot more casual drug use. It wasn’t something that was taboo. I didn’t feel like it was ever a problem, though. I thought it was just me having fun.”
Over time, Conversano’s substance use steadily got worse and took a toll on his health. One day, Conversano made the brave decision to cut out drugs and alcohol from his life.
“I was just over feeling like shit and over letting [alcohol] control me,” he said. “So I decided to go cold turkey, which was super hard and shitty. I quit drinking; I quit doing cocaine; I quit smoking cigarettes at the same time, too. I just kinda took it day-by-day.”
Conversano’s hard work has paid off. He’s been sober for almost four years now. Perhaps his biggest supporter in his journey to sobriety is his fiancée, Taylor. She was one of the first people to identify that he had a problem.
“She’s just always been there for me and listens to me,” he said. “And I’m the same with her. If we needed a mental health day, we’d call a sick day and go and hike in our favorite place north of San Francisco.” He later proposed to her in that same spot.
Both take their mental health very seriously and love and support each other through their struggles.
“I feel like her struggling with some of the same mental illnesses as me has been really helpful, because we can empathize with each other,” he said. “We both ended up getting medicated together after discussing that. It’s not like one person is completely scot-free of any issues and the other person’s the one that’s struggling. We kind of bounce off of each other. And that’s been beyond healing for both of us.”
In the years since learning to produce, Conversano has seen great success. His unique musical style—which combines elements of death metal, punk rock, hip-hop, and experimental bass—has won him a fierce army of fans, which calls itself the “Raven’s Nest.” Most recently, he dropped Inertia, an EP released through Liquid Stranger‘s label, WAKAAN, and the producer is preparing to unleash a tsunami of new tunes, collaborations, and other projects throughout the end of the year.
As for the future of the Ravenscoon project, Conversano has big plans in the works. He’ll be joining Liquid Stranger on his Dimensions tour in the Fall. He plans to continue his In The Nest mix series on Soundcloud. He’s also planning to release a full-length concept album at the start of next year. In the meantime, he has an arsenal of new music on deck—including collaborations with Smoakland, G-Rex, Sully, and others. Eventually, he wants to start his own label.
Whatever the future holds for Paul Conversano, he’ll be sure to take it on with sobriety, clarity, and most importantly, love. Catch Ravenscoon aboard Liquid Stranger’s Dimensions tour this Fall. Pre-register for tickets here.