The rising RVCA-affiliated dance music producer/DJ, Rankin, has given us the exclusive on his exceptional debut EP, The Stagger, that is oozing with sun-kissed Southern California vibes. From jazzy liquid drum ‘n’ bass to lush mid-tempo soundscapes and smooth, deep grooves, the Newport Beach native showcases his multifaceted dexterity in production paired with his keen sense of style. Rankin‘s The Stagger EP is definitely a must-have release and is sure to be featured on playlists far and wide – just in time for Summer. Listen/download below.
Additionally, we had a chance to chat with Rankin to give you more insight into the mind behind this music. Check out the interview after the jump that includes info about The Stagger EP, how surfing has influenced his music, the growth of the Orange County dance music scene, how he wants to ride a shark, and much more.
GDD: What do you like to drink?
Rankin: Water & Tecate. (Not together)
GDD: Tell us about your musical background.
Rankin: I’d dabbled with piano, guitar and random instruments since I was pretty young. My dad plays keyboard in a surf rock band and always motivated me to get involved in music and what-not. Never really connected with music entirely though until high school when I decided to pick up a pair of Technics and pretty much just mess around with records. About 2 years after being pretty immersed in DJing I started getting into music production and just continued on from there.
GDD: What is your vision for Rankin?
Rankin: It’s ever changing, but i think at the root of it all is to just create something positive that resonates with myself and hopefully with others as well!
GDD: What artists do you draw influences from?
Rankin: Top of my head: Stan Getz, Sam Frank, High Contrast, Devo, Severed Heads, Sbtrkt , Shy fx, Brookes Brothers, Roxy Music, Breakbot, Taxman, Phil Collins .. whatever hah
GDD: Tell us about your debut EP, The Stagger. What have you done differently on this release compared to your previous tracks?
Rankin: For the past year and a half-ish I’ve solely released random singles. Stagger was the first EP I’d ever done, so it gave me a chance to sit down and create a more cohesive body of music.
GDD: How has growing up as a surfer in Newport Beach impacted your music? Do you feel that dance music has penetrated the surf culture?
Rankin: I mean, beach culture altogether has always had a major influence in my life so I’d say it bleeds all over the music as well. I’ve been watching a ton of 80’s beach party footage lately which inspired me for a couple of the tracks on the ep i’d say. They were really going for it back then aha
As for dance music in Surfing, i honestly don’t know. I’ve seen a couple surf flicks with some aggressive dubstep tracks in it which i didn’t think was a good look at all ahha. I do think it could be done with the right sound.
GDD: You’ve been able to have an inside look how the Orange County dance music scene has progressed over the years. How has it grown and where do you see it going?
Rankin: It’s funny because this area is a huge hub of creativity for so many industries. Kind of skipped the dance music scene thus far though aha. I mean, you could definitely go out every weekend to some big balla bottle service club with some cheezy electro banger music, but thats not really my bag. Theres not as much variety as somewhere like LA, which caters to every little niche scene imaginable. Although a good night is much more few and far between around here, there are a handful of doods who put on some really killer events. I think the dance music thing not being so huge in this city has actually made it all the more special to be apart of, and watch it continue to grow.
I see it going in a really good direction. Not just in orange county area, but everywhere. I’ve definitely been noticing a transition out of the repetitive noisy stuff into a more soulful, melodic driven sound. I see people becoming less worried about what genre they are listening to, and just enjoying the music for whatever it is. To me thats what music is about.
GDD: What is your most memorable music moment?
Rankin: Probably opening for Rusko in SF last year. Playing for a crowd that massive is unreal. serious vibes!
GDD: What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Rankin: Yesterday I saw a youtube video of this chick who free dives with a great white and rides its dorsal fin aha. Seriously mental.
1. ride a shark
2. perform at Nottinghill Carnival
3. get in the studio with Phil Collins
GDD: Now that your EP is out, what’s next for Rankin?
Rankin: I took a bit of a break from playing out to be able to work more in the studio and create the Ep. So i do look forward to performing and traveling more again with new material and whatnot. I’ve been incorporating more hardware instruments, synthesizers and such things into my production. so i see that carrying over into my performances to create more of a live aspect opposed to the purely DJ style sets i’ve been doing for some time now.
Basically just a lot more music!