Ranger Trucco digs into his creative process, the symbolism behind his logo, and the unexpected influence a fast food chain had on his life.
Step into the world of Ranger Trucco, a rising force in house music, blending infectious bounce with timeless minimal beats. Hailing from Michigan, where nightlife is a distant sight, he broke barriers to immerse himself in dance music’s vibrant pulse. In 2024, he stands tall among the industry’s fastest-rising producers, sparked by his debut EP, Tiffany, in 2020, igniting a journey that left an indelible mark on the house music landscape.
In just three years, Ranger Trucco earned coveted spots on labels such as Space Yacht, Spinnin’ Deep, Club Sweat, Night Bass, Techne, and Experts Only while also heading up his range. imprint. He’s also played sets at gatherings at Same Same But Different, The Shrine, Splash House, Hangout Fest, and recently closed the year out at Club Space.
With appearances at upcoming festivals like Groove Cruise Miami and Electric Forest, it’s clear that Ranger Trucco has plenty more in store for 2024, and we caught up with him as our first Artist Spotlight of the year. In our conversation, he delves into his creative process, unravels the meaning behind his iconic paper airplane logo, and reveals how the unexpected support from a fast food chain shaped his burgeoning career.
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 403 || Ranger Trucco on SoundCloud:
Hi Ranger, thanks so much for sitting down with us today to chat. Let’s take a trip into your studio and dive into your seasonal series to kick this off. Can you take us through your creative process for your fall’23 EP?
I’ve been really inspired by ’90s-sounding house records lately. They’ve made a big resurgence in 2023, and I’m here for it. I really wanted to take that inspiration and put my own spin on it. The combination of that and also getting inspiration from the Tony Toni Tone record while on a flight is what led to fall ’23. I’m extra happy with it being on range. I like that it dips into that different sounding subgenre of house, and in the past, range has been mostly more swung deep minimal tech sounds. It really emphasizes the whole point of the label.. showing range!
What drove you to decide to release music seasonally? Was this a conscious decision, or did it just naturally surface from how you approach the production process?
Originally, I chose to do seasonal releases because it was going to be a time to release anything that I couldn’t get signed to labels. I figured four times a year would be perfect to self-release stuff that dipped into different genres because, at the time of starting it, I was making a lot more techy music. What ended up happening was I grew a lot more attached to the stuff I was holding for range. I began enjoying the process of naturally making music for myself and my label more than making it to fit in with someone else’s. It was a huge turning point for me and my outlook on music production. I realized this is how I should be doing it all the time!
Minimalism is a hallmark of your music. How do you balance simplicity and complexity in your tracks to create that unique vibe?
The best tracks are simple ones. It’s one skill to be able to fill up a project with sounds, but I find it to be an even greater skill to know when to take something out and let the song be. There’s so much to learn inside Ableton and in music production, but learning when to call a track finished is a skill in itself, and workflow has always been very important to me.
Balancing simplicity and complexity comes naturally when you’re spending your time on the right elements of the track. There are a million different reverbs out there, but that doesn’t mean you need to try them all or even use more than one per track! For me, it’s always kind of been about getting the song done, being happy with it, and moving to the next.
In a previous interview, you mentioned that your creative process is influenced by spending time outdoors. Could you share your favorite outdoor activities? Are there specific places you prefer?
My favorite things to do outdoors are going on walks, hiking, or just hanging out with people I love. I also love going to concerts (especially when they’re outside) and taking inspiration from genres outside of the ones I make. That’s really important to me. I love going home to Michigan in the fall because all the leaves change. I think the biggest thing you can do to be inspired is get your mind right by balancing your life OUTSIDE of Music. Whatever you have to do to give yourself peace of mind and be motivated, going into the studio is the best source of inspiration.
Making the move from Traverse City to LA is quite a journey. How has the change in scenery to Southern California affected your creativity and helped propel your career?
Being in a big city like LA will always open more doors and create more opportunities than Traverse City. For starters, TC doesn’t even have a nightclub in it, so the job title of DJ doesn’t quite exist there; however, we did just get our first Chick-fil-A. I’ve met some of my best friends in LA, and it’s just overflowing with creatives and people trying to make it happen.
LA is a great place to position yourself when you’re looking to get started because everyone here is trying to do the same thing as you and also lend a hand. It’s been great for my creativity because there’s so much inspiration to draw from. It’s a tour stop for every band. There are mountains, beaches, deserts, and quite literally any environment you need to get yourself into to be inspired exists here… The food is great too! But a big shoutout to Traverse City and my Midwestern homies. There is no better person to grow up around and get your morals from.
Your logo, the paper airplane, is quite distinctive. Can you share the significance behind choosing a paper airplane to represent your brand? How does it embody the essence of your style?
I chose the paper airplane to be my logo because it’s a tattoo I got for my mom when I went away to college. To me, it represents always being on the move while still a phone call/letter away. My mom would write to me a lot when she missed me while I was across the country. I think this career path has been tough on her and my Dad because of how much I’m on the road, but having that logo represent her, and my relationship with them serves as a reminder I’m always a call away. The logo is simple, and it just goes with the wind, just like me.
I’ve heard you’re quite the Dave’s Hot Chicken fan. What is it about Dave’s that you find superior to other chicken-based establishments, and what is your go-to order after a late-night set?
So I moved to LA when Dave’s Hot Chicken only had two locations, and I went to their second one on Lankershim religiously. I ate there so much that when I got booked for my first DJ set with Insomniac, I wore a Dave’s T-shirt, and all the owners of Dave’s, including Dave himself, watched a livestream of the set while at a wedding. I’ve since met and hung out with Dave, who is the most humble and cool dude, so how can you not be a fan of a success story like that? I remember when Drake invested, and they just blew up, and now you can’t throw a rock without hitting Dave’s Hot Chicken – big shout out to Dave and to the combo number three medium heat.
Now that 2024 is here, what New Year’s resolutions have you set out for yourself as an artist? In what facets of this profession would you like to see yourself grow?
My 2024 resolutions are to invest more in music over everything else and stress less. I want to learn piano, I want to grow the genre as a whole, I want to be more selfless, I want to compare myself to others less, and I really want this style of music to find a foothold in the US. It’s so good, and there’s so much talent that needs to be heard and embraced. If I can use my short time on earth to push good music, then I am doing life right.