Oct 7, 2022
5 min read
They say there’s a magical synergy between twins. Rising house duo RaeCola are proving that right in front of our very eyes and ears. With the release of their debut EP Bezerk newly under their belts—and their close-knit relationship with underground titan Dirtybird firmly minted—it would appear they are forming a firm foundation.
Hailing from Chicago, Rachael and Nicole Henderson pay homage to the birthplace of house music while advancing the genre with their own unique twist.
“Being from the Southside of Chicago, we felt it was only right to represent the music that was kind of going on in our area growing up: ghetto house, juke music, footwork music. So it was cool to be able to partner them together, and have a kind of balance of the different music that really inspires us.”
RaeCola are certainly paving the way for a revolutionary new style. And when asked to describe their signature sound of ghetto tech house and booty bass, they were cautious not to add another sub-genre to the pre-existing plethora. Yet, they are acutely aware that it didn’t quite fit in anywhere perfectly enough.
“It just really combines our influences of having the ghetto house in Chicago and the West Coast kind of tech house sound and putting those influences together… We’ve been able to find other artists who are kind of doing that feel as well… it’s not necessarily ghetto house, and it’s not necessarily tech house, so that was just kind of the perfect combination.”
Probably like me, you are also wondering what defines RaeCola’s booty bass sound. When I asked, they giggled as they told me that it just encompasses “the songs you have to move to. You just have to move your booty. You can’t help it.”
For them, it seems that the revolution they’re bringing to dance music culture is the joy of mixing different crowds—a concept that harkens to the roots of the movement. It brings together people who haven’t been in the same room before to move their bodies and enjoy the incredible vibes that so effortlessly radiate off the decks at RaeCola’s fingertips.
Young RaeCola learning the ropes on the guitar
Growing up, Rachael and Nicole didn’t foresee DJing as a career path. Music has always been central to their lives—they grew up singing in a choir, playing piano, and even the clarinet for a stint. But their predominant interest was, in fact, fashion. And at the tender age of 17, they moved to California together to work in the industy. Nevertheless, it soon became clear, that their inherent love of music and natural flair for producing and mixing was to be the path they’d walk.
Despite not explicitly pursuing a career in fashion, as with music, they seem to have a natural inclination for it. They have no need to hire a stylist for their sets and shoots, as the duo never fail to impress with their bold, show-stopping, coordinated looks.
After almost seven years DJing together, their first-ever EP Bezerk was released in July 2022. RaeCola are also recent graduates of the ICON Collective in Los Angeles, where they say that they planted the roots of the EP.
“Once finishing, we had so many songs we’d been working on,” they said about their time at the production school that’s turned out dance music heavy hitters including Jauz, the late i_o, Dillon Nathaniel, Black Gummy, and SNBRN. “Bezerk was just a fun song. We just made it very quickly…And for the longest time we were just sitting on it thinking, 'Is it ready?”
“Bezerk’s” wonky synths, groovy experimental undertones, and slightly suggestive lyrics perfectly encapsulate that marriage of the Chicago and West Coast underground the duo are pushing. A sound that they’ve spent the better part of seven years trying to perfect. The second track of the two-part EP, “Juke That Zerk,” has elements of ghetto house and juke, with drums and vocals inspired by artists like DJ Slugo. Beyond the marriage of sounds, they ultimately want to write music that raises vibrations, inspiring listeners to have judgment-free fun.
“Hopefully we’ll have more than one release this year… We have a remix we’ve been working on with an artist that we’re really excited to play. If anybody’s been to our shows, we’ve been sneaking them in there. And we’ve gotten some good feedback. So we’re really excited for those releases.”
Amongst the new releases hopefully coming later this year, they’ve also been working hard ticking off their manifestation list, one dream at a time. The duo are confirmed to play at one of the most immersive boutique festivals in the States, Dirtybird Campout.
“Every experience I’ve had of Dirtybird has been so much fun. It’s such a carefree, silly energy, about the crowd. Where you don’t really care about who’s watching and what’s going on. Everyone’s just being themselves to the fullest and deepest. And I love that non-judgmental feel within the crowd,” Nicole tells us. “In terms of music, there’s a lot of freedom, and I guess the freedom that comes with an underground feel within a festival. That’s really cool… I’m very very excited to play there.”
So whether it’s a set at Dirtybird or an LA warehouse, you can catch RaeCola coming to a dance floor near you. And keep an ear out, as you might just catch a little easter egg from the duo teasing an unreleased track of theirs.