Jun 20, 2023
7 min read
When Space Yacht co-founders Londonbridge and Hiddenhen first played Ranger Trucco's "Tiffany" during their weekly Tune Reactor live A&R stream on Twitch in 2020, they were instantly entranced with the Michigan-born producer's crispy, clean warbling tech house beats, and cheeky vocal style. He was signed quickly to their record label and lauded as one of house music's fiercest and most creative young producers.
Seldom do you come across an artist who, in the early stages of their career, has such a firmly established aesthetic, well-attuned self-confidence, and blindingly positive self-belief. His confidence is core to his character and has allowed him to navigate a whirlwind of changes in both sound and stature that keep him on the cutting edge of the American house music scene. And even though his brilliantly constructed sonic footprint made him such a standout, he's unafraid to allow his inspirations to shift his focus.
"I like to just keep an open mind. I just like to be an outlet of what I'm getting inspired by," he explains to Gray Area. "I started by doing vocals on my tracks, all of my old stuff is original vocal, and I still love to write vocals. But if something else is gonna catch my attention, I'm not just going to suppress that desire to go for it. I don't want to live my life feeling like I always have to fit into a box...If I can, at a young age, let people know that this is what I do. I'm just gonna go for everything. I'm going to try to cover, a wide variety of stuff."
His muteable nature has guided him since childhood. He's traversed a musical roadmap that led him from listening to classic and alternative rock with his dad to hip hop and dubstep with his brother and exploring the depths of indie rock and house music on his own.
His memories are filled with musical traditions. "Music was just a part of everything we did. It was on during dinner. It was on in the car, when we were on the way to school, and on the way home from school. We used to listen to 'The Day That Never Comes' by Metallica before school to get all hyped up. We'd be going nuts in the car." Even the most mundane tasks were made more exciting with a soundtrack. "I used to take some sort of medication in the morning. And every time I'd take it (I'd have to drink it. It's kind of gross.), my dad would play 'No Faith In Medicine' by the White Stripes." It wasn't until he was a teenager that he realized that this level of intense exposure to music was unique.
As he began to explore the wonder of live music, visceral sonic experiences led to life-changing epiphany's. Shortly after picking up the guitar, he went to his first concert, Kings of Leon, and came home inspired to start a band. After his brother returned from Electric Forest fully wooked out, Ranger began to tag along to raves diving into the expanse of dance music together. Hoping to explore beyond the bass, he first recognized the power of house music when he went to Snowglobe Festival in Lake Tahoe for the first time, huddled on the dancefloor with thousands of snow-chasing dancers.
"I remember the next day, something in me [was] awakened," he says with a bright smile. "I loved how complicated the buildups would be. But that it would always revert back to the kick and bass carrying the whole thing. Everything about the arrangement...Just being obsessed with the BPM, the tempo, the crowd, everyone having space dancing."
By the time he started college in Oregon, he'd thrown his total weight into DJing and producing house music. He planned to make his dreams a reality, and after a year of school, his decisive self-determination (and a dash of youthful naivete) changed his path.
He had imagined that his newfound love for creation would lead to fame and fortune, so the fact that college would put him in the hole by thousands didn't bother him. When reality set in, he figured he could at least be half right. When his college counselor explained that his grant money was exhausted, he'd already decided. "I had already, over the course of my freshman year, started producing in Ableton and fallen in love with it, skipped out on classes to continue to dive into music. Putting myself in this kind of student debt is a risk. If I'm going to take one risk, it's going to be on something that is my passion."
After an impressive campus tour and introducing his parents to his many friends, they asked him what he wanted to do. "And I'm like, 'drop out, leave it all.'" His parents were disappointed but recognized the maturity it took to admit that he needed to get real with himself about his future. Ultimately they kept an open mind and walked with him down the unconventional road he began to travel.
Several years into his journey, Ranger discovered how pivotal the decision to trust himself was. When he produced "Danni Girl," he knew he had a hit on his hands. Convincing record labels was an uphill climb. After a year of rejections, he was undeterred.
"Maybe it was a bit of stubbornness on my part, but I loved that track." so much so that between himself and a friend he'd sent it to, the private track had over 400 plays on Soundcloud. "It was kind of the first moment in my career where I was like, I'm not going to let someone determine this track's value. I'm going to determine it myself. And if that means I gotta wait until somebody sees my vision here or believes in it the same way I do, I will wait ten years."
Spinnin' Deep picked it up a year later, and it became his first song to stream over one million plays. It wasn't just empowering. It was a testament to the future direction of his career. Having the final say on his creative capital inspired him to take his career into his own hands and start his label, Ranger.
Like many other artists before him, his label allows him to release the music he believes in without constraint or criticism. "I like that what I'm doing is different than other artists. And when you're trying to strip away that one thing that makes it me, to sound like somebody else just to give it a home on your label. That's disrespectful to how I view the record to my creative process."
In 2021 LP Giobbi said in an interview with Festival Insider, "Belief is the is the biggest currency that you need for doing this line of work. You have to believe in yourself. You have to have belief it's possible." Ranger Trucco beautifully embodies this statement. Through every step of the musical journey, he put his best foot forward and ultimately released himself to the power of his creativity.
"It's been a year now. [Ranger] has become my newfound purpose in this scene. It's become so much more than I ever thought it would be. I really did it at first to, you know, give myself peace of mind," he tells me. "It has gotten so much insanely sick engagement and love and support that now it's something that I want to turn into that free lane and that option for other producers.
With plans to open the label up for other producers' demos in 2024, Ranger is well on his way to instilling the power of self-belief into other artists.