San Francisco bay area mid-tempo/dark EDM producer RAYN has released a new song “Inevitable” via Synth Fire. RAYN fires it up with the new beef, gritty mid-tempo bass track that has enough darkness for Halloween.
RAYN has shared the stage with the likes of OOKAY, Boombox Cartel, Drezo, Joyryde, Walshy Fire, Ape Drums, WHIPPED CREAM, Flosstradamus, NERO, The Bloody Beetroots, Chromeo, HVDES, Born Dirty, Sander Van Doorn and Dirty South over the course of his three-year career.
We also chat with RAYN about how he got his start, a partnership with Hot Topic and more. Get the song here.
1. How did you get into music and what drew you to electronic music?
As a kid I just listened to whatever was on the radio, or my parents played around the house. My dad is a big fan of Earth, Wind, and Fire and my mom would listen to a lot of Latin pop.
It wasn't until about when I was 13 or 14 when I met my cousin Leo for the first time and he introduced me to the world of classic rock and heavy metal through his record collection and I know that was the big turning point for me. His room was plastered with concert posters, vinyl sleeves, McFarlene figures of rock legends (KISS/Jimi Hendrix/etc) his room was dim, dark and somewhat sinister with other horror movie memorabilia. He got me to start listening to AC/DC, KISS, Queen, Pink Floyd, Metallica to name a very few. AC/DC and Metallica were a giant influence on me hence why a lot of my imagery uses lightning bolts and thunderstorms. Eventually I branched out to Rockabilly, New Wave, Blues, Country, Death/Black Metal, Dark Wave, Goth, Industrial, Jazz - the list goes on.
After a year or two of begging, my parents finally gave in and bought me my first acoustic drum set - it didn't have a good sound, but I didn't care because I really wanted to learn and join a band. I linked up with a couple of classmates with similar taste in music and we formed our first band - none of us really had a space to practice so it was a struggle to get any done until our music teacher Ms. Mary Alice Hillman heard about our little band and told us we were welcomed to practice in her classroom during lunch and some days after school - it really enabled me to explore performing music - I know there were times when our loud practice would get on her nerves but she never shut us down and that can either make or break a fragile teenager's attitude about something that is new to them. Always grateful she let us have that!
It was towards then end of high school when a classmate first mentioned raves to me. Naturally, I got curious about the music - and after some digging I stumbled upon deadmau5, Steve Aoki, The Bloody Beetroots, and YOJI. The first time I heard “WARP 1.9” I was blown away - this was basically a Punk song without power chord guitars or blast beats and it still had all the "in your face/ F U" attitude. I immediately became a Bloody Beetroots fan after watching that video. I took a big hiatus from bands during college simply because no one in my friend circle fiddled with that. I went to a few raves but I didn't really have fun. I picked up bass guitar and tried to make bands work one last time in 2014 but both kind of fell through - so tired and frustrated, I focused on graduating and moving on with my life.
Just as I graduated college my buddy Richard Wang invited me to yet another rave (LED SJSU 2015 with Borgore, OOKAY, and Valentino Khan) and with having nothing better to do with my time I accepted - that was another turning point. I was raving two times a month for a year straight - sometime in July of that year I got my first DJ controller and started to learn. I didn't think much of DJing at the time other than using it as a party trick or DJing at friends' parties, but the more I fell for EDM the more seriously I was taking it. Had my first gig in March 2016 and it was pretty bad: security wasn't really letting people upstairs to where I was playing, the guy that booked me (also a DJ) showed up drunk and pull a tantrum on the venue pulling wires left and right and storming out, and out of all the people I invited - only 5 friends showed up.
The second gig I got was also pretty bad - got booked at the Campbell Brewing Co for a college night to play hip hop and EDM, but on the night I played there was an older crowd vibing to old funk music the guy before me had been playing - after djing for 30 minutes the venue asked me to get off - I still got paid out but that was definitively a huge blow to my confidence as a performer.
From 2016 up until now I've played with promotional companies and worked directly with venues: Kravers, Resollective (now Resonance SF), Pure Night Club, Up&Up College Festivals, 1015 Folsom, Dj Dials, Mezzanine SF, and a couple of others I can't think of right now. Since opening for The Bloody Beetroots last year I've started performing/making dark edm music drawing influence from industrial/shock rock bands. I'm a huge Rammstein, Twilight Zone, Tim Burton, and Marilyn Manson fan so adding the shock factor to my Dark EDM rebrand and music has been really fun - it's about making people feel uncomfortable but intrigued. I think now that the music I make is way more personal than before it's starting to get noticed. I've fallen in love with electronic music in the sense that I can do everything myself, and practice or writing doesn't revolve around anyone else's schedule and I get full creative control of the work I put out.
2. How did your partnership with Hot Topic come to be?
This one is kind of funny - I've always been a hot topic "kid." As I reflected my long time affection for dark art/music into my electronic music brand I started making jokes about how everything I wore had to be black, or from Hot Topic, or a Hot Topic gift card. I still shop there to this day - you can never get enough band tees, or Star Wars/Video Game/nerd shirts. One day I just randomly messaged them and said "the best gift is a Hot Topic gift card" and to my surprise they actually replied - I asked about how one would go about being sponsored or be a brand ambassador but I didn't even know they had that kind of program. They sent over an application and I wholeheartedly filled it out and sent it.
I'm obviously not an emo teenager and I'm not in bands anymore so I didn't think they'd go on to sign a dark EDM producer - but they did. It's a brand I really love - they're the Marilyn Manson of clothing brands I guess...mainstream enough to be known, but only certain people find their place there. They donate a lot of money to art and music programs for younger people and I think that's great - I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for all the music that's cheered me through bad times, healed me up through devastating ones and celebrated my victories with me. I'm hoping one day I can get my merch sold in there - that would be a dream come true - to have my merch up there with the merch of legendary bands of days gone.
3. What else do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?
I got contacted by a well-known venue in the Bay Area to be local support for a big artist's show. I can't disclose who and which venue until I'm cleared by their management but I'm looking forward to it. That'll probably be the final show of 2019.
In 2020 I would like to get booked for the music I make rather from the network I've worked on creating - that feels like the proper next step. As much as I enjoy playing shows and turning the venue into Ozzfest, I want to focus on growing my audience - I've been told the music I make is for a more niche crowd so pushing tracks is a bit harder compared to as if making dubstep or feelsy future bass music. The only music class I ever took was in high school with Ms Hillman and I only really learned how to read sheet music and play it on the piano - I never learned composition or writing and I didn't go to production school so I don't have a formula helping me push songs out. I guess the music writing process is that much more personal to the self taught producers. I just want to bump my numbers on the music platforms and [fingers crossed] get some kind of management. I think my absolute goal for 2020 is play over at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium as an opener - that would be a big one off my list.
Follow him here: Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @rayyynmusic