I do have to say, your new track, “Bring Back the Summer,” is a lot more pop-y than what I’ve come to expect from you. You’ve said that you like Dim Mak because you have more opportunities to work on poppier stuff, so what prompted that big change?
Rain Man: The second half of 2014 was a period for me to figure out what I really wanted to do with music, because music is the only thing I’m really good at. I think if I studied hard, I’m a pretty smart guy and I could pick up other things, but music is the thing that I’m good at that other people don’t naturally have – because I’ve been doing it for 15 years. So I was like “I’m gonna do this music thing.” I dabbled in deep house in 2014 when it was big, and I’ve always made acoustic records, like my little metal side project, so I make all different kinds of music at all times.
When I put out “Visionary,” “Broke Bitch” and “Make The Fire Burn,” it was on purpose to kind of have them sound the same-ish, whereas I had a lot of other records on the hard drive. That was a conscious effort to put out a specific thing, and then when we decided to go with “Bring Back the Summer” after I signed with Dim Mak in November, the option was right there. They heard the song in our meetings and everything, and I’d actually written it May of last year, but I’d just been sitting on it.
I made it in one night randomly. I sent the girl a beat, she pieced together the vocals, I finished the beat that night, and it’s basically been unchanged until February when it came out. I had “Bring Back the Summer” since May of 2015, so it was a conscious decision to wait to put it out. I think there’s something to be said for not giving a fuck about genres anymore.
Skrillex has done it so well, how he can just put out a dubstep song, and then “Recess” with a more chilled-out vibe, and then “Where Are Ü Now” which is a totally different vibe. He’s just paved the way for artists to just put out a dubstep song one day, then “Bring Back the Summer” the next day.
On a personal note, I also want to congratulate you for setting an example by making your health a priority and quitting drinking.
Rain Man: I have to be completely honest: I’m not straight edge or sober at all, but I’ve gotten over – I definitely had a problem for a while. I was drinking a bottle of Jamo a day there. Like, I’m having a beer or two right now, but I keep it chill. I know it’s not a recommended thing, at least in the program, but I’m a musician over here and I live my own life. I make my own choices and I don’t subscribe to anything – but I appreciate your support.
Considering that substance abuse is a controversial topic in the electronic music world, do you think it’s something about which we should have a bigger dialogue?
Rain Man: I think that the DJs themselves – the successful ones – are keeping their shit completely together, so I don’t see any excess behind the scenes. I want people to party more behind the scenes. I want it to be like the Stones back in the day. I’ll be the first to say I’m not a role model, right? I’m not here to say “Be responsible,” but I’d say, “Don’t drink ‘until you’re 21,” sure. I think that behind the scenes it’s very responsible and everyone’s on top of their shit – but at the festivals, if you’re gonna explore different substances you’re bound to run into a situation where you might get sick or something like that.
Interestingly, I was just in Seattle the other day playing at the Tacoma Dome, and they had these guys, The Caregivers or something like that, and they were just people put out into the crowd to help people that were freaking out or whatever. There was this girl who was like, “I’m so sorry,” and they were like, “You don’t need to be sorry,” and it was a good spot for them – as opposed to “You’re a fuckup, we’re gonna arrest you, why are you having a bad trip.”
I think there actually is a lot being done to take care of the situation. You can’t eliminate drugs, but you can do other things – and care for people as opposed to punishing them when something bad does happen.
I’ve gotta ask you about you-know-who. It’s been a while now. Have you made peace with the whole Krewella situation? Do you still have a lot of unresolved feelings, or have you moved on?
Rain Man: I would say I’ve moved on and made peace. I wish them absolutely the best. I’ve heard a couple snippets online and they have some bangers, and I’m excited to hear their stuff. More power to ‘em. I think that it’s time to just move on with my life.
I know you must have some more stuff coming out on Dim Mak now that festival season’s just beginning, right?
Rain Man: Well, we haven’t officially set it as a release for Dim Mak, but I have a great song called “Xanax.” When we pitch it to the label, they’ll like it.
What’s “Xanax” gonna sound like?
Rain Man: “Xanax” is this song that’s kind of like “Bring Back the Summer” because it’s got the same vibe with the vocal top line and the trap drop, but where “Bring Back the Summer” is a more happy, celebratory anthem, “Xanax” has this sort of mournfulness. It’s a little bit of a sadder tune, almost with an Adventure Club vibe. The feels, you know? That’s how “Xanax” is.
That concludes our interview with Rain Man, but we would like to thank him very much for his time.