Despite maintaining a low profile after his very public discourse in late 2014, Rain Man\’s intention is far from stepping out of the spotlight. Over the past year he has been gradually developing his solo project, releasing intermittently, yet in such a way that continues to command the prolonged attention and intrigue from fans everywhere. It\’s this characteristic that makes Rain Man an anomaly in the oversaturated world of electronic music we find ourselves in today. Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Chicago native himself, and discuss all things past, present, and future surrounding the one they call Rain Man.
EDMChicago: Your new tune \”Bring Back the Summer\” just came out; what was your inspiration for that track?
Rain Man: The story goes, the singer hit me up on Twitter, and I sent her back a basic beat. I think I was inspired by \”Lean On\” a lot; everyone was inspired by that one for awhile. I was also listening to Marshmello, he put out that song \”Summer\” that I love, and that was sort of where I got the progression, and I wanted to put a little incidental in there on the last note. So I\’d definitely say DJ Snake and Marshmello were the two heaviest influences there.
EDMC: Going back to last year, your song \”Visionary\” was very dark and aggressive whereas \”Bring Back the Summer\” feels very nostalgic. Now reflecting on everything that has happened in the last year, how would you say your outlook has changed?
Rain Man: That\’s a good question. I would say 2015 was an important year for me, and it was a tough year for me. In fact, it was the hardest year of my life. I turned 27 at the end of 2014, and I think 2015 was my toughest year in terms of struggles — but really in 2015 I had to put out production tracks to show people I was a producer again. You know, bass tracks, going back to the roots (understanding) where the heaviness that got me into EDM came from which was Skrillex and Bassnectar. So 2015 was for those bass tracks, and whatever I was going to put out if people were going to look me up, they\’d see I was making producer tracks, not pop tracks. After I started putting those out, I had \”Bring Back the Summer\” on my plate since last May, and I\’ve just been working on it, or tweaking it since. I started working with Dim Mak in November, and we put out one song \”Dope\” in January, and then they said \”let\’s go bring back the summer, it\’s February, but we\’re going to bring it back early\” and so it ended up being a year after Visionary that we put out Bring Back the Summer.
EDMC: Going back to your point about wanting to prove yourself as a producer, I feel like a lot of the commentary about Krewella was either you were the brains behind it or–
Rain Man: Or I was just a tag-along.
EDMC: Right, there was a lot of conflicting commentary. How did that fuel you in your transition to going solo as an artist?
Rain Man: Great question, before I came out as Rain Man, as a solo artist, I had a couple options. There was a lot going on in my life, so I wasn\’t even sure I was going to do the solo thing at all, and at first when I started seeing people question whether or not I made the beats, I was like \”totally understandable\” but then when people were questioning whether I could make the beats, I was like well I know what I gotta do now, and I was like \”Boom, I\’m Rain Man, let\’s go.\”
EDMC: You came into the industry with an act that made tracks with such staying power. Now in 2016, the lifespan of a track is virtually nonexistent, but you still create a similar demand for your music as Rain Man. Do you have any thoughts as to how you\’ve been continued to be successful in that regard?
Rain Man: I\’ve been making beats for over half my life since I was 12, or 13, and I just realized that recently. For over half of my life, all I\’ve seemed to care about is making tracks, whether or not its on the worst program I ever got my hands on when I was 12, all the way up until now. Hopefully if it\’s anything I bring to a song, it\’s that I listen to so many songs, have worked on so many songs, and inspired so many songs, that I\’m just trying to compete with my favorite songs of all time. If I can bring something to a project to make it special, and not something that goes away after two weeks, then it\’s probably because I have been doing music for such a long time.
EDMC: Since this is a Chicago based publication, I figure I\’ll ask you a Chicago based question. Having grown up in the Chicagoland area, and rising as an artist there, in general do you consider it to be a favorable environment for rising artists?
Rain Man: I definitely think so, what\’s interesting is when Krewella put out our first songs before we really popped off, we wanted to be a part of the Porn and Chicken party, and we were actually kicked out of it the first time we were there —
EDMC: Definitely tell that story.
Rain Man: Krewella has a song called \”Life of the Party\”, and long story short, we tried to shoot a photo of us having a good time at Porn and Chicken, and got kicked out because there\’s no photography there. One of the artists saw Jahan snapping a photo, and got on the mic and kicked us out. Now we\’re homies though, but long story short I think Porn and Chicken is still the most relevent party in Chicago and the Midwest easily. As DJ\’s I love those guys, they\’re doing a remix of \”Bring Back the Summer\”, and we have a collab together, so I think that those guys are the next to pop off too, but even below that if you can get that exposure at Porn and Chicken, or any underground parties and get discovered by the right tastemakers like that blog I love Run the Trap; that\’s a great blog, and they\’ve blown up too. These days, if you make good songs, you\’ll get noticed, but it\’s hard, we made \”Bring Back the Summer\” and I got lucky, I had to make a lot of songs to make one really good one I think.
EDMC: Well as an observer, what I find interesting about you is you\’ve been really low profile lately, but your music, when it\’s released, is very high profile.
Rain Man: If I could, if I were super blessed, I would be able to let the music speak solely for itself, and just continue to be low key. These days though, I think you have to be engaged a lot more. You have to be tapped in, and reacting to your fans. Not to say in an ideal world I wouldn\’t be talking to my fans, but there\’s an obsession it seems to be the hottest thing on Snapchat, and I\’m like \”I can\’t keep up with that, I wanna make a banger, and then I wanna nap.\”
EDMC: Sounds like a good plan. Now if you could go back to when you were just starting out and tell yourself something you wish you knew back then, what would it be?
Rain Man: I would probably just tell myself there are going to be some things you don\’t want to do. It\’s naieve to think that being a musician is all red carpet and fresh baked cookies being given to you. There\’s things like no sleep for days on end, and doing things that you wouldn\’t otherwise do, but at the end of the day you need to do those things if you want to have a successful career. You can\’t just walk around doing whatever the hell you want all the time and expect to blow up. You\’ve got to pay your dues in whatever way that might be.
EDMC: What can fans of Rain Man expect from you in the near future?
Rain Man: More bangers. I\’m sitting on a couple and \”Bring Back the Summer\” was just the first. I have a new one called \”Xanax\” and that one should be coming out sometime in the summer, but I think we\’re going to be pushing \”Bring Back the Summer\” for awhile, even by August we\’ll probably still be bringing it back. Like you were saying, songs have such a short shelf life, but you try to make one that will last, hopefully every summer people will be bringing back the summer. For me I see it as a metaphor for bringing back the days, and bringing back the good times. Other than that, I am getting into the studio to make new tracks to compete with some of the other bass tracks I\’m hearing and inspired by out there.
Special thanks to Rain Man for joining us, and to Dim Mak for hosting the interview. Be sure to check out the latest from Rain Man, and catch up on his feel good tune \”Bring Back the Summer\” which you can listen to here.