Groaning, grizzling dubstep sounds swamped with fast-paced gurgling synths and hi-hats is what High Rankin does best. And moustaches. And comedy spoofs, among other things.
You may have seen his viral videos 'Meow Meow', ‘Fuck You Virtual DJ’ and, most recently, ‘Raveageddon’. Aptly taking the piss out of dubstep amateurs and wannabe ravers, High Rankin proves to be a quirky character and a man who can take himself very lightly.
That’s not to deny that the stuff he produces musically is to the top-notch level of serious jackin’ beats. Him and fellow vocalist Tigerlight released the EP ‘Breaking Hearts and Minds’ on Suicide Dub Records. The guys have been just too kind and given us all a FREE DOWNLOAD of ‘Day to Die’, from the new EP, where Tigerlight’s sweetly harmonising vocals give a pleasing contrast to the dark electrifying basslines, so what’s not to like?
Its rather gory music video (where poor High Rankin gets stalked, pummelled and battered by some mysterious men wrapped in balaclavas) was filmed and produced within a meagre four days in Berlin…
The Brighton lad has also kicked off his own eponymous weekly podcast, Rankin Radio, where his extrovert character shines through, frequently requesting listeners and guests to take their trousers off so they can relax, have his Mum do some music reviews and eat chicken while on air, as well as jamming to dubstep, hip-hop and bass choons.
DJ Mag caught up with the mustachioed dubstep dude to seeing how it’s all going with his new EP, Rankin Radio podcast, comedy spoofs and his general vida loca…
Tell us a little about your ‘Day to Die’ track. Do you think the morbid theme will be received well by listeners?
Well most lyrics in dance tracks are complete gobshite. Not all, but I would say most of them in my humblest of opinions. I enjoy writing about stuff with a bit more bite to it. Death is the final taboo really and I think this has its place in a moody part of ones feelings. Its been really well received so far. I think people are beginning to tire of endless durge about getting on the floor, blowing speakers up or playing a record again.
It took you 4 days to produce the whole ‘Day to Die' video, are you happy with the result?
We were all really happy with it. It came together really fast as we had a great team working on it in Berlin. Myself and Tigerlight have been so busy with the live act and general touring that it was the only time we could do it. I think if I was to make any changes I would love to have a shot of a monkey driving a car at the end.
It was shot in Berlin, is that where you’re based at the moment?
Yeah, moved here in February as I really fancied a change from the UK. The scene here is completely different. If you love techno, sausages and moody customer service (which I do) then Berlin is the place to be. It's much more inspiring than seeing the same streets day in day out that you've seen for 25 years. Plus you can go to Berghain and get bummed on the dancefloor whilst listening to Marcel Dettmann and it's totally acceptable. Which is great.
Describe to DJ Mag readers unfamiliar with you what sort of sounds to expect in your new EP Breaking Hearts & Minds.
Lots of crazy heaviness but with melody and passion. Likes Mike Tyson doing a very erotic flamenco dance. Its bass music that works well on the dancefloor but also on the ipod. Songwriting with 'orible bass noises! Pretentious piff poff giff guff and waffle.
Now on to your comedy spoofs… what motivated you to do these in the first place? Have you got any personal favourites, why?
I think maybe I have always enjoyed poking fun at things and people that are overly serious. The dance scene is a perfect example. People take themselves so seriously when I thought music was supposed to be about having fun. So I like to go in on people occasionally. I don't think I could pick a favourite, they are like children. Little satirical, puerile children with too much swearing.
Have you got any ideas for future spoofs?
I have always dreamed of making Dubstep The Musical. Or an R-Kelly style bass music Opera. Really anything that I can get away with a scene in which a monkey drives a car.
You’ve got a new weekly podcast, Rankin Radio. Is it something you’d carry on with for a long time?
Certainly. It's had a great response. We've been in the top 10 of the iTunes music podcast most weeks, which is odd as music takes up about 20 per cent of the show. The rest is just me, James Pryor and King Cannibal talking about Jobbies, boners and how badly we do with chicks. The jingles are the best bits which i have the long suffering Tigerlight to thank for. Really its more like a therapy session than a radio where we vent our spleens about anything and everything in a vein attempt to be humorous.
What’s going music-wise for you at the moment, any tours, musical projects…?
I've been concentrating on the live show a lot this year. It's me, Tigerlight, Franky Young on keys, James Pryor on Guitar and Faceman on drums. We've been caning the festivals and loving every minute of it. Me and Tigerlight are off for an big US tour in October with UK Hip Hop Mc Funtcase and some other offenders. Should be great for instagraming pictures of burgers at the very least.
And finally, describe a normal night out with High Rankin…
Really I'm quite reserved. I might have a few light ales at a nice pub. Maybe a bit of food, a slow roasted pork belly or anything with a jus. Then perhaps a Steven Berkoff play or a bit of Chaucer. A couple of cocktails at a local bar and then finish the night up to my nuts in guts with a £25 rent boy. I'm not really the party animal I used to be.
Get your free download of 'Day To Die' HERE.
WORDS: Fina Charleson
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