Welcome to the first installment of Talk Tuesdays. Every week, I will post a conversation with an artist or someone affiliated with the electronic music industry for your viewing pleasure.
It’s a Friday, and I’m tired. I’m thinking of calling it a night when suddenly, my phone rings. Turns out some of my good friends are on their way to Audio SF, one of the premier nightclubs in the city, and wanna know if I’m down. I contemplate for a split second, think to myself “why not?” and jump into some clothes. It is perhaps one of the better decisions I’ve made, as later that night I find myself ordering chicken wings with Branden Ratcliffe, one half of Vindata, in a hotel lobby south of Market Street.
Known to many as OWSLA’s up-and-coming duo, bass-heavy Vindata doesn’t hold back on their punches. They’ve toured Europe, worked with some of the top acts in the industry, and released Through Time and Space EP six months ago- anyway, I’ll let them speak for themselves. Check out the interview I had with them after their zealous set, opening for Manila Killa.
Branden Ratcliff (Vindata, left), Danya Adib (author, middle), and Jared Poythress (Vindata, right)
TL;DR: Both Branden Ratcliff and Jared Poythress came across as very easy going guys as they elaborated on each question with introspection and passion regarding their music. With each question asked, they bounced off each other’s answers and added onto each layer of thought thrown down. This interview is broken up into reflections on childhood, musical influences, touring, the music industry, and the past & the future. Make sure to read till the end (or at least skip to the last page), because that’s where we really sort past the fluff.
DA: Okay let’s get started. First of all, what are your birth names?
BR: Branden Ratcliff
JP: Jared Poythress
DA: Alright let’s get a little bit of background on you guys. Where are you from?
BR: I was born in Los Angeles and I was pretty much raised all over Southern California, so yeah pretty much stayed in California most of my life.
JP: I was born in Okinawa, Japan. I lived there till I was ten- my dad was in the military for about 26 years, so I moved around a lot. I lived in Colorado for about 4 years, Oklahoma for 4 years, and then I moved to California and met this dude. We’ve known each other for about what?
BR: 8 years.
DA: Mm okay. So now did you two play any classical instruments growing up?
BR & JP: Not classical
BR: I mean we both played drums. We grew up in the church, like both of our families are heavily into gospel music and church music. We both played drums for different church functions so that’s kinda like where we started.
DA: Does your religious upbringing still influence your career, your music?
BR: Of course. I think there’s a foundation that we learn in religious studies and church but I think for us, we’ve personally built on top of that, we’ve grown from that; not just like keeping it the same way we were taught. We learn more, we’ve been heavily influenced by Eastern philosophies and different religions and belief systems, and we’ve seen universal truths now that we may have not seen before. But we still have that foundation we had with growing up in the church.
JP: It gave us a mentality of being very positive. I have this [tattoo], it’s a saying we go by: positive mental attitude… when I met [Branden], we worked on records, we’d go through our beginnings or our endings and we’d always have a positive mental attitude… at the end of the day, growing up, our main focus was being positive and being – I don’t wanna say hopeful –
BR: Part of our music is supposed to inspire people. It’s not just to have fun. We have fun records, but a big piece of our music is inspiring people to really believe in themselves, stay positive no matter what, take that risk if they really believe in themselves to do it, take that risk and be the person they can be in the end. So with that whole positive mental attitude, you kinda have to keep that in mind while you’re going through your day to day stuff.
(Continued on next page- Musical Influences)