When it comes to creating uplifting and impactful electronic music, few artists possess the catalog and credentials of Los Angeles-based Vindata. Originally known as a duo, Vindata is now an independent project helmed by Branden Ratcliff. His sound is fluid and ever-evolving, pulling in elements of hip-hop, R&B, house, beats and more for an undeniably dope direction. From releases on OSWLA to his debut album on Monstercat to collaborations ranging from Skrillex to Anderson .Paak, Remy Ma & Fat Joe, and the millions upon millions of streams accumulated across platforms, Vindata’s place is cemented in the industry.
With another bright year on the horizon, it is with great honour that we have Vindata coming through with an incredible new guest mix + interview. The mix is a fun-filled journey through the artist’s signature filled with bangers, rare flips, bops, and a multitude of grooves. For the interview, we discuss the importance of LA on his sound, favourite collabs, lifestyle changes, and hip-hop classics. Read the full conversation and bump the mix below.
Set the scene for the mix. What’s this the soundtrack to? What was your goal when putting it together?
I haven’t done a guest mix in a while, so I wanted to use this opportunity to highlight a typical Vindata DJ set in 2022. Just like most Vindata sets the tracks mixed blend several genres, including hip-hop/R&B, house, disco, and beats.
How essential has LA been in your journey as an artist? Do you think your career would be different if you lived somewhere else? Would you ever consider it?
LA has heavily influenced my sound. The LA rave scene introduced me to Djing. And the LA Beat Scene helped shape the Vindata sound. I think my career would’ve been slightly different if I were to grow up somewhere else. But I often fantasize about moving to another country to continue my journey.
Last summer you unveiled your debut album With Opened Eyes. What did this milestone mean for your career and to you personally? Should we expect more full-length projects from you in the future?
The album was a huge milestone for me personally. It took a lot of energy, patience, and persistence to finish. There were so many obstacles to clear before releasing it. I do see another full-length project in the future, but right now I’m having fun with singles and collaborations.
From Skrillex to Anderson .Paak, Fat Joe and Remy Ma to Wax Motif, your list of collaborations is very impressive. Is there one collaboration that really stands out to you? What makes it special?
The Anderson .Paak collaboration stands out the most to me. Just because it was so natural. I knew he was something special when I first heard his voice on a Tiron & Ayomari mixtape. He’s a super talented dude and really deserves it all.
I think some people think it’s cooler to be dark and negative, but I disagree. I think you can promote positive energy without coming off as corny.
There’s a thread of uplifting and positive energy that runs through your music. Is this something you consciously try to infuse into your work? What’s the key to creating that energy?
I like to think of myself as a positive person (generally speaking). So the key for me is just being authentic to who I am. We all have our ups and downs but I aim to inspire people in a positive way. I think some people think it’s cooler to be dark and negative, but I disagree. I think you can promote positive energy without coming off as corny.
A few months back you announced that you would be leading Vindata as a solo project. How has the new journey been treating you? Are you experiencing any unexpected challenges or benefits?
Yes, Vindata is now a solo project. The journey so far has been treating me well. Things are a little bit different, but for the most part I feel right at home.
I’d suggest meditating (even if it’s just a couple of minutes), drinking more water, getting quality sleep and exercise, spending some time with family, and getting back to nature or earth-ing.
You mentioned in a previous interview that the pandemic has helped shift your focus towards meditation, eating well, and exercise. Has the lifestyle change impacted your creative output? Any tips for creatives looking to live a healthier lifestyle?
Yes, living a more balanced and cleaner lifestyle has definitely impacted my creativity. I’d suggest meditating (even if it’s just a couple of minutes), drinking more water, getting quality sleep and exercise, spending some time with family, and getting back to nature or earth-ing.
What’s the last piece of music that deeply impacted you? What prompted the strong reaction?
Probably Nas’ new album Magic. There’s something special happening between Hit-Boy’s production and the space Nas is in right now. It’s dope.
I really admire his legacy. He’s still releasing fire music and his career stretches 30+ years.
I read that you grew up on 90’s hip-hop. What are your top 5 under-the-radar 90’s rap albums? What makes them special?
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night
Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
Q-tip – Amplified
Outkast – Aquemini
Flipmode- The Imperial
What should we expect from you in 2022?
More club records and more collaborations.
Timbaland x Magoo x Missy – Cop That Shit (Vindata Edit)
Rome Fortune – Lemon Squeeze (feat. YEO CIG)
Mike Snatchers – Get Get
Channel Tres – Jet Black
Kaytranada – The Night Is On My Mind
K, Le Maestro – START, FORMAT IT!
Agajon – Kanye
Vindata – ID
JR JARRIS – Get Em’ High w/ Saturday Night, Haan808, & Abjo
Vindata – ID
West1ne – starry nights
Iamnobodi – Separated
falcxne – KaytraDilla
VHOOR – Get Down (VHOOR Flip)
Sg Lewis Feat. Alunageorge – Hurting
SHEKI – on our way home
Snakehips ft. EARTHGANG – Run It Up
Purple Disco Machine, Baxter – Encore (feat. Baxter) (mousse T. Remix)
Hans Glader – Hans Glader
Vindata – Circa Now