I know Rastan because we both live in Santa Barbara, where he’s lived for a long time. We have tons of mutual friends and constantly run into each other around town, at shows and Cali Roots where he typically greets me with a big hug and his signature Ras smile. So when I heard he got signed to Ineffable (a label near and dear to my heart) I did a little jump for joy because if anyone deserves a record deal, it’s Ras. So needless to say this interview has been severely edited for length and clarity because honestly we talked for like an hour and a half.
AA: So yeah thanks for coming! I’m super excited we’re doing this
AA: When I heard that you were signed to Ineffable [Music Group] it made me really happy and … I also like your album a lot. Where did you record this album?
RC: In my bedroom. About a foot away from my bed [chuckles]
AA: I wanna talk about that and your single, “What She Does”, more but first I want to know: How long have you actually been making music for? Take me back for a moment. Let’s get to know Rastan.
RC: Wow, [pauses] that’s not an easy answer. I started making music when I was four, five with my pops. He’s the reason why I make music.
When I was like four he was working on a solo project of his own called The Wheelchair State of Mind. He was paralyzed after being shot five times and then falling out of a window. The fall is what actually paralyzed him, not the bullets, ironically.
But my pops was never the type of person to get down; he’s like “tell me I can’t do it, and I’m going to do it”. So he made an album called The Wheelchair State of Mind as like a… [pauses]
AA: To take back power?
RC: Yeah, you know what I mean. So in the process of that album, on one of the songs he had me record backup vocals--
AA: At 4/5?
RC: [laughs] yes!
RC: And afterwards him and the engineer were looking at each other like, “Yo, this is... [gestures]--he’s good… we could--” [trails off]
And after that, almost immediately, they started recording me. First starting off with Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do; I did that for almost a year. Not even lyrics yet, just Do-Re-Mi recordings. But then afterwards they started training me and recording my solo stuff from a very young age and I started performing with my pops.
AA: And this was in Oakland?
RC: Yeah in Oakland. Yeah. That’s what started it off.
AA: Tell me a little about your parents and growing up in Oakland… You mentioned earlier they had a restaurant?!
R: I’ve always been very close to my roots and heritage because of my parents.
My pops is from Kingston, Jamaica and my mom is from Hanover. But in Oakland they had a restaurant, like right out the house [laughs] and they’ve always been very involved in the reggae community there. so not only would a lot of people come there to eat, my parents would host after-parties and events for a lot of the reggae shows.
All the bands and reggae artists that were touring and passing through Oakland, they would stop by my parents house for Jamaican food. That was a place they knew they could get good food from home. Naturally as a kid I would see a lot of artists and music and… [my two year old daughter runs in the room crying]--awww everything okay, honey? [continues to fuss] I’ll bring more taffy next time, okay?
(This dude strolled up to my house with a bag full of saltwater taffy upon arrival lmao. Visibly concerned for my daughter, he asks if she will be okay and I explain that she’s tired and sassy)
AA: So, you’re a kid at your parent’s house, they’re hosting all these reggae artists, throwing after parties, what did that mean to you as a young musician?
R: A lot of times it was so late at night, like, I was in my room. They were trying to keep me away from all the melee and stuff. My parents are the type of people that always wanted to control the environment, especially my pops. So, after-parties, four years old--I’m not there. In the studio, we’re working on something productive, “Yeah. I can bring you now” kind of thing. At the time, it was all I knew and it was all I wanted.
AA: You felt like you were satisfied with your life and that was your dream and you were living it.
R: That’s it. That’s the only thing I wanted.
It’s funny, on the weekends my friends would go fishing with their pops. Me and my dad are going to shows.
AA: Your dad is legendary. So talk to me about signing with Ineffable though. You’re one of their newest signees, they just dropped your single “What She Does” and your album is coming soon. Is that a realization of part of your dream in some way?
R: Man, it’s real. It feels great. But I also know it’s just another step in the process. It’s nothing I can get too comfortable with. I mean, I’m happy, but it’s like--
AA: What’s next?
Any artist, musician, songwriter, vocalist dreams of signing a contract with a record label. But after you do that there is still so much work to be done. It’s one of those stepping stones.
It’s like, “Yes! Great! But I still have so much to do”. So yeah I’m just trying to keep a level head [laughs]
AA: Humbleness goes a long way… humility. Not getting too comfortable--that’s when bad things happen, right? You get complacent.
R: Exactly and you don’t grow. When you’re uncomfortable is when you’re growing. When you’re chillin’ just doing the same thing…. [trails off] How much can you growth can come from that?
AA: Let me ask you this though: Now that you’re signed to Ineffable, which artists are you most excited to work with?
R: The whole team! The whole squad! I’m waiting to get my Ineffable chain like back in the day like rappers used to get [laughs] …
AA: I’m waiting for that day. I’m also waiting for your album! Your single “What She Does” is out right now though and it’s sooo good!
R: Yeah it dropped at the end of April and we’re going to release a few more singles then the album.
Just waiting for the right time. Timing is everything.
AA: Oh so you haven’t even decided a timeframe yet? You’re still just waiting and feeling it out?
R: Yeah I mean everything is done and in our hands but we’re not trying to rush anything. We’re just getting started. Taking our time.