Truancy Volume 279: Stefan Ringer

Stefan Ringer’s music is made for movement. Emotionally charged and physically stimulating, his personal productions and scintillating mix selections intimately invite listeners to embrace the freeing energy of the dance floor. Rooted in the essence of classic house, the vivid expanse of Stefan Ringer’s sound has flourished over the past decade into a distinctive landmark brightening the U.S. musical landscape. Evoking the warm magnetism of a summer sunbeam, the passionate allure of his productions is undeniable.

Offering a glimpse into the artist’s world, Truancy Volume 279 explores both classic house nostalgia and contemporary musical contemplations. Flowing through tracks fundamental to Stefan Ringer’s musical foundation, and reaching the new heights of his current sound, the mix presents a beautifully nuanced narrative of his personal journey. From sky-blue chords to windswept rhythms, and evocative vocalizations to cathartic percussion, Stefan Ringer’s music is here to “make them reach ’til the sky.”

Hi Stefan Ringer, thank you for your time! So happy to host this mix. How are you and what have you been up to? “I’m better, I’ve been working on music and planning for the first event that we are going to throw for June 5th here in Atlanta.”

When did you first start making music, and how would you compare that music to your current sound? “I first started making music seriously around the time I was 15/16. The music I was making was more hip hop influenced and even then it was still different from the hip hop that was going on at the time.”

Do you have a basic production process you follow, or what is your current approach to making music? “Usually I start with a beat (or chords when I’m feeling spicy). The macro view of my approach is to make something interesting, and something that moves  myself and hopefully the listener whether physically or emotionally. I consciously push myself to make something that I personally love.”

What were some of your earliest experiences with music, or songs that stuck with you since childhood? “I used to play the drums as a child. I used to be in the Black Church a lot as a kid. Members of my family played in the church band and sang as well. So I was around music at a very young age. I remember my dad always loving music and singing around the house. We used to watch Soul Train together on Saturdays. My dad was a real influence. When I think back on it when I was around music it was always with my dad whether at home or in his truck.  We used to listen to music by Earth Wind and Fire, Erica Badu, Slave, and there was also a CD we used to play called Q’s Jook Joint, I heard that CD so many times growing up.”

What inspires and motivates you to create, and did you always want to be an artist? “I always felt I was creative. I drew very well when I was younger. I wanted to invent things. I was a Lego kid growing up, so I feel like I’ve always been somebody who made things. What inspires me is dance floor experiences, love, sex, and sometimes I’m just excited to make something.”

Could you describe your current studio environment, and what your dream studio might look like? “For the gearheads: My current studio consists of Macbook Pro, MPC live, Moog Sub25, Bass Station2, Deep Mind 12, Kurzweil K2000, Korg Minilog, Model 24, Yamaha FB-01, Circuit Tracks, WA-73EQ. Any studio where there is a groove with good music coming from it with dope musicians and artists around. Or anywhere with a midi keyboard and some decent monitors HA!”

How has your ability to make music and perform been affected by the pandemic? “Making music is how I get through an event like what we went through in 2020. Performance wise I had to transition to Twitch to get my fix. I have a weekly broadcast called the “Late Nite Late Show”. It airs every Friday morning Midnight- 2am.”

Which changes do you feel are necessary in order to achieve a healthier music industry? “I see this as more of a group think question. My two cents are Equality and Representation.”

What has been your most fulfilling/rewarding musical experience? “Any time I meet an artist or DJ I really like and they let me know they are digging my music or sets, It is rewarding. Whenever I’m on the dancefloor dancing like nobody is watching, it is rewarding. When I’m selling records to people, that is a rewarding experience. When we throw a party and people are losing it shaking their bodies to the music, it is rewarding.”

What is the best musical advice you’ve ever received?

– Do you, there is always room for you.
– If you can listen to a loop for 3-4 minutes, its a track. – Kai Alcé
– Simpler tracks with Beats and Chords sound best in a warehouse environment. – Kai Alcé
– Never Dj wit your shirt off. – Theo Parrish

Do you have a particular track you’ve produced that you look back on most proudly/fondly? Fried Chicken Skin is the first that came to mind. Truthfully I’m proud of all my music.”

What is your approach to building your DJ sets and finding new music?

– Playing music that I really love and getting a few new tracks before a gig.
– Sometimes I make a playlist of tracks for the specific place.

What is your most treasured record in your collection and why? “My own. They are the receipts that I am truly out here. Especially my label’s records.”

As someone who highlights vocals in sets/tracks, what elements do you feel contribute to compelling vocals? “The tone of the voice. What the voice is saying. Just the right amount of vocals. The timing/ arrangement of the vocals.”

Could you talk about the collaboration process with your partner, Ash Lauryn? I’ll make the beat, she will approve some of the parts like melody etc. We both agree to the vibe of the track. Then she writes to it. That’s how it has been going for us production wise.

Is there a particular track or record that you feel significantly contributed to your current approach to music? “The Detroit house and techno sound. The Broken Beat/ Bruk UK sound. Hip Hop , R&B , Reggae, Dancehall, the future garage sound back in the early 2010s. The Beats scene/Dilla vibes. Jazz, Soul, African, Latin & Carribean music, Jungle, Ghettohouse, Ghettotech and Booty Bass. All these sounds influence my music. Plus the hybrid music that my friends and colleagues make.”

Are there any specific artists or tracks you’ve experienced recently that particularly excite/inspire you?Kareem Ali, Kai Alcé, Quas, Quinn Mason, Divine Interface, Jon Dixon, Ben Hixon, ByrontheAquarius, Marcellus Pittman, WBeeza, Turbulance, man so many folks and songs. These are just what comes to mind.”

What is the best DJ set you’ve ever seen and how would you describe its appeal? “Rick Wilhite at Spotlite Monday June 1st 2021. You could see the music enter this man’s body and flip the switch. His energy and music selections created a hurricane of motions and emotions that night. I know my feet rarely touched the ground.”

Stefan Ringer: Soundcloud, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

You can download Truancy Volume 279: Stefan Ringer in 320 kbps and view the full tracklist by supporting Truants on Patreon here. Your support allows Truants to continue running as a non-profit and ad-free platform. Members will receive exclusive access to mixes, tracklistings, and merchandise. We urge you to support the future of independent music journalism – a little support would go a long way.

Taylor Trostle