“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
One of the hardest aspects of mindfulness that we, as conscious individuals, will ever face is the act of introspection. To look inward at ourselves is a difficult task; turning to face the bright and slighter sides of ourselves is to know our strengths and our shortcomings. In doing so, we experience ourselves on a spectrum, feeling both instances of invincibility and crippling self-doubt- and every other mood in between both extremes. How we look at ourselves- how we look at our best and worst sides of ourselves- dictates how we cope. For some, this means utilizing a creative endeavour as therapeutic means towards internal stability. For producer Denny Ranno, a.k.a. DennyKid, this means shining a light on his struggles via music making.
Ranno is by no means new to the Italian and international entertainment markets. His first break onto the scene came in the form of the still-operational easycore band Tidus Is Alive, a project that has been both a solo and full-band endeavour at various points. The Italian market- littered with contemporary trap, techno, and edm- is far from forgiving when it comes to the production of alternative music, yet Ranno was undeterred. His broadening music palate and functional operation as a solo project has propelled him into widening seas of opportunity, gaining himself entry and foothold in the developing edm, trap, and hip-hop music market that holds fast to Italy’s rich musical history.
Though limitless in opportunity and boundless in his creative works, the young producer is no stranger to his own pitfalls. Ranno suffers from bipolar disorder, something that he openly shares throughout his lyrical creative works. He places emphasis on music as his most treasured therapeutic outlet, using it as a platform to highlight and deal with his struggles in mental illness. Of course, this is unsurprising, as most artists use their artistry as a form of self-expression, dialogue, and therapy. What makes Ranno’s particular approach to the subject matter via his medium is his accessibility. Where instrumentally and lyrically he could deliver dark, brooding tones, Dennykid’s output takes a much sunnier undertaking. Bouncy, delicate musical delights and artfully spun upbeat lyrical presentations are what gives Ranno’s musicality such an uptick, marking his outstanding accessibility and maturity as a musician. Whatever Dennykid creates, light inevitably touches- even in his darker moments.
I had the pleasure of talking with Dennykid about his directional approach to his music, the avenues that he takes in maneuvering the masses and his openness in mental illness, and where he believes his drive will take him to next. Enjoy!
Ouch That Hertz!: Ciao, Denny! è molto tempo che non ci si vede! How have you been?
Dennykid: Ciao Katt, hai proprio ragione, è molto tempo! I’ve been doing quite well and I’m really glad to talk to you again.
OTH!: I’ve seen that you’ve been busy and working hard this past year! You released quite a few covers under Tidus Is Alive, dropped “Stay Afloat” and, more recently, the explosive “Sasuke (This House Is On Fire).” Now you’re working under Dennykid productions- something that you have been alluding to via FB and instagram for months now. What made you interested in taking a more electro-pop approach? Is it because your native Italy has long been deep in the burgeoning electronic music scene?
Dennykid: Yeah Italy’s music scene is huge right now and it’s all about trap, but main reason is that It was time for me to try something different from all the stuff I’ve been doing so far. I found fertile ground in this new wave of trap music which has a lot of similarities with the rock music, at least musically speaking.
OTH!: While we’re on the topic of Tidus Is Alive, I have to ask: is TIA dead? Or are you going to focus on both your work as an electro-pop producer AND your previous easycore work?
Dennykid: TIA is not dead at all! I just needed to breath some fresh air and stay away for a while from the same music routine, but I’m planning to make a great come back. I am going to focus on both projects.
OTH!: Your friend & former bandmate, Genny Amatore, also recently left the alternative scene to pursue a career in electronic/trap music under the moniker Samurai Jay. Do you anticipate following a similar path?
Dennykid: Genny is doing great things and I’m proud of what he’s accomplishing but our paths are pretty different. I can’t collocate my self in the Italian trap scene, besides I’m still singing in english which I consider the language where my music fits better (so far).
OTH!: Furthermore, what direction do you think you want to pursue in music and entertainment?
Dennykid: I will produce music for other artists and for myself under the name “DennyKid” and continue the path with “Tidus Is Alive” as well.
I consider music like therapy, a safe place where you can let it all out.”
OTH!: Let’s focus on your work as Dennykid. Specifically, your brand new single “Demons & Heroes.” I think what I love about this is the fact that, while this takes a new trap-twinged-pop approach to your musicality, there’s still the remnants of your easycore mentality. Specifically, the breakdown-esque drop before the last chorus. Is this an instrumental choice that you’re going to continue to use?
Dennykid: Yeah, absolutely! I wanted to merge all my influences with the music I’ve been listening lately. It was a challenge but I like the way it turned out. It’ s a choice I am going to use in the future for sure.
OTH!: The topic of “Demons & Heroes” surrounds the seemingly silent struggle with and inability to escape the demons in your mind: “You really don’t know what I’ve been gettin through
cause demons in my mind are getting wild.” Can you tell me what fears it is that you’re facing? What are these demons and heroes in your head?
Dennykid: Demons and Heroes are the representation of a bipolar mind which has to deal with its up and down. Demons represent the inner fears, paranoia while heroes, on the other hand represent the good vibes, the moments when you feel invincible just like a hero.
OTH!: In the chorus, you talk about how these demons and heroes are constantly raging a party on either side of your mind:
“Today I’m gonna dive into my fears
I’m making deals with the monsters inside
demons and heroes, the struggle is real
They’re gonna party till the day I die
They cheer me up, they let me down
they will be chasing me if I run outta town.”
I think it’s interesting that you present the concept of internal struggles with facets of yourself as a two-sided party that you’ll never escape. Even the instrumental and production for “Demons & Heroes” is upbeat and catchy, despite the grave subject matter. Is this a stylistic choice that you intend on keeping? Presenting the darker sides with lighter touches?
Dennykid: Yes! Especially for this specific song it was a choice I made to reppresent a dark and heavy topic, like bipolar disorder, with a lighter touch. You can also notice the irony I wanted to emphasize in the music video, with the demon and the hero making jokes with each other.
OTH!: Can listeners expect more on this subject matter of facing your inner fears?
Dennykid: I consider music like therapy, a safe place where you can let it all out. So, yes, absolutely!
OTH!: Your “Demons & Heroes” music video is also something that is unbelievably fun and mildly upbeat! And that scenery is stunning! Where was it shot? Did you take the lead on the direction of your music video and are you going to continue to release videos alongside any other singles?
Dennykid: It was shot on Mount Vesuvius, Naples. It was an original idea of mine and my friends helped me in the shooting and in the direction. I will continue to use the formula [of a] single + music video [release] ’cause it makes you able to focus better on a single content.
OTH!: Speaking of more material, do you have more songs under Dennykid in the works? Or maybe an upcoming album?
Dennykid: I am currently working on a new single. I wanna refine my sound and balance before I work on an album.
OTH!: Since you are both friends, I have to ask: do you have any future collabs with Samurai Jay planned in the future? Maybe collab with his producer, M4W, on some production work sometime?
Dennykid: We are always in touch and we are great friends in the first place. I supported him in the beginning of his career mixing and mastering his early stuff. Now he stands on his own feet along with his producer M4W and they’re doing amazing. Besides I always share my music with him and vice versa, to confront our ideas and vision, so never say never to a future collaboration with them.
OTH!: Well, that’s about all the time I have for you, Denny! Before I let you go, is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Dennykid: I’d like to encourage people to do what they love the most and to try hard to reach their dreams ’cause our time on earth is limited- it must not be wasted. Thank you for this interview Katt, I’ll see you soon!