For the first time in a while, Rane Miranda is going through big changes in his life.
At age 23, Miranda has already experienced a surprising amount of difficulties. While growing up in California, he experienced homelessness for a time, developed and kicked a drug addiction that intertwined with friendships and romantic relationships, and dealt with instability within his family. But for his new life challenge, Miranda will have to discover if he has what it takes to chase his music dream when his back isn’t against the wall.
Over the past month or two, despite having an LP in the works and a slate of shows scheduled this summer, Miranda and his bandmates in Sad Bug, a low-fi emo rock band out of Boulder, have agreed to go their separate ways. Although the split is on good terms, Miranda is figuring out how to continue making music without the people who helped him get where he is. In the short term, he's having to fill the holes left by his bandmates in time for Sad Bug's performance at the fourth annual Compost Heap Festival this weekend at Seventh Circle Music Collective in Denver.
After spending much of his teenage years looking for a passion, Miranda finally was able to wrap his arms around music. His mother worked with him on learning the guitar while living out of a car, and he eventually adopted a friend’s obsession with music and made it his own. On Sad Bug's debut EP, 2019’s Kratom Crawler, listeners are not only hearing Miranda's life story, but also a person freely expressing himself in a way he hadn't been able to through any other form of communication.
“Music is something that makes me excited about the whole of life,” Miranda says. “It brings you into the present moment, and I feel truly connected to myself and others through it. To properly communicate what we are feeling can be very difficult, but through art, I can describe things too complex to try to talk about to most people.”
Miranda has impressively fought his way to success and stability. For the first time in eleven years, he lives in a house, and he's working at a cafe that serves as a bit of a hub for many Boulder musicians. He’s quickly made a nice life for himself in one of the dreamier cities in North America.
Not everything is in the air since his bandmates decided to move on, but Miranda admits he doesn't have a road map for what’s next. Maybe he doesn't need one. He does know that he won't hit rock bottom again just because of change.
With the new LP still looming, the Compost Heap gig coming up and the potential to expand his audience beyond Boulder, he certainly could be in worse shape as an aspiring musician. But even if a record deal never materializes or it takes a while before he can live solely off the money he makes with his art, Miranda has already found himself.
“I was searching for something that felt like that, like something that I was here to do," he explains. "For the longest time, that was in the back of my mind. For the longest time, I wasn't the type of person that was very outgoing.
“To play music and do this whole thing is probably one of the last things I’d try to do, just because of how uncomfortable it sounded and felt. But I guess I’m at the point now where I don’t do it as a hobby. I have fun, sometimes it’s emotional, but at the end of the day, I would say that I need to do it. It’s something that comes out and needs to be addressed and take a form.”
Since figuring out large pieces of his life, Miranda has also made it his mission to do something positive with his platform. With DIYCasual, a SoundCloud profile comprising live recordings from artists performing at DIY Boulder venue the Waffle House, Miranda hopes to build community with his peers.
“The idea is to try to turn it into some sort of nonprofit promotional company, or at least not for profit, that throws all-ages shows, promotes DIY. That’s the beginning of this idea of trying to use music as a way to help people.
"I’ve found something, finally, that I think I knew I wanted to do but thought would be hard," he says of his music. "I think at this point in my life, probably about two years ago, I decided not to half-ass anything ever again.”
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.