Rusty Santos

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Rusty Santos
OriginFresno, California
Occupation(s)Record producer, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, sampler
Years active2002-present
LabelsUUAR, Easel Records, Lo Recordings,
Associated actsThe Present, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Born Ruffians, White Magic, Owen Pallet, Ariel Pink, Vashti Bunyan, Gang Gang Dance, Holy Shit, Eric Copeland, Grizzly Bear, TV on the Radio, DJ Rashad, Dawn of Midi

Rusty Santos (born August 14, 1979) is a record producer and musician based in New York City. He is known for producing, recording, mixing and/or mastering records like Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs and the reissue of Danse Manatee, Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, Born RuffiansRed, Yellow & Blue, Owen Pallett's Heartland & In Conflict, DJ Rashad's Welcome to the Chi, Dawn of Midi's "Dysnomia", and many more.

As a musician he usually mixes his voice and guitar playing with samples. So far Santos has released four solo records and currently plays in The Present.


Rusty Santos grew up in Fresno, California. As a teenager, he met drummer Jesse Lee and both played together from the mid to the late 90's in punk and hardcore bands. After High School Santos moved to the Bay area and started travelling a lot, being heavily involved with West Coast underground culture and punk scene. When travelling to Berlin, he was introduced to German electronic music like Cluster and Minimal techno which changed his approach to music radically. After that he decided to move to New York City and started making solo tracks.[1]

After making friends with still widely unknown Dave Portner and Noah Lennox from Animal Collective, they asked him to help them with record production. By this means he received attention when Animal Collective's breakthrough Sung Tongs with Santos as producer received a great deal of critical acclaim in 2004. After that he went on tour with Animal Collective in 2004 and mixed their live sound.[2] The band's success was followed by Santos producing and remixing many others, mostly New York related bands like Ariel Pink, Terrestrial Tones, Panda Bear, Jane, Holy Shit, Gang Gang Dance and TV on the Radio. He also appeared on the Grizzly Bear album Horn of Plenty (The Remixes), remixing their song Campfire. In the meantime, he also met Thuy Pham and Miho Aoki and started collaborating on running their New York based record label, UUnited Acoustic Recordings.[3] After self-releasing two solo albums, he also gave his official debut as musician in 2004 with The Heavens, produced by himself and Dave Portner and released on UUAR. Afterwards he started playing new material on live shows with Jesse Lee, which were recorded in March 2006 with Lee and Paul Choe. The result was his second official solo record Eternity Spans, which was released in November 2006. After touring Japan, Santos and Lee played live in New York with friends during summer.

In summer of 2007, he started another recording project with Mina Ohashi, which eventually led to Santos, Ohashi and Lee founding the band The Present in April 2008. They released their debut World I See in following June on Lo Recordings and the Japanese label Easel Records. According to Santos, the album was entirely written and recorded in Stream-of-consciousness-style.[4] The Present toured the UK and Europe in the end of 2008 and summer of 2009. In June they released the follow-up The Way We Are.

In 2010, the duo shifted their focus to dance music influenced primarily by Chicago house, ghetto house, juke, and footwork. They released a collaboration with DJ Rashad in early 2013. Their new LP "FSG" is now released on Group Tightener Records.



  • Bad Is Good (2002, self-released)
  • Outside versus In (2003, self-released)
  • The Heavens (2004, UUAR)
  • A Up High/Beloved Below 7-inch (2005, UUAR)
  • Eternity Spans (2006, UUAR)

The Present[edit]


  1. ^ The Fader: "Freeload/Q+A: Rusty Santos Talks About The Present + Get Weird" September 18th, 2008
  2. ^ Collected Animals Post by David Portner under the username „wheeter“, February 19th, 2007
  3. ^ - UUAR
  4. ^ Forced Exposure Artist Index: Santos, Rusty