Mndsgn, aka Ringgo Ancheta, was born in San Diego, raised in the southern region of New Jersey, and is currently based in Los Angeles. The youngest of four in a family of Filipino descent, Ringgo grew up in a household where the love and appreciation for music was always synonymous. Self discovery began with illustrating the world through drawing and bboying which then evolved into a deeper appreciation for music as his older brother introduced him to rap music and beat production at a pivotal age.
In 2008, platforms like Myspace and AIM messenger played a key role in bringing Mndsgn together with beatmakers Knxwledge, Suzi Analogue and devonwho to form a voltron of kindred musicality and sensibility. The collective, known at the time as Klipmode, played and released beat tapes through a then-budding platform, Bandcamp, and as the music gained a cult following, Ringgo relocated to Los Angeles in 2011. Inspired by the flourishing community of producers on the West Coast, he self released beat tapes as well as a few projects distributed by labels Leaving and Fresh Selects, and regularly performed at local hubs such as Low End Theory.
From early on, Ringgo has aimed to explore the human condition in his music. Taken as a whole, his body of work chronicles the evolution of self, asking throughout: how can we live in a way that is true to ourselves? How can we find beauty in the everyday and unfamiliar?
Mndsgn began exploring these questions on his Stones Throw debut Yawn Zen (2014), which he followed up with Body Wash (2016), an album that drew heavily on '80s R&B and boogie, approached from a psychedelic, cosmic angle. Raw, mixtape-style records Snax and Snaxx followed in 2018 and 2019, along with the self-released Gonna B OK.
In the fall of 2018, Ringgo began building on dreams and sketches of songs that would later form new record Rare Pleasure. Rare Pleasure brings together the music that has inspired Mndsgn over the years -- R&B, soundtrack music, psychedelia and jazz -- into a rich, expansive record. To bring his vision to life, Mndsgn assembled a cast of musicians: Kiefer Shackelford (piano), Swarvy (guitar, bass), Will Logan (drums), Carlos Niño (percussion), Fousheé, Devin Morrison and Anna Wise (vocals), Miguel Atwood Ferguson (strings) and many other master craft contemporaries. Ringgo says: "Although this record took two years to write and record the demos, it didn't reach something much closer to its final form until we were able to record the final sessions in the studio with all of the musicians, taking only a week to lay everyone's parts down. The process was quite natural and much more aligned with my approach to capturing the illusiveness of a moment in time as opposed to something more diary-esque."
Ringgo describes the concept of 'Rare Pleasure' as an appreciation of sharing life, inward reflection, and the gift of joyful catharsis. Threaded throughout the album is a 'Rare Pleasure' theme inspired by soundtrack music, specifically 70s/80s library and theme music, whose repetitions and variations, Ringgo says, "echo the recurring motifs we experience in life, sometimes being revisited by the same lessons in different shapes and forms."
Experiences in Ringgo's own life informed many of the songs' lyrics: 'Hope You're Doin' Better' was written while processing a loved one's struggle with mental health. "Although communication between each other was severed, it allowed the opportunity to truly acquaint myself with the concept of loving from afar," Ringgo explains.
'Medium Rare' and 'Colours of the Sunset' seek transcendence through simple acts of self-love and introspection. 'Abundance' continues on the same theme, gesturing towards "the journey of realizing the inner abundance that's always accessible whether we realize it or not." 'Slowdance' was written as a dedication to the vulnerability of growth in new relationships.
Though the message of Rare Pleasure feels especially relevant to the present moment, it has been a guiding principle throughout Mndsgn's life: "We are beings living this human life that's only going to happen once and only once, every moment infused with a magical impermanence, a rarity."