Disko Cowboy Discusses the Cross-Cultural Vision of Vinyl Ranch

"It's kind of like a pop culture blender of analog culture and postmodern memes."

Disko Cowboy Discusses the Cross-Cultural Vision of Vinyl Ranch
Photo by Emily Jaschke

If you’re standing dead center in Zilker Park during Friday night’s ACL Fest, there’s a chance you’ll get an interesting sound-bleeding mashup between headliners George Strait and Miley Cyrus, which, as incongruous as it may seem, makes perfect sense to Dave Wrangler. As Disko Cowboy, Wrangler has been mashing up a unique blend of Texas and pop culture for over a decade, and built his Vinyl Ranch brand into a cultural force in the Lone Star State.

Growing up in the Blanco County Hill Country, Wrangler made a name for himself producing rap albums and DJ’ing high-profile parties and events in Houston in the mid-2000s. Vinyl Ranch began as a fun side gig spinning country LPs once a month downtown.

“Fast-forward to about 2014 and I realigned Vinyl Ranch with what was happening with social media and decided to braid my nightclub persona into my country persona, and I created Disko Cowboy to be a perfect pairing,” explains Wrangler. “It’s turned into a universe unto itself.”

As a DJ, Disko Cowboy mixes a compelling blend of 20th century pop country and disco, modern bangers with Dolly Parton and ZZ Top. Those cross-cultural references also serve as the foundation for Vinyl Ranch, which has become an in-the-know brand selling merchandise like “Chattahoochee” hats in Gucci font and T-shirts melding iconography from Willie Nelson and the Misfits or Roy Clark and Joy Division.

“It’s a proper lifestyle brand, and we’re touching a lot of different cultural cornerstones across experiential, physical, and digital content,” Wrangler offers as his best pitch. “It’s kind of like a pop culture blender of analog culture and postmodern memes.”

It’s also a vision that celebrates Texas culture as intrinsically multifaceted and diverse.

“For me, it’s taking all these influences from Selena to taco trucks to Y2K rave culture to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Townes Van Zandt and Dirty South Houston and the Hill Country and Eighties pop culture,” he acknowledges. “I think whenever you make a statement about how it’s okay to be lots of things simultaneously, people kind of gravitate toward that. I don’t think I’m unique, I think lots of people do this, but up until recently there just wasn’t a lot of stuff out there saying, ‘Hey, it’s actually cool to listen to Slim Thug, wear a cowboy hat, to be from the Hill Country and be at a rave in a nightclub, and to do all these things simultaneously.’”

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