Rusko: “I want tunes to sound big without having to go ‘RRRRRRRRR’
In the short space of five years, the Leeds born producer has gone from creating seminal dubstep anthems to demos for Britney Spears and having the opportunity to have studio sessions with R&B superstar Rihanna.
Last summer, he released his highly anticipated debut album OMG! which featured tracks from his earlier days to ones which achieved partial mainstream success.
“The tracklist changed and changed and then the release date changed and changed. The whole reason I waited was just to get it right and I wanted it to be something different. It all still sounds like me,” he says. “It was pretty much five years in the making. There are tracks on there like Oy that never came out. That was just a case of it being a track that was really popular and it just hadn’t come out. There were a few tracks like that and Scareware which had been around for ages. They were popular tracks that DJs had been playing that needed to get out there.”
But with the album came criticism. Once again, many of his fans felt it was not the same Rusko who had produced Cockney Thug or Jahova.
“There were a few tracks that you could say that about. I purposely wanted it to be more musical, I’m a more musical person now. Always at the end of a track, I take stuff out. That’s always the last part of making a track for me. I put too much in, too many chords and melodies but dance music you’ve got to keep it simple, especially dubstep.”
“The most effective tracks are the simple ones so for the album I just left all the melodies, chords and vocal stuff in. Rather than having simple bass and beats, try to make it fuller and musical. That’s just me as a musician. I also get a little crazy with my talkbox too,” he says.
When looking back on the album with him, he, surprisingly, hinted that future releases would be given away for free. Much like the old Rusko Lost Dubs he gave away last summer.
“I would have got it out quicker and made it free. I think I’m going to give the majority of my music away for free now, I’ve got Everyday on Mad Decent and then I’m going to try and give at least of half of my stuff away. With the album taking so long to come out, it made me realise I just want people to have the tracks. I literally want as many people as possible to have the music,” he says.
Nearly two years ago, Rusko moved to America with his wife, Belinda, and it is evident from his latest release, Everyday, living across the Atlantic has had an impact on his music.
“The new tracks I’ve been making are borderline trance. They’ve got big synths and massive build ups. I’m so rave focussed now, I’ve just been purely on the road non stop.”
One of the accusations thrown at the producer is that he his now making what the purists would call ‘brostep’. But Rusko himself is against this emerging sub-genre of dubstep.
“There’s too much dubstep now that is just who can make the craziest noise possible, who can make the dirtiest, most angriest noise possible and that’s not what it’s about,” he says.
“I want tunes to sound big without having to go ‘RRRRRRRRR’; I want it to sound big with chords, melodies and massive crescendos. I’m making trancestep at the moment – that big massive rave tune. It seems to be working nice. I haven’t made a track with a wobble or a big dirty bass for months and months. I’ve been trying to make tracks that are more epic than that but without having to resort to making angry noises.”
In recent years, the dubstep genre seems to have represented the renaissance of underground bass music while ironically breaking through into the mainstream at the same time. I ask Rusko for his thoughts on the movements, especially dubstep’s, progression over the last few years.
“There’s nothing constant in dubstep and I think that’s why people like it and follow its journey. You can make a track that sounds like it’s influenced by garage or you can make a track that sounds like it’s influenced by heavy metal and the same fans will like it. It’s just bass music. The reason why I’ve been going on a trance tip recently is purely because of how it sounds.”
“To see dubstep turn into pure, crazy, sweaty, glowstick rave is wicked.”
So, where does the producer see this movement going? “It’s going to get bigger and bigger like the big techno house shows where you have the big events like Creamfields,” he says. “As the rooms are getting bigger, the tracks need to get bigger to fill the room.”
Around the time of his album release, the news broke that he had been working with pop star Britney Spears. When her album dropped last month, while hinting on dubstep influences, it did not feature any Rusko produced tracks. But he did do demos for her.
“We’ve had a lot of stuff going on. I do demo tracks for a lot of stuff. I write tracks with a songwriter called Evan who we have done a bunch of stuff together. We’re always working.”
Whether or not it is unease on his part, the conversation quickly moves on to other people he is working with. While talking about these collaborations, he also reveals another big name.
“I cancelled Rihanna sessions to work with a kid called Cody Wise from the east coast. He’s absolutely amazing and sounds like a young Michael Jackson. He’s like a young starlet, his mum comes to all the sessions with him. He’s in all these Interscope meetings and he’s just a little kid but super talented. No one’s ever heard of him this year but next year, you’ll be like Beiber who?”
Rusko’s seminal tracks such as Cockney Thug and Jahova, a track legendary reggae broadcaster, David Rodigan, still spins in his DJ sets, will have been out nearly four years this September and are the tracks that introduced the vast army of his fans to his music. I ask him about the importance of these tracks today.
“I can’t walk off the stage without playing them. Even when everyone wants to hear the new stuff and you’ve got to be up to date with all the new tracks, I still can’t leave the stage without playing the older tracks. People love to still hear it now. I get booed off the stage if I don’t get Cockney Thug.”
For any artist though, progression is important to their career and Rusko seems aware of striking a correct balance especially for his fans when he is playing out.
“I try and balance it out a bit because personally, I love hearing my new ideas and I’m super excited to hear my new little tracks and see how they sound and how the crowd react,” he says. “But sometimes I have to remind myself people don’t want to hear all my new stuff so I’ll give them something like Woo Boost. I try and kept it half and half.”
It has been a rollercoaster five years for the Leeds born producer including a debut album, non stop touring and with new material out just this month, it seems Rusko has no intention of slowing down.
“I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath. I only put my album out nearly a year ago and it took five years to get to that point. It’s been literally non stop and everything changes week by week.”
In 2011 though, Rusko is thriving in Los Angeles and when I ask him about a return to the UK, he replies, “I don’t know, maybe in the future. But right now, I’m doing as much over the UK as I am in the States.”
“But I’m not going to lie, I love LA.”
Everyday and Lick The Lizard, Rukso’s is available now on iTunes. The single package also includes Everyday remixes from DJ Q, Original Sin and Netsky.britney spears, chris mercer, Dubstep, music, rusko
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