45hz020 – Ruckspin
June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Ruckspin recently recorded a mix in collaboration with Outlook Festival and FACT magazine. The mix showcases his own work, the work of friends and of his band Submotion Orchestra. It is a sublime little trip through the more melodic side of the dubstep circles.
Cliché questions first; Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little background information about how you ended up doing music full time? Did you start on the slower end of the bpm scale, or towards the faster end?
Music has been full time for me since I was at school – orchestras, choirs, and other things outside of school. Classical music doesn’t have any particular bpm, but i guess that’s where it all started. Later on, I began playing with my friends’ garage vinyl, but really started collecting and spinning dnb seriously in my late teens. I’ve always had a fascination with all kinds of music from classical and jazz to jungle and leftfield electronica, so when dubstep first appeared, the variety of everything that began to come from the new genre really excited me, as well as being a great challenge from a DJ perspective – building a set full of all kinds of styles of tune from deep dub techno through to tearing synth-heavy crunk and everything in between.
As well as your own productions, you’ve also collaborated with a lot of other quality producers. Are there certain things about making tunes which you enjoy more when you can bounce ideas back and forth?
There are so many reasons I enjoy collaborating with other producers. Production is always better when you get a second opinion at some stage in the process. It’s usually even better if the producers involved are on an equal pegging in terms of technical ability, and you can get constant feedback and input along the way. In the case of Cymatic, it’s like a full-on producer-fest, where we just geek out in the studio for a week. There are a few other tunes I’ve made with different producers all contributing ideas. It’s really fun and can lead to amazing tunes, but you have to stay open-minded to where the tune is going, and just let it happen.
For a lot of my friends and myself, its been a welcome change to the whole robotic side of the scene, so can you explain how Submotion Orchestra came into being? What sort of musical background did the others guys, and girl come from?
Submotion Orchestra came about as a result of a live orchestral dubstep performance at Yorkminster Cathedral. It was a great success, and soon afterwards myself and the drummer put together a group of local talent to perform our compositions. We started off performing live versions of my existing releases ‘Sunshine’ and ‘All Night’ among others. All the musicians involved have varied musical backgrounds and experience, which is great as it becomes a bit of a melting pot of dub, jazz, garage, soul, and even influences from south american and african rhythms.
Which producers would you say influenced you the most in terms of sounds and studio techniques?
The people that have influenced me the most are my friends, and the people I’ve worked with on music. In my earlier years it was all just experimentation, and it was great to have people to experiment on music with and push production boundaries with. Quark, Quantum Soul, Planas, Reso, J Sparrow, DLR & Octane, Goth Trad all have different ways of working and I guess my techniques fit in there somewhere.
Following on from that, are there any tips you can give to the more bedroom orientated producers out there?
Mainly what happens is you pick up habits more than techniques, and it’s good to constantly challenge yourself with new directions, so you don’t fall into a rut with the same old drum processing or the same tired synth presets. That’s also another benefit about collaborating with other musicians and producers – they will always have a different approach to the same music, and so you will always have to look at things in a new light. On the other hand, you can really explore your own ideas and approaches in depth once you have some time to yourself!
Everyone’s opinion is as valid as the next when it comes to what makes a good tune, so make sure you can appreciate music from as many angles as possible – but don’t forget to stick up for yourself!
When it comes to playing out, are you still playing via vinyl or have you gone over to the digital side?
I’m still a vinyl addict, though I have cut down recently. I’m finding that as much as dnb and dubstep consumers still support vinyl production, the mainstream genres along with house & techno have gone fully digital. This has a knock-on effect on the underground genres too.
I rarely take vinyl to gigs any more because a) i’m old and my back can’t take the amount of tunes I want to take now, b) when i turn up at the venue, the chances are the decks will be poorly serviced (if there are any at all) because not many DJs use vinyl now, c) everyone is so keen to hear new unreleased material that I can’t afford to cut enough dubs, let alone simply wait for vinyl releases, d) I want to hear my tunes on a loud soundsystem with lots of bass, and generally that means the architect of the venue, as well as the technician, needs to know about how to avoid feedback if I want to be able to play vinyl properly.
When I play at my own night, I mostly play vinyl. Anywhere else I wouldn’t like to take the risk. It’s a real shame but I guess it’s part of the technological evolution and we either have to embrace it or soldier on, bearing a cross of 3 trolley-bags of vinyl and some spare needles everywhere like I see one DJ in leeds do. He has my full support but I fear his defiance is in vain.
With what you mentioned about the orchestral involvement at Yorkminster, is that something you’d like to do on a larger scale across a tour or do you not think it’d be possible?
I would love to do something like that again. We were given 1 month to put the entire thing together last time, so I’d love to do it over again, with some more time to write and arrange everything, as well as time to do some proper rehearsals. Everyone that was involved expressed a wish to do that again too, but I’m yet to figure out how best to mic up a full orchestra including church organ, drum-kit, grand piano and synth sub-bass on a 15k soundsystem in a cathedral with 12second reverb…
The day will come though, I’m sure…
Anyone you’d like to thank or big up?
Bigups to all the ranking records gang, cymatic, submotion, central beatz, outlook festival and all the promoters and djs who i’ve met so far, all the producers I’ve worked with, all the bands I’ve done remixes for, and all the great soundsystems i’ve had the pleasure of playing on. Bigup also to the people that have an opinion about, search for, dance to, buy, talk about, and listen to new music. The world would be rubbish and boring if you people didn’t exist.