Rusko talks Minneapolis, fan gifts and YouTube

Categories: DJ Q&A
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Internationally renowned producers rotate through Minneapolis every week now as dubstep takeover seems increasingly more imminent, with acts like Skrillex, Benga and our own Vaski hypnotizing the young electronic music crowd with every wicked wobble and sadistic bass attack. This week one of the genre's most famous producer/DJs returns to First Avenue to continue the onslaught. 

Leeds native and Los Angeles import Rusko's song-based approach to dubstep makes his tracks some of the young sound's most catchy dancefloor burners, proof last April when he opened for hipster magnet Major Lazer: Fans lined up early at 8 p.m. at First Avenue for his opening set, which is not a habit of most electronic music late-nighters. With Rusko's Everyday EP freshly released and studio album OMG under his belt along with instrumental credits on MIA's Maya album, the friendly-faced twentysomething has had a great year since we last saw him. We caught up with him for a quick conversation right before he starts the tour that's coming back to First Ave. on Wednesday, and as usual, his energy was infectious as his beats.

So you're coming back to Minneapolis to hang out with us again.

Yeah, absolutely! I've got to apologize if I seem a little distant it's because I'm in a hotel room right now and we're in the middle of rehearsals. We leave on the tour bus at 2 a.m. for Oakland to start the tour. I've still got so much to do. But I'm here and I'm excited to do this.

Good, because everyone's really excited for your show, the video of the new stage setup looks crazy.

Yeah, that was all me and my wife! We came up with the idea and my manager helped pull it together. You're just going to have to see it!

It looks like the letters of your alias and a lot of strobes.

It is that, but a little bit more. The DJ booth is really, really cool.
 
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Alex Uncapher for City Pages
Rusko show last April at First Avenue

You go crazy behind the DJ booth. Do you ever get bored of raging night after night up there?

I don't do anything for an hour before and after a set. I'm so sweaty after a show, it's unbelievable. It usually requires me having a shower or getting a new t-shirt or something. When kids throw me t-shirts on stage, it's such a blessing. I really need them at that point (laughs).

Speaking of gifts from fans, what's one you really remember?


A packet of Parliaments when I was on stage once. It was totally what I was craving in my head at that very moment. I remember thinking, 'I really need a cigarette,' and someone threw me a brand new box out of nowhere.

So the EP Everyday came out last week. When do we get a full artist album?

I don't know, I don't know! I'm scared. When it gets done, I guess.

 Do you get nervous about making people happy?

Not really, I just want to keep pushing myself. Everything sounds old to me in my head. So when I'm working on music, I need to make stuff that sounds new to me and that's maybe why it sounds like it's evolving. I want my sound to get better. I'm always downloading synths or trying to find a new sound. If you're a graphic designer or architect you try to get better as you get older, right? Same thing.

Your tracks have a lot of interesting vocal snippets and samples. How do you come to decide on those?

A lot of it is sample based, yeah. It's just about sitting there and listening to anything. I get a lot from YouTube, it's amazing. It's great for this kind of stuff. Listen to "Lick The Lizard" and you'll know what I mean.

Speaking of YouTube, it was cool to see you in your video for "Hold On" featuring Amber Coffman.

Yeah, that was the last single we put out. The video was just a concept of going around Enlgand and we had this dude Jason follow us around and show what it's like doing what we do.
 
You're living in LA, correct? Last I heard you were living with MIA as you produced her album.

I live in Silver Lake in LA and have for about 2 years. It's all good, I love it. I only stayed with MIA when we were making the record.

Since we last talked, I remember talking to you about the dubstep community in Minneapolis, which has since blown up and taken over. Have you seen much of a change in the overall scene during your travels?

I've not really seeen much of a change overall. It's been getting really young, but that's OK, that's cool. It's a total mix of ravers and almost like, grungy kids. They get really sweaty and go hard and it's all good. Do you reckon it will be like that on Wednesday?

Yes, definitely. Remember last year a ton of people turned out early for your set?

Yeah, that was wild. Can't wait to come back.
 

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