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Caspa: I was born in Islewood in 1982.
Rusko: I was born in 1985 in Leeds, sort of between Leeds and Yorkshire. So I was brought up in Yorkshire and went to the college of music to get a music degree in Leeds, learned the trade up there and then moved down here to apply the skills. (laughs) But I`m still reppin`.
Caspa: My mum works in a doctor`s office as a receptionist, and my dad works in the council. My old man`s a... Read moreRUSKO
Caspa: I was born in Islewood in 1982. Rusko: I was born in 1985 in Leeds, sort of between Leeds and Yorkshire. So I was brought up in Yorkshire and went to the college of music to get a music degree in Leeds, learned the trade up there and then moved down here to apply the skills. (laughs) But I`m still reppin`.
Caspa: My mum works in a doctor`s office as a receptionist, and my dad works in the council. My old man`s a record collector, he`s mainly into punk but his collection`s varied – from Elvis, 50`s stuff to the 60`s, 70`s, 80`s he`s into everything really, but he`s especially into punk, big time. Music was always around me, but I was never a music person, really. Before I got into music, I used to play basketball. I was quite serious with basketball; I played for England and got a scholarship to America. But I dislocated my shoulder – I`ve done it about 15 times now. I used to play basketball all the time, semi-professionally, and I was really serious about it but I had to stop playing because of my shoulder. I was always interested in music growing up but whenever I stopped playing basketball, I started paying more attention to it. I`d always wanted to DJ but didn`t have time before then, so I started to DJ a bit and then I learned to produce, and got deeper and deeper and deeper into it Rusko: My mum used to be in a band, right up until 3 months before I was born. It was kind of like weird folk, country music, she used to sing and play the mandolin. (Caspa laughs) What are you laughing at? I`m only telling my story! What do you expect me to say – I was born in fucking Croydon, raised in the ghetto selling drugs and now I make dubstep? (laughs) It`s not like that, it`s a nice story! I wish I had a ghetto story but no, my mom used to sing in a folk band in Yorkshire. Before I was born, I was at the front of the stage in my mum`s belly – so yeah, before I was even born, I was rockin` it on stage. Her band was called Ventura Highway – she`ll absolutely love that I just dropped that name!
Caspa: Growing up, I was listening to jungle. At school, jungle was what it was all about so I had loads of tape packs and that. My Brockie & Det tape is one I`ll always remember. But I was also into hip hop heavily, I`d listen to Mobb Deep, Wu Tang Clan, early Nas stuff, Talib Kweli, then I got really into the Rawkus type sound, Pharoahe Monch, Common, everything like that. So musically, I was all over the place. My dad was listening to punk, my brothers were into hip hop, at school there was jungle, so there were all these influences all around me. My roots are just everywhere, really. Rusko: Because of my mum`s band, there were always guitars and stringed instruments flying around the house when I was growing up; music was always all around me. I`ve still got a banjo at my flat, yeah I play a bit of banjo then moved on to bass and saxophone, which I stuck to – those were the two instruments I focused on for my degree. I studied music performance, rather than the technical side of production. I`ve never taken any classes in production. I never used to really go to my lectures at college; I used to always be in the studios using all the nice equipment. I was never really an electronic kind of person, although I am now, but I just come from playing real instruments and real music, that`s my background, really. I only started DJing to promote the music I was making – a lot of people are DJs and then they start producing; I was the other way around.
Caspa: I stopped playing basketball at 18, so that`s the age I got my first pair of decks. I couldn`t even mix records; I was awful at the time, absolutely awful. I started playing out well, I never played out at all until I started to produce. I made a tune called `Bassbin` on Fruity Loops, one of my first tunes, and I sent it to J Da Flex, who used to be on 1Xtra. He`s one of the guys that started the dubstep scene, but it wasn`t called dubstep back then, it was called dub garage or dark garage. I sent him the tune and he played it on `Hot Off The Press,` which was the part of his show for unknown producers` tunes to be played. Then two days later I had a phone call from a guy called DJ Lombardo, who was basically a dubstep pioneer, and he told me that he`d heard my tune on J Da Flex`s show. He said he wanted to sign it to his label Fragile Beats. Once I signed that, I started getting into DJing more and from there I got offered a show. Fragile Beats was, back then, the biggest dubstep label around and Rinse FM asked me to do a show to represent Fragile Beats. So from there, I started to get DJ bookings because I was associated with Fragile Beats and Rinse FM. It just kind of came out nowhere, really. It`s strange how it panned out. I`d only started pissing about on Fruity Loops because I wanted my own dubplates. I didn`t know anything about producing at all; I just threw sounds around and ran with whatever sounded good. I was just so into the bass-heavy sound - I loved the dark garage sound. I would go down FWD as often as I could; this was probably back in 2002. Then I`d go back home and try to recreate what I`d hear, and that`s how I kinda fell into production. Once I got associated with Fragile Beats and Lombardo`s label, I started to hanging `round some of the artists who produced, and obviously they had been doing it for a long time. So I`d sit in the studio with people like Search & Destroy, Dub Child and I`d be thinking, “How`d they do that bit?” They taught me a lot, and that`s how I progressed into production. Rusko: I used to do a lot of live producing – I`d record live instruments and putting electronic stuff in them, all sorts of things like that, from a very young age. I used to have a little drum machine when I was about 14. My mum used to go mad because I would always be on her computer – remember when your mum got her first computer and it was the most precious thing ever? It was like that. I was always on her computer once I figured out how to hook up my drum machine up and once I figured out a way to hook up my mum`s record player to it. That was the start, really. So I`ve been producing for a long, long time – I`m the first one to say I`m not a DJ, I`m not DJ Rusko. (laughs) I`ve always been into electronic music, I just come from the other end. I come from dub, really. Dub is the one for me. The whole studio ethos behind dub, and making dub, is what got me into making electronic music. If I`d grown up in London, I would`ve been into garage and all that kind of stuff – but growing up in Leeds, there isn`t any of that. It just doesn`t exist; you don`t even hear about it because there`s just so much dub and dub reggae. I miss it so much living in London now - in Leeds, most nights there`s some kind of dub soundsystem but down here there`s just not as much demand for it. I started off by making dub tunes and then Mark from Iration Steppaz started playing some of them. Iration have a shop up in Leeds, so I`d take my tunes, try them out on the system in their shop and they`d be like “do this do that do this ” So I`d come back with another one a few days later and talk to them about it. It was kinda like trial and error, being guided the way a little bit by those boys. That was before dubstep was really dubstep; I was just making dub music, trying it out. I remember Digital Mystikz doing a set at Sub Dub and that was it. Dubstep was like what I was doing musically, but it was just a little bit more - made the beats a bit faster and harder I was just dub, no step. It`s only within the two years that I`ve put a `step` on the end. (laughs) I used to make hip hop and dub under the name Rusk, so I ran with Rusko for my dubstep productions.
Caspa: After I put a few productions out, I put out quite a big tune on Tempa in 2005, probably the tune that did it for me – it was called `Rubber Chicken.` It was one of the first tunes that started to really use that `wob wob` sort of sound. Once I put that tune out, I got hit up a lot more for gigs – they`d never heard me DJ before, but they just wanted to hear me play my new tunes. My first gig abroad was in Denmark and the second one was Finland, then I did a tour in Australia, so I just jumped straight into it basically. Rusko and I started DJing together after we made a tune together called `Custard Chucker.` We were remixing each other`s tunes as well. So even though we`re separate artists, people started associating us with each other and booking us together for gigs. We can do a good set together because we play the same sound Rusko: I reckon we`re best when we play back to back. If I get booked to play a one hour set, I`ll end up playing exactly the same tunes as Caspa – we end up arguing who gets to play what! (laughs) We`ve got almost identical record bags.
Caspa: We work well together as DJs for that reason.
Rusko: Plus we have a quick turnaround; all the artists on our label are knocking out tunes constantly. So your DJ box one month looks completely different the next; the turnaround of tunes is fast. That`s good, because people get bored of tunes so quickly, they`re hungry for it, they want to hear more, more, more, more
LABELS & PRODUCTIONS
Caspa: I started a label called Dub Police to put out tunes from up and coming artists that no one`s heard of, a platform for them. I was speaking to one of friends and he`d asked if I`d heard this producer named Rusk. I went on his Myspace and liked the tune he had up so I emailed to ask him to send me some more tunes over. He sent load of tunes over and I said, “I like that one, that one and that one, want to do a release on the label?” And it all started to come together from there – the releases did well, people were playing the tunes out, he moved down to London Rusko: I moved down the street from him and started helping on board with Dub Police, helping out with the label and that kind of stuff so it kind of rolled out from there. We live near each other, it`s almost like we live together!
Caspa: The first release came out in 2006 and he moved down here what, about 6 months ago? Rusko: Yeah, about that. I`d been making dub and I made about 4 dubstep tunes, only 2 minutes long each, to play as interludes in my own DJ sets. It was little more than an experiment. They weren`t even proper tunes – four 2 minute dubstep interludes – to have a go at it and put in my set, and two of them ended up getting put out on the first EP. So I thought I`d try it out - move to London and make dubstep. It was a proper gamble moving down to London; I didn`t know a single person in London apart from Caspa so I was literally leaving my family, my girlfriend, my home, everything. The first few months were hard – no job, no money, all my friends were still living up north, it was hard work. Luckily it`s all come back together now, but it was a real gamble – on one release, it could either go one way or the other and it`s gone further, way further, than I expected it to.
Caspa: Living the dubstep dream. (laughs) Rusko: I still make a bit of dub and hip hop on the side because when you`re travelling around doing gigs, all people want to talk about and hear is dubstep. I get sick to the back teeth with it! So when I go home, sometimes I just want to make some nice, chillin, melodic hip hop; I don`t necessarily want to go home and do more dubstep. Usually when I go home after a weekend of dubstep, I`ll go home and crack on with some drum n bass, dub, hip hop.
Caspa: I try to make a bit of drum n bass on the side, but I don`t have time like I used to anymore! Rusko: We just like to have a bit of fun. A lot of dubstep is really serious, but we try to not take ourselves too seriously. I`ve got a tune called `Mr Chips` that`s on the mix, it`s got the `Catchphrase` sample in it! It`s all about things like that; I`m totally not on a serious tip.
Caspa: All music gets a bit serious when it becomes popular, the scene tends to get more serious. It`s one thing to be serious about what you do and be passionate about it, but you can still have a laugh with it. If you get too serious, you get up your own arse. Rusko: The content of the music, the actual musical content in the tunes, is quite serious – all the Digital Mystikz stuff and that kind of sound is serious music. Whereas our stuff is – well, it`s party music, it`s a bit more tongue in cheek. And, in some ways, it`s almost closer to drum`n`bass.
FABRIC Rusko: The first time I played was on a Saturday night, in Room 2, on the same night as Monolake. It was crazy – it was good to play to a techno crowd.
Caspa: I played with DJ Yoda, Andy C, Pendulum on a Friday night in Room 1. I loved it. For me, if you play at fabric, then you`re establishing your scene. Fabric`s fabric – it`s legendary. Rusko: Yeah, definitely, of course.
Caspa: To even be on the same lineup as legends like Andy C, Hype Rusko: It`s pretty obvious that we love drum`n`bass. So we`ve been coming to fabric for drum`n`bass for quite a while. It`s amazing to play in the club ourselves, and to hear our own tunes played down there. At a drum`n`bass night at FABRICLIVE a few months back, three separate DJs – TC, Clipse and Chase & Status - played `Cockney Thug` throughout the night. No other dubstep was played in that room all night, so 8 hours of drum`n`bass, only one dubstep tune was played, and it was played three times! That`s crazy to me. Switch & Sinden have been dropping it at FABRICLIVE too.
Caspa: When I set up my Dub Police label, it was for new artists - and it still is – so we`re constantly bringing through new artists. When we play down FWD, which is pretty much the home of dubstep, we`ll play a set where most of the tunes are unknown. We play new artists and bring people through, from all over the world – European artists, American artists. The fabric mix represents that; we`ve put unknown tunes artists on there that are from all over. Rusko: Sweden, Norway, America
Caspa: But then we obviously have represented the UK as well, like Coki from Digital Mystikz, Skream we play whatever`s good. The mix is very much the sound of now. Rusko: We drew up a list of the biggest tunes we`ve been playing the last few months and narrowed it down so it`s purely from trial and error when we play out; there`s not any brand spankin` new stuff. Tried and tested tunes that we know will work together. It`s all angles covered. Caspa: If you listen to our sets, there`s no doubt about it: we are party DJs. Rusko: It`s jump-up party music. Like I said, it`s a lot like drum`n`bass. The majority of people in dubstep think “drum`n`bass” is a dirty word, they`re trying to get away from the whole drum`n`bass scene. They`re trying to do their own thing separately - they`ve got something to prove I guess.
Caspa: I think the dubstep scene is afraid of what happened to the drum`n`bass scene – it`s all held down by rules, formulas – like, “if it`s not like this, with this long of an intro, it won`t get played.” It`s a very watered-down, diluted, narrow-minded way of thinking. Rusko: The drum`n`bass style of performing and mixing is kind of what we bring on the mix. It`s kind of like fast mixing, heavy basslines, double-dropping, cutting, chopping – we DJ in the style that Hype or Andy C would bring.
Caspa: But then we`ve also put a lot of deep, dubby tunes on there. Rusko: Because that`s us and that`s what we love. It is pretty relentless but it builds up quite nicely: it`s not just a “power hour” option of a rinse-out all the way through!
Caspa: It`s a journey, but it`s our journey.
Caspa: The future is what we`re doing now. We`re just gonna carry on what we`re doing and enjoy it. Just keep rolling with it and hopefully it will get bigger and better Rusko: I think the future of dubstep is definitely out of the UK. Last year was pretty much exclusively releases from UK artists on the record racks; this year, the record racks are filled with German producers, American producers, Swedish producers I reckon it will be half and half soon – 50% UK producers, 50% rest of the world. There aren`t really any countries left that dubstep DJs aren`t getting bookings anymore: every country`s caught on to it. It`s spreading.Show less