For our second installment of 'Behind the Line Up' we're going to take some time to reintroduce you to the new and improved Rusko. Rusko (Chirs Mercer) has been a dancefloor name since the rise of early UK Dubstep and has been cited numerous times as being the one individual who brought the previously underground wobble bass to the masses. Growing up in Leeds in the UK before moving to London, Rusko always had an ear to the underground. With early releases on Sub Soldiers Rusko began to craft his dubstep sound with the help of label mate and fellow dubstep don, Caspa. It was on Sub Soldiers that Rusko released what is easily regarded as one of the first mainstream dubstep anthems, that being Cockney Thug which appeared on his five track, Babylon Volume One EP. It is this track that made the list at No.42 on The Guardians '50 Key Moments in Dance Music History' - a feat that was well deserved.
When Rusko moved his life from rainy London town to sunny Los Angeles, his sound made the dramatic change as well. Moving away from the darker sounds of dubstep, Rusko transitioned into producing more lighthearted and 'bouncier' sounds truly channeling the positive West Coast vibes. Having said in the past "The majority of dubstep at the moment I think is aggressive, and I don’t like angry music; I don’t want to be angry in a club. So I wanted to make something really happy, but still heavy" and Rusko did just that. The result? His genre blending second studio album "Songs."
"Songs" was released as a project which truly illustrated the maturity Rusko went through as a producer and the no holds barred attitude he developed. This approach is clearly evident in the diversity of sounds and genres presented to us on the album. Moving from house like vibes on the track "Thunder" and "Pressue" to the reggaesque sounds of "Skanka" and jungle vibes of "Whistle Crew", Rusko shows us that he is not just a master of dubstep, but also pulls influence from all genres of dance music. In retrospect the album gives us a great dose of foreshadowing to the next project Rusko had up his sleeve, this being his new Drum and Bass persona.
In July of this year Rusko released the "Lift Me Up" EP on Skrillex's OWSLA label, to which he is now exclusively signed. Lift Me Up brought us three equally massive tracks all cruising at a steady BPM of 175, these being: 'Lift Me Up', 'Murda Sound' (which employs the wicked use of a Jay-Z vocal sample) and the uplifting and melodic anthem 'Starlight.'
The progression into drum and bass appeared to be a natural transition for Rusko. In a recent Rollingstone interview he stated "I grew up listening to drum-and-bass and jungle music... I felt it was time to reflect this by making some of my very own. This really is the definition of music from the heart." Truer words cannot be spoken. Drum and Bass is the one genre that has been consistent and earned its place in the dance music world for more than 20 years and is a genre that producers are proud to be a part of. Rusko's shift in production styles was relatively seamless, for his previous sound has always stemmed from the roots of drum and bass and producers of the genre have been remixing his original works for quite sometime. Sigma, Netsky and Sub Focus have all tried their hand at some of his tracks with the Netsky rework of "Everyday" being one of the hardest hitting Netsky projects to date.
While some fans of the drum and bass genre have their reservations towards joining the Rusko camp due to the all too common dubstep resentment, I urge you all to take the time before Freakout to give his new work a chance because it is a guarantee you will enjoy the change of bassline scenery. Check out his UKF Podcast Mix HERE from back in August. This mix gives us a taste of what to expect in a Rusko Drum and Bass set - fast paced, unrelenting anthems mixed between old and new school dubs that will leave you shaking your ass to the sounds of Reso, Loadstar, TC, and Shockone alongside all the new Rusko tracks.
Take some time, give it a listen, and get to know. See you all next weekend at Freakout!
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