Rusko is the man.
This English-born, Los Angeles-based DJ-producer is a veteran of the dubstep sound. He basically invented the upbeat wobble known as brostep. But that doesn't mean he's a fan. In a world full of bangers, Rusko just wants to bring the funk and the fairy wings.
Recently, we learned all about the lighter side of the cockney thug. And it turns out there's a lot more to him than just big, wobbly bass.
New Times: Your sound is very funky and melodic compared to a lot of your peers, especially on the new album, Songs. Even though you're revered as an icon of the genre, do you feel yourself moving away from dubstep?
Rusko: Yeah, certainly. I definitely wanted to make the album a lot more melodic and a lot different than the current state of dubstep. I didn't want it to be angry. And 80 percent of dubstep music right now is angry to me. I wanted to make a record that was fun.
It's almost like you're being attacked when you go to a show.
Exactly. I don't want to go to a show to be attacked. I want to go to a show and be loved. I just wanted to make something that was positive, because a lot of the dubstep out there right now is very dark, heavy, and aggressive. I wanted to make something happy.
How do you think it got that way?
In the early days, the people who were making dubstep had pretty much exclusively either been making garage or drum 'n' bass. Whereas now there are people who used to be in rock bands making it, people who used to make all kinds of different music having a go making dubstep. Everybody's having a go these days.
What is it like for you to watch how much it has changed and evolved?
I enjoy the separation now. For there to be something like the Korn record that came out, that's the complete polar opposite of my album, and it's still dubstep. There are so many people trying to choose what they want to do. They can come and rave or they can rock out. It's kind of one or the other.
Where do you see dance music moving? Have we taken harder styles as far as we can? Do you think people will start responding more to these funky songs?
I hope so. But then, the rock kids still want to go to a show and mosh and push each other around. The rock kids will always want to do that. So that's part of dubstep now, as well as the glowsticks and the fairy wings. They're still going to need an outlet, and there will be some producers for them. I'm definitely the fairy-wings, glowstick guy.
Why don't we ever see you wearing fairy wings onstage?
You just haven't seen the photos. I don't know why — ravers seem to love me. I get covered in kandi bracelets. I love it. I'm not a rocker.
It seems like you have a really wide range of tastes. Have you ever done other genres under an alias?
Yeah, I've actually been making ambient, minimal techno recently, for the last two months. I'm not telling anybody the name yet. But I've made four tracks and I'm definitely going to be coming out with an EP in the summer. The alias is a kind of play on my real name. That's all I'm going to say. It's just a nice little project while I'm on the road.
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So, what music would readers be surprised to learn is on your iPod right now?
I have four albums by the band Europe, who wrote "The Final Countdown." They're amazing. I love them.
What's your favorite?
My favorite song is "Rock the Night." The only one anybody ever knows is "The Final Countdown." Everybody should check out Europe — they fucking rule. If you love '80s keyboards, you'll love Europe. Ignore "The Final Countdown." Forget everything you know about Europe and listen to their albums with an open mind.