Rustie Talks Prog Influences, Warp Records, and His New Album, Green Language
Because he emerged alongside the UK dubstep explosion of the late 2000s, it would be an easy mistake to pigeonhole Scottish DJ-producer Rustie (AKA Russell Whyte) as a member of that trendy contingent.
Glass Swords, his critically acclaimed debut album from 2011, may have fit the basic textbook definition of dubstep with its deep sub-basslines and syncopated rhythms exceeding 140 beats per minute. But Rustie's sound is a whole other beast, bursting with exuberant, anthemic melodies and exalted crescendos -- like the soundtrack to waking up inside an epic live-action video game.
An artist with a lot to say musically, but a man of few words, we here at Crossfade were nevertheless able to cajole a few sentences out of him. Here's what he had to say about his influences, the honor of being signed to Warp Records, and his new album, Green Language.
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Crossfade: Your sound has been described as "hip-hop-gone-prog-rave." What did you grow up listening to? Which specific music genres and artists do you consider most informative to what you do as an artist?
Rustie: Lots of bands, like My Bloody Valentine, etc. I don't see any one genre being more important.
Your sound is marked by complex melodies and arrangements. Are you a classically trained musician?
Nope, I'm not classically trained. But I played guitar in school.
What's your creative process typically like while working on a track?
Normally late at night, and try to make the track quickly -- not overthink too much.
Do you consider yourself a product of the dubstep and post-dubstep movement? How important was dubstep to the development of your own production style?
I was never a dubstep artist.
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Signing to the legendary Warp Records put you in the company of some major electronic music trailblazers, like Aphex Twin, Autechre, and Boards of Canada. How influential was the label for you as a music fan growing up?
Warp has put out some great albums and artists over the years, and it's an honor to work with them. Boards of Canada being Scottish, and the early bleep techno stuff was always inspiring.
How did you end up hooking up with Warp?
My friend worked at the label, so it was very organic.
Is there a concept behind the Green Language album? What is the significance behind the title?
It's ancient language. It also refers to animal language, which is why birdsong features on the album.
Do you think Green Language marks an evolution or progression in your sound? How did you approach the creative process differently than on the previous album?
Definitely moved things forward with more prog influences on the album. This album features collaborations, which was definitely a different process from Glass Swords.
Your sound is electronic, but it defies the "EDM" categorization, since it's not strictly meant for the dance floor. What sort of listening experience do you aim to provide through your music? Do you consider yourself more of a big stage arena artist than a dance floor artist?
I like to think my music has the scope to be both.
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Rustie's Green Language Tour. With Nadus and Goodroid. Presented by Poplife. Saturday, November 1. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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