Q&A: Ruf Dug
Exploring the work of Manchester’s Ruf Dug, you get this heartening sense that he’s just done things right. Though some of his musical education came with a corporate sponsor (he is an alumnus of the Red Bull Music Academy), the man that catapulted out of the institution could not have landed further from that association. His music focuses on the material, without being materialistic. He is concerned with the medium of the music, and the depth of history that comes with it. He is at the heart of the Manchester scene, which is gorgeously grounded into the grit of its post-industrial existence. His productions are unashamedly fun, most recently going down the route of junglist revivalism. But, most of all, he simply comes across as a decent guy who is up for a laugh.
On Friday, we welcome him to the Hifi Club, along with a very special appearance from South Africa’s DJ Okapi. We e-mailed Simon for a quick catch up.
A writer previously described you as a ‘battered boogie badman’: is this a fitting description?
Wow I like it. Makes me sound MEAN.
You say that you ‘invented’ Ruf Dug on your return to Manchester from a period in Australia during the 00s. What does this identity consist of? When you make music, are you assuming a character, or a version of yourself?
OH man this answer could go on for hours, let me just lie back on the couch n tell u about my life… I don’t get too deep into adopting another identity, I certainly don’t do any of that referring to myself in the 3rd person like ‘Ruf Dug does not get out of bed for less than 50p’ although maybe I should…
You stress that is was taking your first Ruf Kutz pressings into record shops that helped you to gain success and some recognition. Could a producer do the same thing today? Do record shops still have the same role today? I saw a couple of your Cherry Garcia releases in Vinyl Exchange – did you take them in yourself?
Yeah I think you could still do the same thing, record shops are maybe a bit more powerful at the moment compared to the dark days 8 or 9 years ago… I do still do a bit of self distro of various things but the Cherry Garcia stuff is done properly.
I have often seen you complain about Discogs on Facebook, and you have definitely given two fingers to it on your bandcamp. Could you run us through your beef with the site?
Hey I don’t have any beef with the site per se, I use it at least a thousand times every day. The sharking thing just gets a bit annoying. I’m flattered that my records are considered valuable but it was never my intention to make the music inaccessible. In order to get round this I’ve made all of the previous Ruf Kutz catalogue available for free from bandcamp. Full fat vinyl masters, 16 bit aifs if you want them. The music is available to everyone now.
Could you tell us a bit about the Cherry Garcia project?
Cherry Garcia is me and Jon Tye from Seahawks, sort of a new age / cosmic / psychedelic / south american influenced kind of vibe… We’ve done two EPs for Golf Channel now, it’s about time we made another one!
What was your access into the disco and downtempo side of dance music? And what made you pursue it?
I honestly can’t remember. Probably an Earth Wind & Fire record – ‘Let Me Talk’.
You have played in Leeds at Outlaws Yacht Club before. What is your relationship like with the guys there? Is there a kind of balearic affinity between you?
Yep there’s quite a nice trans-penine balearic connection. Outlaws is defo the Leeds outpost and on any given weekend there is usually a cosmic caravan on the M61 going one way or the other.
What is the sound of Manchester in 2016?
It’s full on sick warehouse vibes at the moment in Manchester: Mantra and the White Hotel are both the real deal and Hidden is a super club in an old mill. All three spots have amazing lineups and are all in super industrial areas…proper Mad Max styles.
Could you tell us a bit about the upcoming Junglish Massive release?
It’s out! Run quick and get one! 2 x nu-old-skool breakbeat rave weapons from Luca Lozano and 2 x jungle tracks from me. Causing a ruckus!
Ruf Dug and DJ Okapi play for World Treasures this Friday at HiFi. Tickets are here.
Photo credit: Angelina Potapova