For those not aware of who you are can you introduce yourselves not only as a collective but as your constituent parts as well?
We're Ruffhouse from Bristol, UK. We're a trio consisting of Pessimist, Vega and Cooper. Pessimist has been releasing drum & bass for a while now on labels such as Ingredients, Renegade Hardware & Critical to name a few. Vega runs one of Bristol's most prolific drum & bass nights, Abstractions, and has been learning to produce with both Pessimist and Cooper for the last couple of years. Cooper you could say is new to the scene but has been making music in all forms for a long while now and is currently in his third year of studying music technology at university.
For how long have you been making music as Ruffhouse and how did it come about?
We've only been writing music as a collective since February this year. It all came about through us talking about starting a production outfit, as we share similar taste in music; the whole process has been really natural as we are all really good mates. We all seem to have the same ideas when it comes to writing music and what we want from it, which allows us to work together really well.
What struck me most when I first heard your sound was just how industrially atmospheric it was. How do you go about creating those soundscapes? Do you imagine a situation in your head and build music to suit it or does it just fall together that way?
When it comes to creating the different atmospheres and soundscapes within our tracks it's all about careful sound selection, and layering these different sounds together to create interesting textures. Our music is quite heavily influenced by artists such as Lull, Jacob Kirkegaard and Lustmord, who all write very atmospheric, soundscape type music, which we think shows in our own music.
When it comes to actually creating these textures it all just seems to fall into place when we start writing the track, we wont know what style of track we are going to be writing until we actually start loading up the sounds into the sequencer.
Bypass especially reminded me of the soundtrack from a video game such as Battlefield, low end throbbing bass combined with escalating action. Are these sorts of soundtracks a deliberate influence on your sound?
With Cooper currently studying music technology at university, more precisely audio for games and film, he's very much influenced by these sorts of soundtracks and is something that he tries to bring to the table when getting in the studio together. However, nothing we do as a trio is really deliberate, like we've said before, we never go into the studio with a deliberate idea or concept of what we're going to write, we just get in the studio and write what comes naturally to us.
Speaking of influences, there are moments of techno throughout these releases, which artists and other genres of music have inspired your music?
Yeah, techno is a big influence on what we write. There are some wicked artists out there at the moment and some real refreshing being made, particularly the non 4x4 techno we're hearing at the moment which has had a big impact on our music, it definitely fits in with what we're doing. Labels such as CLR, Stroboscopic Artefacts & Fullpanda, in terms of techno, is what we're feeling.
Although we love drum & bass and techno, it's not the only music that's influenced us, we're open minded when it comes to what we listen to, as long as it has a certain level of class or taste. In terms of drum & bass we're really feeling a few new producers right now but mainly we're always looking back retrospectively, people like Source Direct, Jonny L, Photek, Doc Scott & Loxy to name a few, are key names to us.
What sort of production techniques do you use to create these alien, atmospheric sounds? Do you record your own samples and manipulate them or is clever programming of your chosen software?
It's a little bit of both really. We take a lot of time over collecting samples, be it from music, films, games whatever, this then gives us a lot of options as to which sounds we are going to put into the track. However, it's not just as simple as then sticking them into the sequencer and that's that. It's then a question of carefully programming these sounds and manipulating them to make them gel so they all belong together within the track.
Ideally, where and under what circumstances would you like your music to be heard?
Ideally we would love our music to be heard in all the well established events and venues, to crowds with an open mind, who are willing to listen to something a little bit different. To really hear the full potential of these tunes they need to be played on a really good sound system as well.
Which club night do you think your music would most suit or where would you like most to play these tunes out?
We think our music is going to fit pretty much most nights really. If you listen to tracks like Pellet and Classified, they will work at pretty much anytime on a Friday or Saturday night; it's party music! Tracks like The Foot and Bypass, although they are a little bit deeper, they will still hold the floor at most nights. One thing they will all require though is a good rig. If there were one place we would have liked to play our music out most, it would have to be The End in London.
A lot of people go on about The End but it really was the best club ever. The whole lay out of the club and the sound system itself has never been beaten for us and probably never will be. The system was so loud and held such clarity within it, it was ridiculous. You could literally hear a pin drop in a tune.
You've gotten DJ support from the likes of dBridge and Loxy, how reassuring for the future is it to have the support of these guys so early in your collective career?
It's a big deal to us! Getting our music played by the right people is so important. If the DJs we've idolised for years are not only playing but pushing our music, talking about it and getting behind us then surely we're doing something right. Saying this, we're usually assured that our tracks are good enough, it isn't finished till we're happy with it.
As far as we're concerned within the bracket of drum & bass we make, it's dBridge, Doc Scott & Loxy who are running it at the moment and it's great to see they're already supporting us so strongly. We remember making our first three tracks together, not long after we checked out dBridge's Boiler Room set and he literally played all three tracks and we've got to be honest it was a massive boost.
What's the working relationship like with Ingredients? How supportive are they in regards to allowing you to release what you want?
The working relationship with ingredients is really strong. They run things in a really professional manner and always keep us up to date with goings on in regards to releases etc. When it comes to writing/ releasing, well, they haven't turned down a track that we've sent them yet, which can only mean they are really into what we're doing and are willing to let us have some creative freedom with the releases. They've shown us a lot of commitment, which really means a lot to us and it's really nice to have such an established home for our music that doesn't ask us to compromise our sound.
What's next for Ruffhouse and, for the time being, how can we get hold of these releases?
Well, we have just signed our third 12" to Ingredients so we're happy about that. After that we will be working on our debut EP for Ingredients, which we are very excited about as we have some really big plans for it that we can't go into too much detail about at the moment. You can find Pellett/Classified and The Foot/Bypass in all the usual music outlets on both vinyl and digital formats.
Words: Sam Oliveira
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