A name commonly known as part of Submotion Orchestra, veteran producer Ruckspin – real name Dom Howard – brings us his newest work in a stream of genre-defying releases. Howard takes his signature cinematic productions into new territories with three tracks that bend reality into a warped atmosphere born from his mind alone, with the brand new EP Rushing. After his stellar releases in recent years, we could not wait to get stuck into another showcase of the producer’s broad scope – both in tempo and style.
Tribal-infused Buchu takes a booming bass to match a dub-heavy bass line making a statement with its fusion of genres. While flirting with a slower tempo, the spirits in Buchu remain high with the gritty yet somehow pensive energy. Building on influences from across the globe, Ruckspin delivers a wonderfully full track with each layer telling a story of its own.
The producer also invited Stamina MC for collaboration on the EP, forming a brooding take on the mainstream, with the aptly-named track Raw (which we have the pleasure of premiering for you below). A cleverly formed piece focusing heavily on the low end of the sound spectrum, Raw is a number that enforces its presence all the way through to its final moments. While it certainly bursts with energy, this remains gently subdued and instead focuses on the intricate details throughout.
Title track featuring Quark and Lylli, comes as arguably the most forceful of the bunch. Rushing takes all conventions of dance music – with a thumping percussive pattern, choppy vocal samples and silky riffs – and inverts it, giving us a meticulously formed tune which somehow still creates room to breathe. The gently avant-garde combination of acoustic sounds with an ambient freedom in the production are enough to take the breath of many.
Howard also indulges us with two instrumental tracks – Raw and Rushing – to showcase exactly how innovative his stylings are, stripping back all vocals and allowing his sheer inspiration to shine through. After the sonic journey we were taken on throughout the EP, we couldn’t resist catching up with Ruckspin about his plans and a few extra secrets on the creation of Rushing.
We caught up the man himself to ask a few questions about the new EP, his musical influences and more:
Q) This EP comes as – surprisingly – only your second solo release. Is this style something that we should expect more of in the future?
A) This EP is the follow up to my debut solo album but not my second solo release. I’ve been releasing music as Ruckspin since 2007. I guess my production style has broadened a lot since my Dubstep & DnB days, and I’m keen to see where it takes me but I’ve always been interested in the moodier cinematic styles of electronic music and there’s definitely more where that came from.
Q) Tell me a bit more about how this EP came together?
A) I do quite a lot of producing music to a brief, so when I have a chance to jam with friends I love throwing the rule book out and just being creative with sounds. These tracks all came from that approach – just picking a tempo, messing around with sounds and just following our noses. I wanted to release an EP that had a broad range of tempos and styles to showcase my interests but also to challenge the general status quo of having to have a new alias every time you changed tempo or used a different snare drum or whatever.
Q) What’s your favourite track on this release?
A) I don’t really have a favourite because they’re all so different, but ‘Buchu’ is my wife’s favourite. I have Linden (Stamina / Armour) to thank for that bass riff – MOTSA and I were trying different options and nothing really worked until Linden reached over and said “why don’t you just do this” and played in that simple catchy bass riff. That was a fun session – having an Austrian house producer and DnB MCing legend in my little studio was quite surreal.
Q) For the readers that are only just discovering your work – How would you define your solo sound?
A) I take influence from lots of different areas but I guess it’s mostly moody & cinematic, organic-sounding electronic music? I don’t think it should really be up to me to define it – it is what it is I guess…
Q) Ruckspin is a pretty unique name – how did that come about?
A) It came from the Teddy Ruxpin toys that used to have tape players in their back (really showing my age here). I spelled it wrong and it just stuck like that. Also apparently it means ‘wank-spider’ in dutch as I later found out.
Q) You’ve produced across a whole range of genres over the years! What area of music is your favourite to make?
A) I’ve recently got quite into orchestral scoring to picture but I have some days where I just want to make horrible distorted reece-bass sounds and program frenetic breakbeats, so it really depends what mood I’m in. I love all kinds of music really – as long as it’s not boring then I’m up for giving it a go. I’ve even been making Coldplay-esque pop music for a publisher recently which is actually pretty fun. Dubstep was really great for me back in 2008-2012 because there were so many different styles happening I felt really inspired and also free to experiment. Now it’s got to the point where I don’t really feel a need to fit in to a genre so I’m just enjoying making all sorts of stuff!
Q) Has the last year’s events affected your creativity or approach to making music?
A) I had to set up a mini-studio at home so I’m a bit more limited in what I can do – I’m finding I’m struggling to feel inspired because I’m not coming across as much music or interacting with fellow musicians as regularly, also I don’t have as many means to ‘break out of the box’ in that all my hardware is still at the studio. That said, I’m still managing to mess around with a few ideas and have some remote collaboration sessions so that has really helped.
Q) Which artists are the biggest influences on your sound?
A) I’m not really sure if there is anyone in particular that I have tried to emulate but there are so many amazing composers and producers that have influenced me along the way. I’ve made a playlist of tracks and artists that have partly influenced this EP here:
My own musical influences are a melting pot of classical, world and electronic ranging from Rachmaninov to Amon Tobin and a load of stuff in-between. I’m sure someone else will be able to draw parallels between my sound and something else but I try not to concentrate on those things. Some young producers try hard to emulate their heroes so genres get stale because people stop innovating. I’m just enjoying my own journey!
Q) Last but definitely not least – have you got any other exciting projects we should be keeping an eye on? What’s next for Ruckspin?
A) At the moment I’m juggling some scoring work, writing collaborations with other Ninja Tune artists, recording tutorials, giving remote production masterclasses at colleges, mixing some great UK Jazz and Hiphop projects, making sound design for some clients, and generally continuing to try and stay creative during this pandemic but I’m sure there will be more Ruckspin releases on the horizon. I think once I’m back in the studio and can collaborate with people in person I’ll be a lot more comfortable!
If you missed the link above, you can check out The 3000 Network premiere of ‘Ruckspin – Raw ft Stamina MC’ again here:
Ruckspin – Rushing EP is out 11th June on Elswick Records