As a person, dubstep producer-DJ Christopher Mercer, better known by his stage name ‘Rusko’, is exactly like his music – jumpy, energetic and full of surprises. “I try and play 100 songs in 100 minutes,” says the DJ, who pioneered the UK dubstep movement.
In the City to headline the ‘Smirnoff Experience’, he tells Metrolife about his ‘blindfold approach’ to music. “It’s very rare these days that I get to go or play somewhere that I’ve never ever been to. So the best thing about it is the surprise. I just blind myself completely till it’s time to go. Even when I’m writing new music, I purposely try not listen to other people’s music,” shares Christopher. From playing the saxophone in reggae bands to being a world-famous dubstep producer was surprisingly not much of a transition. He elaborates, “Reggae is the middle path.
The first dubstep tracks that people heard were just dub-reggae tunes I was making. They just chose to call that ‘dubstep’.” Describing the feeling behind the consol, Christopher says, “My hands are a blur when I’m up there. Part of it is muscle memory. Sometimes, I’ll walk off the stage and have no memory of what I played. It’s like I’m hovering above stage and watching myself.”
When he saw the difference in demand and supply for his sound, the Leeds-born producer, presently based out of Los Angeles, made the shift, which has only worked in his favour. “For two years, I was the only dubstep DJ touring America because I just got there first. It was popular in Europe back then. But in America, all they really had was us, the UK guys going over, doing a two-week tour in the big cities and going back,” he explains. Comparing the two experiences, he adds, “Dance-wise, they’re the same. But people really scream and let you know that they’re having a good time in the USA.”
What’s keeping him busy after his 2013 EP ‘Life Me Up’? Christopher replies, “I’m always trying to do something new and weird. Right now, I’m collaborating with DJ Shadow, who’s a 90s hip-hop guy who’s totally out of the EDM scene!”
When he’s not touring or recording, the DJ enjoys drawing and cooking. “Living in Los Angeles, there are two things that I cannot find – authentic English food and good Indian food. So, I got really frustrated and just learnt how to make them myself,” he says, adding that he can cook a good tadka dal for anyone interested.