We caught with up the man like Rossko as he kicks off his Sydney performances this weekend to discuss Sunday raving, warehouse parties, grime music and more...
Rossko: It's my third time back to Australia and the response has been great. I’ll be playing the sunrise set in the glass terrace at S.A.S.H - it’s the Queen's birthday, so they're open 24 hours. I’ve played in that room twice, once by myself and a crazy b2b2b with Enzo Siragusa & Seb Zito all night long... the vibe can get electric in there. I always try to connect with the people on the day but for sure it will be full of energy on a slick techno tip and when the sun comes up I’ll keep it more grooving, more housey and of course a little bit trippier for that after-party vibe.
It'll be my first time at SLYFOX but I heard it's dark and sweaty so I’ll bring some of that London and Berlin spirit with me... some 'heads down, hands up' moments!
RR: Sounds sick. Now you're part of the original FUSE crew - which is a legendary Sunday day party, much like S.A.S.H. What do you think it is that makes Sunday raving so popular?
Rossko: In London, I found Sundays were much more cosmopolitan, more relaxed, with more vibes and even the characters you met were more wild. I guess every major city is the same - the attitude to the party is different. You can feel it from the promoter, to the DJ, to the music and even the dance floor atmosphere. I've often noticed that small communities are born when you go and see like-minded friends week in, week out who are really into the music just like you. I guess sharing the same passion and being updated with the new music keeps the spirit alive.
I've seen it at Fuse many times over the last 10 years - it's like a birthplace where people become inspired and go off and start their own party or become a DJ. I met some of my best friends on the dance floor. In fact, it's where I met all the Fuse crew before we got together, at Sunday after-parties in London like Public Life and T-Bar for example. Long live Sundays!
RR: How would you describe the journey from those early days of Fuse up until the present day where the brand and label are globally recognised? And what are the most important lessons you've learnt along the way?
Rossko: It's been an amazing one - hard to put in to words really. I’ve learnt so much along the way, not just about music but about myself and life. The more I understand life the more I understand music, I guess it's kind of encoded in there somewhere. Enzo has been incredible with all of us and it’s his vision and guidance that brings us to where we are today. We were just a bunch of clubbers from the dance floor who loved the music and followed their passion.
Musically I’ve learnt to play what you feel, don’t think too much and stop to watch what everyone else is doing. Of course be inspired but be as original as possible - it’s your personality that defines your music and everyone is unique in their own way. And when the fun stops, stop!
RR: Haha good call. You're also heavily involved with the A&R of the Infuse label. Can you tell us what you look for when scouting out new talent?
Rossko: A lot of Infuse artists have come from connecting at the gigs we've played together prior to music being sent - OdD, Fabe & Ferro for example. We connected on a level, earned the respect from each other and then the music followed. Everyone has their own individual sound and more importantly understands the ethos at Fuse - it’s more than just a label.
The music is road tested by the residents, if we play them and it’s moving the crowd, then we know these are the records other people will want to buy. There will always be one track which you can’t help but fit in to all your sets, it's that good! For me I look out for personality, groove and understanding of the dance floor inside the track. There are so many different styles on the label but I think that is what connects them all.
RR: Since the lockout laws were introduced in 2014, Sydney has seen an increase in warehouse parties. As these were your forte during the 'Cerca Trova' warehouse party days, what advice would you give to anyone organising a secret rave?
Rossko: Safety first is ultimate. Know the laws and the problems you may encounter - nothing should be a surprise. It's your responsibility, you have to take what you do seriously. Invest in a good sound system, sound treatment and sound engineer... these make good parties great. I've seen many potentially amazing parties fall so short because the promoter cut corners with these things. Also, employ a toilet cleaning attendant... vital!
RR: Sound advice. We've got to ask you about that b2b2b set with Archie Hamilton and Enzo Siragusa earlier this year at Mint Club. How much preparation went into that set? Was it a challenge or did the three of you work together comfortably?
Rossko: None, we all just prepared as we do normally for every set. I don't think we even discussed the set until after we finished playing! I think that's the best way for any b2b. Mint Club is like our second home - when you have an amazing sound system, DJ booth, promoter and a wicked crowd in your hand, it's harder to miss the point. DJ-wise, it's a sixth sense with us that comes when you think less and feel more. The b2b2b went so quick and flowed seamlessly and happily, we've been invited do it again, this time at Cocoon In The Park in Leeds.
RR: Sweet. We've been enjoying the latest Arkityp release, '3 For A Tenner'. We gather that Arkityp started out as a party series in Ibiza, what made you and Archie Hamilton transform the project into a record label?
Rossko: After a few years of playing together and becoming super close as friends, we kind of knew each other inside out, so our b2b's started to really make sense. It was the next logical progression to see if we could do the same in the studio. Both EPs consisted of 3 days for 3 tracks, it just oozed out of us effortlessly. Now we can look back and say we left our own mark there, like mini time capsules with all our memories locked inside. We really do have fun making music together, we just wish we could spend more time in the studio.
RR: DJing has taken you all over the world - is there a particular gig that stands out in your memories?
Rossko: That's a tough one. My Cerca Trova parties were pretty legendary. Once we had a power cut for like 20 minutes... we thought the party was going to stop, no one left just in case - then someone finally fixed the fuse next door and there was that boom from the mixer switching on through the speakers. I instantly picked up the needle off the record that was playing before the power cut, dropped it back down and it just rolled perfectly from a break down into the drop. The place went nuts - synergy!
Playing the Cave Rave parties in Ibiza for Bushwacka's Full Moon parties was insane, especially that moment as the sun was rising, but also in the cave watching the moon set around 6am... truly upside down, inside out moments. More recently closing Amnesia b2b with Archie, I would say has to be my proudest moment. For all the hard work we have put in individually and collectively, it was truly amazing.
RR: And what else have you got locked in for the rest of year? Any big plans?
Rossko: I have my head down in my studio in Berlin, a lot of unreleased tracks made and a lot of new music being released this year including a remix for Djebali on his Reworks label with Audio Werner, a remix for Moss Co. which is Archie's label and my first Fuse solo EP. I've also just set up my own label called 'Late Night Skanking' which will drop in 2019.
RR: Last question - we heard you were a grime MC back in the day. What are your thoughts on the genre's direction in recent years? And who is your favourite grime artist??
Rossko: D double E without a doubt. I still sample his lyrics and layer them in my sets today. I always get a few people write to me and ask 'did I drop his lyric over the top' - it's such a nice feeling when you can reach out to just a few that know about this music, it keeps me alive... or should I say young haha.
To be honest I left that music a long time ago. For me, I heavily connect with all early grime music and I really was part of that movement. It was the first time we were all listening to it, nobody knew what the next record would be or sound like, everything was new and fresh. It was so exciting to go record shops like Rhythm Division in Bow, London on a weekly basis and listen to new white labels.
For me, the D Double E & DJ TUBBY set (below - RR) defines grime. It's almost half a lifetime ago but still timeless today. I'm not really feeling grime at the moment. The beats back then were written to MC on, now I feel these guys have moved on to making music for radio play so the vibe and idea has changed. But I'll always dip in and check what's going on.
RR: Cool, thanks for the chat Rossko. Looking forward to seeing you in action.