Hear From the Mixed Format Innovator Himself, DJ Ruckus
The EDM revolution has mega-clubs coming back strong and festivals creating great demand for the great DJs in this genre. The top tier DJs are millionaires, rock stars and celebrities. Mixed format DJs don't get paid as much but the top level have nothing to complain about as high-end nightclubs and special events bolster their bank accounts.
One of the premier DJs in the Mixed Format genre is DJ Ruckus; he is someone to be heard and seen; as well as puts on a show. His big move is playing a CD-J like Jimi Hendrix plays his guitar. His success takes him all around the world and I was lucky enough to catch him in between sets.
DJ Ruckus has risen through the ranks and become one of the premier DJs. He explains that Mixed or Open Format is probably the most difficult style of DJing and there are a few important reasons why he has become so successful. First, he ensures that he stands out in his performance by cutting, scratching and making his own edits to songs so that with each set the audience is going to hear things they have never heard before.
“At a young age I was able to gain popularity in the big markets where the most important clubs and events are and that allowed me to really become recognized, said Ruckus. “It took a lot of time and research - frequently traveling to each city to truly learn the areas and the crowds everywhere from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between.” From there he was able to accomplish success with a combination of hard work, great management and keeping his relationships with his clients strong.
Playing musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix has become something of a signature move for DJ Ruckus; this is called CD-Jing and as Steve Aoki says, Ruckus is one of the only DJs who have perfected it. “I started working with a CD-J a few years ago and while learning I noticed the wide tempo option and that when a loop is tightened to the smallest increment, if the song is in the same key, you can play notes with the CD-J that create this sweep rising sound. I'm so glad I incorporated a CD-J into my setup because I always find something new while using it.”
While DJ Ruckus’ performances seem like more than your typical show, rest assured, he still considers himself very much a DJ. “I love using the term jockey in full because it throws people off. It makes it seem a little corny but it is obviously not. DJing might be the most Rock & Roll job next to being the lead singer of a band.”
As suspected, DJ Ruckus is simply an alias, the DJs name is actually Greg Andrews and when asked to explain the name change, Ruckus told a nostalgic tale. “Greg Andrews became DJ Ruckus at around 14 years old when I walked to the nearest Kinkos with the intention of making business cards that said "DJ Ruckus - Professional DJ available for all occasions - weddings, bar mitzvahs, Quincinieras, events, and nightclubs. I printed 500 of them, which at the time seemed like the most expensive thing in the world. Little did I know it would eventually become trademarked and so widely known. Nor did I know I would DJ so many bar mitzvahs I even did Steven Spielberg's kids celebration, hilarious.”
Be aware: DJ Ruckus does not take requests! Once in a while, he does get a soft spot for someone who is relentlessly trying to request a tune, but only when he is in an extremely good mood. He does, however, play celebrity, corporate or private events, so when DJ Ruckus plays for Oprah or a fashion event for Louis Vuitton, he plays specifically for the client base and naturally, he ends up taking requests.
“Every city is different all over the world. You have to understand each crowd and do your research, but most importantly you have to do it your own way and style or else you sound like everyone else coming through that city. I love to mix in what is sometimes left behind because no one wants to hear the same exact thing that someone from that area is probably better at doing. For example, you don't go to Venezuela from LA and play all reggaeton!”
DJ Ruckus finds new music anywhere and everywhere. “I use iTunes, Beatport, breakzus.com, djcity.com. I check out Dancing Astronaut and This Song Is Sick often.” He then tells us that he spends much of his time on SoundCloud finding new artists and he also studies genres on Pandora, too. DJ Ruckus is an innovator and constantly looking for music that will spark his next big idea.