Filed under: Interview
“I’ve been searching for inspiration and I’ve realized there’s no more excitement to be found in sampling Salsoul records. Everybody sampled the A side, the B side, at 45, at 33, going forwards, going backwards, resample it, copy it, cloned it: – just leave it alone and move forward. There’s more things in the world that make noise apart from Salsoul records.”
Sitting in his Farringdon studio on a sunny London afternoon, Rui Da Silva admits he’s finished with the straightforward house sounds with which he made his name, after an extended period of reflection about what direction he should explore. Spending the 90s as one of the highest rated tribal house artists in the world, the London based Portuguese producer became far better known in 2001, when he scored a massive global hit with his Chris Coco collaboration Touch Me, though more recently found himself hating his old sound.
“I sat in front of the computer one day and I thought ‘Right, I need to do another track, how boring is that?’ and that’s when I said to myself ‘No, this can’t be right. I shouldn’t be sitting here trying to make music and feeling bored off my head just to put a record out’,” he recalls.
“I understood I needed to find a new way of being excited about doing it, so I decided to stop what I was doing previously altogether. I was still having more success making the kind of music I was making before, but now I’m feeling good with myself and excited about what I’m doing, which is much more of a reward. That’s exactly what I want to chase.”
“I wanted to get back to having the buzz of coming into the studio and recording, which is the thing that I love more than DJng – being in the studio exploring sounds, and making tracks,” he repeats, “It’s like my food, to be able to live a life I am happy with, making music that I go home and I’m really happy with.”
Ditching the Salsoul samples, he turned to microchip sounds sourced from discarded computer games and hardware, eventually developing a new style he’s loosely terms ‘bleep arcade house music’. Clicky, acidy, and miminal in ethos, his new music has already seen him taking Ibiza’s DC10 by storm this summer, spinning new tracks including recent single Pacman and upcoming 11 minute epic Lixuneanos, leaving him fired up, passionate and hungry for more.
“There are all these machines out there making sounds that come out of microchips such as on computer games and I’ve started exploring them for sounds and it feels like I’ve found something new,” he enthuses, “I don’t think I’m alone either, because I’m listening to lots of other music right now that seems to come from the same place; my direction now is about chasing that sound.”
Interview by Jonty Skrufff
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Did you consider using a pseudonym for your new music ?
Rui Da Silva : Yes I did actually, for a long time. At one point I was going to put the records out under a different name, but I got convinced not to do it by others, everybody around me told me ‘don’t be silly, you’re already established’. I said: Forget it, I want to start everything new, I like it, that’s how it is, but in the end I had too much persuasion from everybody around me.
Skrufff : When Touch Me topped the pop charts in 2001, that was almost the peak of dance music as far as crossing over to the mainstream is concerned, how was that whole experience ?
Rui Da Silva : Having that hit gave me an identity which was not necessarily what my music was about, because I’d already been making underground dance music for over eight years before that from Lisbon, having great success with the records being played by everybody around the world.
Skrufff : I looked up the lyrics…
Rui Da Silva :The lyrics are so like 2001 they are scary, which is crazy because the track was first written in 1992. We made it with an artist from LA who was living in Portugal at the time, used to MC in the parties we used to throw in Portugal and at raves. He was also a poet and used to write loads of things, and I picked up that poem to put on a record and tried to give it more of a DJ Pierre feeling by repeating of the vocal. We pressed a couple of records onto vinyl and sent the record around the world, then it became a big hit all around. It still gets played everywhere actually. Last year I went to see a big DJ spin at Turmills and I was really looking forward to hearing him because I’d never heard him play and he opened with the ‘So Get Up’ accapella. I though ‘Oh right, nothing changes’.
Skrufff : Who was the DJ ?
Rui Da Silva : John Creamer.
Skrufff : The record was hugely successful commercially; did you set out to create a crossover record ?
Rui Da Silva : No, I didn’t plan it at all, rather people around me were urging me to record a record with vocals so I thinking ‘OK, I’d like to do a song. Then one day I was walking down Piccadilly Circus to pick up my wife who was working there when, walking down this street I heard a band playing with this girl singing and something in my head made me think ‘I need to get her phone number now’. Because everybody watching on the street was going mad. So I watched her performance, picked up her number then she left and the band continued playing at which point everybody left because they were dreadful. I thought to myself, how did that just happen, this isn’t real’ but I called her, we hooked up in the studio, it worked and that was it. Then the song ended up going to number one. It’s like you make your own reality. I wanted to do a song, so that song came.
Skrufff : The dream for every producer I guess, is to have a number one hit…
Rui Da Silva : It was not my dream at all, so when it happened it was quite a shock because all I ever wanted to do was make a living from making music. I never did music to get chart records. It’s not what I want and actually getting the chart record was not that special (sighing). I found myself thinking ‘now I’m supposed to be really happy, but I’m not really happy; I should be pleased, surely it’s wrong not to be pleased’. But the fact was I’d achieved that big hit but that wasn’t my goal with the track, so why should it have made me satisfied. OK it was great financially for my career, even though it attracts a lot of problems, but it was not really what I wanted to chase.
Skrufff : What kind of problems did it bring ?
Rui Da Silva : It brings problems that everybody gets when in a short period of time you get so much exposure and you generate so many earnings; you attract the wrong people around, like lawyers, solicitors, they all come around.
Skrufff : Did you go on Top Of The Pops and all that kind of thing ?
Rui Da Silva : No, no, I didn’t. People think that I was there – I even got someone writing ‘Last week he was saying he isn’t going on the show then this week he is on Top Of The Pops’. I wasn’t on Top Of The Pops, my standpoint was that I didn’t want to appear on all those TV shows but the record label said ‘no, we want a pretend band’ and that was it. The decision was taken out of my hands and there was nothing I could do about it. In the end, they had someone else there pretending to be me, playing keyboards.
Skrufff : Was having a number hit a life-changing experience, did it change your DJing significantly for example ?
Rui Da Silva : I actually started DJing professionally a couple of years after that, at the time I was only a producer, so didn’t even start DJing until afterwards. At the time I was always out clubbing and listening to music. I’ve always felt the need of going out to clubs, I think it’s important if you want to make this kind of music, because it gives you a connection to what’s happening with club culture. I used to go out every single night of the week for too many years but I started going less and that was the reason I decided to start DJing- to keep going to clubs. The record’s success changed a lot of things in my life but it could have changed very much more, but didn’t because I consciously decided not to do loads of things that people normally do when they’ve got a number one record; for example, I did no covers for magazines. Dance music hasn’t got that many people making number ones but I’ve never had one single cover feature on any single magazine in the UK.
End of the interview
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