Sunday, 3 February 2008

Caspa & Rusko Fabric Live interview

Caspa & Rusko Fabric Live 37

Widely regarded as one of the finest clubs in the world, the spin off CD compilations bearing the leviathan’s brand name are widely respected tastemaker delights and hugely popular. So what took them so long to jump aboard the dubstep wagon and enlist two dubstep DJ/ Producers at the top of their game to lay the foundations for number 37 of their Fabric Live CD Series?

Enter Gary MaCann and Chris Mercer aka Caspa and Rusko, the two men behind one of the scene’s biggest anthems: Cockney Thug, who ride into town on a tsunami of hype and popularity. Indeed, the aforementioned anthem was played to 50,000 Arctic Monkey’s fans at Old Trafford by DJ Ross Allen earlier this year, surprising no-one more than an off duty Skream, who immediately phoned Rusko to tell him. It also gained the evening playlist on BBC 1Xtra and support from key underground DJ’s including Diplo, Scratch Perverts, Sinden, TC & Clipz, Tayo and Claude Van Stroke who have been battering it at raves. And with a 24/7 global gig schedule, these lads couldn’t be better placed to deliver a snapshot of the intense sub bass and hyperkinetic energy of dubstep tearing the roof of clubs across the globe right now.

Staying true to the scene’s dubplate culture, Caspa and Rusko did the mix live, in just an hour and a half in Fabric’s room three. “They approached us on a Friday saying to us we need you to do a CD and we need it in by Monday,” recalls Caspa. “We played in Sheffield on the Saturday together. So on the way back we got a pen and paper, in the car, he wrote his list, I wrote my list and we put them together. We spoke to everyone on Sunday about it, licensed it Monday morning, mixed it Monday afternoon.” “The good thing is we both had been bang out on the gigs, so we already knew which tunes work together.” Rusko adds, “It a Fabric Live CD, so it’s a live set, as if you came to see us for hour back to back, that’s what you’d get.”

The opportunity to put their beloved music onto a new platform isn’t lost on the pair, “I think it’s history to be honest with you. It’s a benchmark for the scene. Dubstep hasn’t been taken to this level and this audience or market and it’s gonna do things, not just for us, but also for the artists, the sound, everyone who is involved with it. It’s gonna take it up a notch, which I think is brilliant,” says Caspa.

Full to the brim with Rusko and Caspa material, the mix is also an electric ride through the latter’s two labels, Dub Police and Sub Soldiers, and with the like of L-Wiz, The Others, Orien and new boy on the block, Unitz all featuring it could be suggested this is a somewhat narcissistic selection. Caspa begs to differ, “You’ve got people saying ‘err, it’s just a Caspa and Rusko CD’. And yeah, that’s what it is. That’s what Fabric Live is, not a Now 45 of dubstep. They pick artists for the CD to mix what they play out.” Says Caspa vociferously. “What people fail to recognise is that Tes La Rok is on there, D1, Skream, Coki, Distance, L-Wiz and Quest are on there. There are 12 different artists amongst Rusko and me.” Comparison with the latest Rinse CD from Skream provides further evidence that a staunchly producer led scene will, more often than not, draw from within when given the chance. However, the inclusion of Buraka Som Sistema’s excellent remix of ‘Cockney Thug’ hints at further permutations that can enrich and expand the dubstep spectrum.

As this world renown mix CD provides a poignant benchmark in dubstep’s trajectory, many have watched its progress with keen anticipation. The resistance to sub genres and lazy categorisation is fuelled by the spectre of drum and bass, which is a now a sprawling beast divided and weakened by it’s many parts and divisions. However, the unity is still strong within the dubstep scene, even as it spreads further and wider every day. So will there be a Roni Size Mercury Music Prize for a dubstep artist anytime soon? “Definitely. I think the way things are now it’s open to anyone. I think it will be a vocal tune that will do it.” Says Caspa, “See, Skream is doing some wicked stuff like the Klaxons remix, so that’s really pushing the boundaries. It’s getting closer and closer, the only thing you’ve got to watch out for is someone doing a Britney Spears remix.” At which point Rusko starts grinning. Caspa’s not having it: “I’ll fucking abandon you if you do!”

“There is a nice little message in the track listing, I’m not sure anyone will really pick it up, but the first title of the tune and the last title of the tune, when you put them together is Born to do by Caspa and Forever by Conquest.” I suggest tattoos. Caspa jokes with Rusko: “Super cheesy! I could get ‘Born To Do It’ and you could get ‘Forever’, darling.”

Caspa & Rusko: Fabric Live 37 is out now in all good record shops

This interview can be read in the January issue of ATM Magazine.

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