The last 15 months have seen Russ Yallop thrust into the spotlight with his debut release on Crosstown Rebels followed up with releases on Hot Creations, No. 19 Music and RebelLion. After much harassing Russ finally agreed to submit a podcast for us, featuring almost two hours of super hot jams. Kristen Marconi got to speak to the Brighton producer about the Crosstown family, the creative process and love online, before the announcement that he is now on his way to Australia with some of the other rebels in a month. Excited.
Download Pulse.055 - Russ Yallop here
Crosstown rebels has had a massive year with both the label, the RebelRave parties and all the artists including yourself receiving a lot of attention in the polls, what is your involvement with Crosstown Rebels and how did it come about? My professional involvement with Crosstown Rebels is just as one of their artists who has had releases with them and intends to release more music with them. But socially Crosstown is kind of like a family or a group of like minded friends, we party together and like you mention there's the RebelRave parties where artists from the crew play and party alongside each other. I've actually been friends with a lot of the crew for a long time, myself, Jamie, Clive and Richy have been partying together in Ibiza since 2004.
So when my skills were at a level where I was ready to start putting myself out there as long as the guys were digging what I was doing it was kind of a natural progression to become part of the crew as we were friends already. Though funnily enough I Can't Wait was passed to Damian Lazarus without me knowing, I got an email from him out of the blue which was a very exciting moment.
You've played RebelRave how was that experience different to another gig? Amazing as not only are you playing with your friends but because of the monster line ups they are always ram packed full of dedicated people, dedicated to the sound and dedicated to having a great night. So makes for a really wicked party.
The last time Pulse caught you for an interview, you were about to play Circoloco headlining for the first time, how was that experience? I played a Circoloco party in Dubai with Clive and was great to be playing for a party which I've been religiously attending over the last decade.
Of course Circoloco at DC10 is a completely unique event which can't be compared to any other, though we still had great time and hopefully represented the Circoloco ethos well. One of the turntables wasn't working so we played back to back for four hours in the Dubai heat, so after the gig it did actually feel like I'd been at DC10 for a 10 hour sesh.
Your debut track as Russ Yallop; I Can't Wait, is still being played in a lot of mixes and gained a lot of attention, what was it like to have you first release on Crosstown Rebels and under your real name be received so well? It obviously feels great and if people are still playing it then I'm especially happy. With such a huge volume of dance music being released each week it's a great feeling that the hours you put in were worth it. I feel very lucky the way things happened, the track being released on that label gave it the absolute maximum exposure I could ask for which counts for such a lot.
Now that you DJ under your own name is there more pressure knowing your work is carrying your real name with it? Not so much as it's my own name, as any pseudonym soon becomes your identity anyway, but there is pressure of course, but the pressure is mainly self inflicted. The pressure you feel from yourself is greater than any external pressure. From that little voice in your head that says 'nope, thats crap, do it again'.
What attracted you initially to DJing and production, was there a moment where you knew that was where you wanted to be?
I was an obsessive music geek all my teens, always the guy in control of the CD player, so to get some decks and not have to press eject seemed like the way forward. Though it was about a good six years from first starting to DJ, and about two years in from starting to make music that I ever considered it any more than a hobby. I suppose the 'moment' comes when you gain the first smidgen of belief that you could actually make music that other people really like. For me it was just playing some real basic tracks I'd made to friends without them knowing they were mine and seeing them dig them.
Creatively how do you find inspiration and continue to challenge yourself? Well first up lets get this straight, no one struggles with the challenge element! I've been making music for around seven years and I'm not even halfway in terms of the skill level I'd eventually like to reach. Synth programming is a career in itself, so the challenge is ever present and hard as nails. Knocking up something that sounds good and works on a dancefloor is actually relatively achievable with some basic skills, but to create, compose, and convert something thats in your head, every timbre being exactly how you hear it is extremely challenging.
As for creative inspiration for me personally I just break it down into a simple process, the combination of combining strong melody and good 'music' in the soundscape you want to hear. Find a groove, then put it in context.
Would you describe yourself as a '5 year plan' person or the 'take opportunities as they present themselves' person? My plan for the present, which will certainly remain for the next few years, is just to make as much music as I can. It's taken me a while to get to this stage, now I'm here thats all I wanna do at the moment, just make music, get it all out there.
For a rather random question, at the bottom of your interview with the Burlington Project there's one comment underneath it from 'Julliette' professing how you would be perfect for each other and just need to meet. Do you get a lot of over the top attention from strangers? How do you know she's now not my wife? (laughs) You do get a lot of people expressing to you how much they appreciate what you do, which is great and I love it. The sense of appreciation you feel from someone reaching out is far more personal and touching than a high chart position or high record sales.
Do you think DJ's are the new 'Rockstars', with the whole groupie and fan culture? any related (funny) stories you could tell us? DJs do receive a lot of fan appreciation, the comparison with rockstars I suppose comes from the fact that, like bands used to, they provide the soundtrack to people's bedrooms and iPods. Though how deserved the attention is bearing in mind they play other people's material is up for debate.
As for funny stories on the subject I was at a gig the other day and I saw someone at the front making eyes at me for my attention, miming the action of taking a photograph. So I thought about it for a bit, but thought you've gotta give the fans what they want, so climbed down from the stage and walked to the front where he was standing. He then passed me his camera and put his arm around his mate. (laughs)
If you had to pick one what would be your favourite track of 2011? Gotta be an obvious one I'm afraid, I never mind giving credit where it is due anyway. Miguel Campbell - Something Special. I my opinion that vocal is as strong and powerful as it gets in this dance music thing, I have no doubt that people will still be playing that track in years to come. It also has special significance as was one of the lucky people to have it before the release and gradually saw how a track like that goes from being unknown to one that everyone begs for.
You've prepared the latest podcast for Pulse what have you prepared for us? Ok so simply put it's just really a mix of some dope tunes that I'm lucky to have in my possession. A lot of thought and work went in, and have tried hard to give it a beginning, a middle and an end. There's a lot of deepness going on, but I haven't held back on any energy in parts either. There's some new productions of mine in there, plus a tonne of awesome material from new artists.
What have you got planned for New Years and 2012 that you're excited about? New Years for me will be spent in London, playing for Feas @ 93 Feet East, and New Years Day playing at the Hot Natured warehouse party. As for 2012 I'm going to be concentrating on a lot of solo work, but who knows what the future holds.
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