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Rossko talks FUSE, pirate radio and Ibiza

Bottoms up for one of the soundest DJs in the industry.

FUSE is one of them 'if you know, you know' kind of parties. Everyone remembers their first time, the curiosity whilst waiting in the queue, whether it's along the walls of Amnesia Ibiza or Village Underground in London. Much like most parties, FUSE began through the love of loops, rhythms and dancing. A collective of record collectors, MC's and producers came together and created the now international party.

FUSE takes inspiration from the illegal raves that have scoured both Ibiza and the UK, with their community feeling, attention-to-detail production and most importantly, the highest quality music. This topic got things off the ground with our interview with Rossko, one of the head-honchos of FUSE. The renowned DJ's eyes lit up whilst reminiscing on recent illegal raves he had played at, the most recent being in his birthplace, London.

"I was lucky enough to meet Ryan O Gorman who booked me to play in the Red Room at Space. He was booking the newest underground artists coming out of the Uk, we then became really good friends and he invited me to play a cave rave, which I've played for like three years. This connected the whole island, the North of the island, the hippies, the Italians. It wasn't on Facebook, so it was passed around by text. It had such a special vibe. The most important thing was that at the end, everyone cleaned up the mess! Community spirit!"

Since then, Rossko has kept himself as busy as ever, doing his usual country hopping with creative intent. "September is a busy time. I can't complain I've been working a lot and a lot of travelling has been involved. I've had some great gigs! Space's anniversary at Bennimusa Park was a really good party, bar the rain! But people still came. The guys that run Game Over are great. They really take care of me, they're super professional. So I'm looking forward to next week, I have Fuse at Amnesia, our 3rd party of our summer residency with Hyte, I'll be out there by Monday."

What else have you been up to in Ibiza this season?

"I played Underground for Zero (Robert Blach - Tini's tour manager's new party), which was great too. I was happy to be part of the project. It was nice to link up with Lamache too; he's someone I've never met but heard about before, we both had mutual respect for each other so it was great. A Tuesday night could be a difficult night with the hangover from Cocoon or DC10... Underground just shows that the island has still got that support and community network there, which comes from the Real Gang guys who have been pushing the island as workers for many years. They get their dues paid in the end. It was nice because I hadn't played at Ibiza Underground all summer."

"Underground Ibiza just shows that the island has still got that support and community network there"

It must be quite special for you to play Underground because it's similar to the venues you throw FUSE parties at in London.

"It's intimate, of course. I've always said it sticks its middle finger up to the way the island is going, when the island is going right, Underground is going left. They have values about the music, their slogan is 'it's not for everyone', which I really understand that ethos. You have to give it to the owners, their stubbornness. In recent times they have started to loosen up a bit. Before then it was mainly in-house stuff. Now they're obviously giving it out to labels, but always under the umbrella of the ethos of the underground. When I go there I feel at home. I've been playing there for a long time, back in the day. When we got the nod to play there, it really did mean something, I did the step up in Ibiza and to be invited to play at Underground; it was a really big thing."

Regarding your roots, you used to MC and grime was a big part of your life. Do you still dabble in MC'ing and do you still incorporate this style into your sets?

"Back in the day, pirate radio was huge and it was what got me into electronic music. Without sounding too old, Resident Advisor, Youtube and Facebook wasn't around back then. Pirate radio was the only place we could go to to find music. We used to tape all of the music and go to the local record store and ask them to listen to our Walkman's and pick out our favourite tracks, then buy them. Then I started to MC; that was my way really of being creative. When I get drunk or I'm at an after party, I'll spit some bars. I'm kind of known for that! Sometimes in my DJ sets now, I do it just for the people who know it. I record acapella or old MC bars and put these over the top of my DJ sets, especially in breakdowns and drops. I've had a few times where I've had a few messages "did you drop that d double E blah blah blah…" They've been recognised, so I'm still reaching out to people in electronic music who still know these lyrics.

"I feel passionate about that because I think it's really important to show where you come from, but obviously the average person does not know that that's coming from 15 years ago. Nonetheless, if I touch those 2/3 people on the dance floor, it makes it even more worth while because people really understand what I'm doing. I use all of my past influences in my sets today, and obviously, it's nice to know that there are some people out there that can connect with that and understand what those lyrics are. I'm really into dub-poetry, if you listen to a few of my sets you'll hear a lot of Rasta lyrics all over my sets. This is my stamp, my personality over the top of my music."

When you first got the opportunity to play Ibiza, was it difficult to maintain the rawness of FUSE?

"FUSE has its plan and its process. We've been doing this for ten years now. If we stayed the same, people will get bored so we always have to progress. Ibiza was the next step up to allow the rest of the world, the hub, the community that maybe can't come to London to connect with FUSE to see us there. Wherever we have always gone, for instance in London from 93 Feet East to Village Underground, we have always adapted our style, whilst still keeping to our roots.

When we went from Sankeys to Space, from Benimussa to Amnesia, you can follow the line of the sounds. Just as being DJs, we know that we can play in 93 Feet East, Amnesia on the Terrace or in the Main Room. I don't think any of us has any fears doing this because, in the end, we wanted to play places like Amnesia. We knew we had to adapt, but we never really sacrificed what we do. We don't fear anything, we're DJs, we wanna play, we wanna make people dance. At the end of the day it's about preparation and understanding the dance floor, I guess that's our power: being on those dancefloors for many years raving ourselves. That's our advantage."

"From 93 Feet East to Village Underground, we have always adapted our style, whilst still keeping to our roots."

You're currently producing your EP, did you set a date for this to be released?

"There's no set date release as of yet. We have the two tracks released and there's now gonna be a remix, too. Everyone has been testing them out this summer and they've been going down well, so I'm just finally looking to get my first solo EP out and putting it out on FUSE. It's been a long time coming but now is the time to start focussing on my productions, and doing this side of the music industry, which I'm really enjoying, I love to go to the studio and to spend my time there. I also just completed a remix for Djebali for his re-works label with an Audio Werner remix on the flip. "

Why is now the time for you to start producing?

"I'm a real kinesthetic learning type of guy, this has been a real journey and I was travelling loads and moving from city to city. I just arrived in Berlin and I really never felt like I wanted to sit and produce. Maybe it was procrastination or fear of judgement, or actually having the time to put all of my energy into it. All I ever wanted to do was go out searching for records. It's the same if you ask producers: all they want to do is just produce music. Some don't even want to DJ. I was just on the other side. I just love playing music, searching and finding new tunes, being in these circles where you get passed around unreleased stuff, special edits and stuff like that. Then I suddenly felt like now, at my age, I wanted to move on with my career. I feel like I was musically ready, my mind was ready to focus on production. So this is just the next step in my career. I feel it's right to go forward. The light came on and I said let's do it, let's go."

You used to be a professional footballer. How did you realise you wanted to be a DJ?

"I was always mad about music, always sneaking out to go and MC on pirate radio when I had a game on Saturday. On every away game I was always the one sitting by the driver, putting on all of my tapes, so I was even a DJ back then. I just didn't know. I was just good at sports. It's every kid's dream to be a footballer, then I had an injury and I just fell out of love with it really. I really loved my music, so I love the fact I played football because of that professional attitude of training hard and playing on weekends. I took that and used it the same way as music. People see me out having fun but during the week I've got my head down. There's a lot of work that goes into what I do. This music doesn't fall into my lap, so I take the same work ethic as being professional in football with music. Can you imagine waking up every day doing what you love to do and getting paid for it? You always want more. The football taught me a lot: it's a team game but one has to take care of oneself. It's the same with FUSE: we're a team but at the end of the day you have to take care of yourself."

"On every away game I was always the one sitting by the driver putting on all of my tapes, so I was even a DJ back then. I just didn't know"

What parties were you going to in Ibiza back in the day, as well as presently?

"When I first came here, I always felt the magic of Ibiza at Space, especially Space on Sundays. Of course Amnesia. Then you've got your more underground parties and the raves in the cave by Ryan O'Gorman. That was my first real taste of DJing before I even got into any of the clubs. So there are those special parties still going on, as Game Over says 'if you know, you know'. I used to love the funky room at Pacha, watching Willie Graff. There are small pockets of the island, but if you want to listen to quality music, go to Underground: you will find it there. Magick Bar in Playa D'en Bossa is doing some really cool things at the moment. It's an alternative to the mainstream clubs, with their commercial style. This is a cool bar, with a wicked sound system and great cocktail service. They're building this community feeling, I'm doing my ManLike live stream there on the 27th for my birthday too before we go to FUSE."

What can we expect from the FUSE family in the future?

"FUSE at ADE is going to be a great one, Archie and I will be doing a back to back there, in the most amazing warehouse I've ever played in. We also have FUSE closing, next year will be the start of celebrating FUSE's 10th birthday, too. Fuse New Years day is also always great. Now we're just gearing up for our ten-year birthday, so keep your eyes peeled!"

You can catch Rossko at FUSE Amnesia this Wednesday.

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