Ruff Stuff are a Berlin-based Italian duo, consisting of Francois Le Roy and Nanni. Indeed, the boys have been on a real rich vein of form of late, chiefly via their output on their Ruff Stuff Ltd label. Sure to go down a treat with fans of Kerri Chandler, Tony Humphries and MCDE, theirs is classic-sounding house sound of the sort that isn’t afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve.
House connoisseurs of the highest order, their ‘Untitled’ series has won them a cult following among fans of discerning, upfront and timeless-sounding house music. Whereas Untitled05 came with a remix by DJ Honesty, Untitled06 features three stunning originals, with UK man of the moment Harrison BDP getting involved on remix duty for their latest. A duo you’re sure to be hearing more of in 2019, here’s what went down recently when we quizzed them re: their studio tips…
Create your own space
Having a physical space that make you feel comfortable is fundamental. You can be in your bedroom, in a dark basement or in a professional studio, but when you need to focus on music it’s really important you have an environment that helps you find yourself and makes you feel comfortable.
In our studio in Berlin we spent a couple of weeks before deciding how to paint the walls, where to put the dj booth, where we’d put the computer and the machines, which light should go in the room, etc. We wanted to create a place that could bring our minds to a special space: a space where music takes control over everything – especially over social media and all the internet stuff. There is no internet connection in the studio which is really helpful!
Research and Experiment
This is a rule that is valid for a lot of things in life, but has a special meaning when applied to producing electronic music. Listening to a lot of records is always a good way to make new ideas bump in your mind. This doesn’t mean you copy what other people are doing: concentrating on listening to every element of a well produced track from your favourite artist is a good exercise for your brain. You will discover a lot of little details that you can analyse. You will understand the structure of a the track, why it works, what are the elements and the sounds that make it so special.
On the experimental tip, it’s always good to try something new…this could be how to use a sample, or find an interesting way to combine different elements in a track, using a synth in a completely unusual way… just trying to feel yourself and get some dirt your hands! It can be frustrating at the first few attempts, but don’t give up. At the end of the day, working and working and working will bring you something.
Study and expand your knowledge
Learning how the tools in your possession work is very important. You don’t need to be an engineer, but knowing all the features of the software you’re using, or understanding how the synthesis works in a synth will open you the doors of new deeper world.
I see people (especially young dudes) buying expensive machines thinking that they will make magic things just plugging it into their sound cards — and then they just use presets because they can not understand how the machine works… this is completely wrong. With all the information we have at our disposal nowadays it’s crazy that people buy stuff and spend money just because there’s hype on something. Inform yourself, buy the gear, study it, put your hands at work, learn by doing, get deeper. This is the way to make good things.
Being creative is a non-linear process. There will be moments where a lot of ideas will come out and moments (sometimes days, weeks) when you’ll feel stuck. Don’t give up!
Enjoy also the struggle in making music: try to understand what’s not working and why, keep this as a training moment for the good days. When nothing good is coming out try to push yourself to do a little more, often there’s a little element that comes out that can always be used in the future and can stimulate you to create something new.
We are facing a lot of distractions in every moment of our daily life: Phones, chats, social media, charts, followers, etc…
All this stuff are important obviously, but there’s something much more important before it: the music you’re doing. If you’re a marketing and a social media nerd, you can reach a lot of people very fast, but in the end what makes you stand out is the music you can do. If what you do is not good and powerful enough, sooner or later people will notice it, and all the efforts done will dissolve in the air. Focus on doing great music, let the music speaks for you…and you’ll get rewarded for a real thing, by a real audience.
Ruff Stuff’s ‘Untitled006’ is out now via Ruff Stuff Ltd. Buy/listen to the release here