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Born and raised in the obscure yet famous city of Dayton, Ohio – Ruckus Roboticus was endowed with Dayton’s creative spirit, D.I.Y. grit, and FUNK POWER. Full of energy and imagination – he discovered scratching on the B-side of the first record he ever bought: DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand”. It wasn’t long until he was playing with scratches using his Muppets Show LP and sister’s turntable. Inspired by music magazines and CDs purchased from the “Experimental / Electronica” section of his local record store (where he would later work, and would eventually meet his future wife), he was soon experimenting with looping and layering audio on his parents’ primitive home computer. Eventually he decided to make some “experimental” music of his own – and his musical instrument of choice would be the turntable.
While saving up enough money to buy turntables – he often found himself bored to death in school, day-dreaming of his future musical pursuits. For fun, he jotted down a long list of potential artist aliases in his notebook, and for no apparent reason at all, combined the words “Ruckus” and “Roboticus”. He had found his alias, and eventually he had his turntables, now all he had to do was figure out how all this stuff worked!
This was a time before there were YouTube tutorials, Scratch DJ Academy and Ableton Master Classes, so Ruckus resorted to hours of experimenting, practice, and trial and error. He also befriended more-experienced, like-minded dudes (like No Nek Ned, Etch, Grimace, and The Birdman) who schooled him in the art of crate-digging, scratching, samplers, Pro Tools, and more. During this exploration and education – Ruckus discovered a whole new realm of amazing music that would greatly influence his sound – namely Golden-age Hip-hop, Blue Note Jazz, The James Brown School of Funk, Disco, 80’s Synth-Funk and House Music. Meanwhile, word got out in the neighborhood that Ruckus now had turntables, and he began deejaying friends’ parties for fun.
In 2000 – he and his friend No Nek Ned released Tales From The Crate – a record overflowing with samples and beats for turntablists to manipulate. Later that year Ruckus enrolled at Ohio University to study Audio Production. While in school, he continued making rudimentary beats on a Roland SP-808 and honed his deejay skills, oftentimes receiving guidance from experienced house, techno, jungle and drum n’ bass DJs (including Ghostly International artist Jeff Samuel).
In 2002 – after insane amounts of editing and mixing – Ruckus and his pal the Birdman released Tales From The Crate 2 – another critically acclaimed scratch / break-beat record for turntablists. Soon after, he won a Cartoon Network DJ Mix Contest and opened for Prince Paul at the CMJ Music Marathon.
In 2003 – Ruckus recorded and released the epic mix-masterpiece The Record Playa’ (which would later be voted “Best Mix Of The Year” on Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel Radio; and won the Rockstar Games Upload Contest for Best DJ Mix). His good fortune continued when miraculously, he was selected to participate in the Mastercard Priceless Edge Internship Contest – where he and 11 others won an “internship with Jurassic 5”.
In 2004 – he and his friends (which included future members of Everything is Terrible) started the wildly popular, super fun, multi-genre dance party: Dance Or Die – which continued for 8 years, all over Ohio. Despite being totally under qualified – he scored a soundtrack to a feature-length student documentary entitled The Athens Asylum – a major stepping stone in the development of his production chops. And through an almost impossible set of circumstances – he landed the opportunity to make a custom, scratch-filled track for Nickelodeon Television. This was the start of a fruitful relationship with Nickelodeon and Ruckus continues to produce music for their on-air promos to this day.
After college – Ruckus began work on his debut solo album Playing With Scratches. Despite being homemade and self-released (on Grease Records) – the album dazzled critics and DJ’s alike, gaining support from indie juggernauts KCRW (Los Angeles), WFMU (New York), KEXP (Seattle), WOXY (Cincinnati), and many others, eventually catapulting the album into the CMJ Top Ten, and into a Progressive Insurance ad campaign. Tracks were also supported by The World Cafe (NPR), XM Satellite Radio, Rob Da Bank (BBC Radio 1), Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1), Solid Steel Radio (London), The Blend Corp. (Australia), Brooklyn Radio, and praised by Spin Magazine, and Okayplayer.com. Ruckus was declared one of the “Next 1000″ by Urb Magazine, and Playing With Scratches was ranked in WOXY’s 97 Best Albums of 2008 (alongside albums by Santigold, TV On The Radio, Portishead, Beck, and MGMT).
In celebration of the album release – Ruckus recorded Lesson 7: What’s Funk? – his contribution to the legendary “Lesson Series” created by Double D & Steinski, and championed by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. He also released his next epic mix CD – The Music Machine – which was voted best mix on Solid Steel Radio 2007. In royal fashion, Ruckus was crowned an official member of Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel Radio – joining the ranks of Coldcut, DK, DJ Food, Hexstatic, DJ Cheeba, DJ Moneyshot, and others, in producing the weekly radio show that broadcasts “The Broadest Beats” around the world.
For the next two years – Ruckus maintained a busy schedule of DJ gigs in the Midwest and beyond – delighting dance floors, art galleries and fashion shows with his refreshing, eclectic, fun, party-rocking sets. Highlights include rocking the stage with RJD2, Peanut Butter Wolf, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Juan Maclean, Crystal Castles, Grandmaster Flash, and Bootsy Collins – as well as being a special guest at the infamous The Rub party with DJ Ayres and Cosmo Baker, The Pulitzer Foundation For the Arts, The Getty Villa, and MOCA. In addition to playing records, Ruckus devised a live, one-man-band show, and performed his album live all over the world (Seoul, Glasgow, Bristol, Cardiff, Montreal, NYC, Detroit, LA – to name a few).
While Ruckus maintained a steady diet of shows, remixes (for Bloc Party, Lady Tigra, Fool’s Gold, Sweat It Out), work for hire (iHeartRadio, MTV, Disney), producing for artists (Adam Warrock, BAWZ), he also began work on his next full-length album (Phantom Of The Disco). As songs were completed, he self-released them as singles on his newly created record label: Dance Or Die Records.
For the first single – Take Me To A Disco – Ruckus took a line from an anti-disco anthem and attempted to turn it into a disco anthem (pretty clever, eh?). Together with the tireless efforts of Seven-Seventy Nine productions – they produced a music video that won The Freshman 5 Contest on MTVu, was the most watched video on MTVu.com for 6 weeks and aired on the MTVu Network for 4 weeks.
For the second single – “T.G.I.F. (Thank God It’s Funky) – Ruckus teamed-up with the legendary vocalist Spanky Wilson to create a fuzzy, lo-fi, funky foot-stomper. Partnering with Outsider Entertainment and armed with budget made of chump change, they created one helluva music video! The song was released on vinyl and featured remixes by disco-house sensation Go Go Bizkitt, 2x UK DMC Champ JFB, and legendary party-rocker Aldo Vanucci. Ruckus partnered with HOMAGE Clothing to produce a hand-crafted retro style “Thank God IT’s Funky” t-shirt.
In 2013 – Ruckus Roboticus moved to Los Angeles to intensify his pursuit of music making and record playing. This year will see the release of two more original singles, and the completion of the Phantom Of The Disco. Despite some flourishes of success, Ruckus remains somewhat under the radar – working tirelessly in the studio on a slew of new remixes, music for television, and looking for the perfect beat. Song by song, and mix by mix, Ruckus continues to delight listeners around the world. It’s only a matter of time until the music masses realize, this is the dawning of The Age Of Roboticus!