After buying his first set of decks at age 15, Rustie (AKA Russell Whyte) rapidly incorporated his influences and concepts of immersive art into the mould of complex beats and sounds that make up his music. With clear nods to wonky and video game soundtracks, the Glasgow beatmaker is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Danny Brown and AlunaGeorge. We caught up with him ahead of his performance at Laneway festival to discuss the future of the forward-thinking musician.
After the guest-free Glass Swords, what prompted the flurry of vocalists on Green Language?
Different album so different ideas. I had been working with people I liked so it was generally an easy decision.
What drew you to the idea of green language (or the language of the birds)?
It’s an archaic and ancient language. Drum rhythms could be some of the first pieces of communication in terms of expression and that interests me.
How much did your equipment change between Glass Swords and Green Language?
Not much really. I simplified things a wee bit but nothing major.
I feel like slap bass had been neglected in a lot of 21st century music, with the exception of Glass Swords. Do you have any plans to blow the dust off any other music-making techniques?
After Old and Green Language, are there any more Danny Brown–Rustie collaborations in the works?
Always working with Danny. I was just in Detroit at his studio.
Are there any more vocalists (or musicians of any kind) that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Yes! I’m working with a few people just now but can’t reveal much.
What makes for a compelling live set from a producer?
Keeping things simple and always making sure the audience are enjoying it. I think the crowd is a massive factor in any show and should be respected as such.
What can you tell us about the visual component of your tour?
It was designed by a friend in Montreal called Adam Hummell. Kinda a continuation of the themes of the album mixed in with some nuts 3D stuff. The color palette is the same throughout and it really stands out on its own.
Last year was a particularly strong year for labels like Numbers (you, Hudson Mohawke, SOPHIE, and so on). Are you feeling particularly enthused about UK music?
I don’t really care where music is made as long as its good. I’m really happy for my friends and enjoy hearing new stuff.
What other Glaswegian musicians should the world know about?
S type, Inkke and Fox Gut Daata.
Rustie is performing tonight (Jan 28) at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney and tomorrow (Jan 29) at Howler in Melbourne. More info and sales are available at Moshtix. He will also be appearing on the Red Bull Music Academy x Future Classic stage at Laneway.