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004: Ambient Meditation with RUF DUG

Updated: Apr 19, 2021


Video game soundtracks. Iberian windswept balearica. Street soul. Ambient soundscapes. Afro edits. Modern synth music. Hard bangers. No genre or style seems out of range for the Manchester based producer, dj and record label owner known as Ruf Dug, who has made a name for himself over the past 20 years as one of the most talented and irreverent people in underground dance music.

A Manchester native, Ruf Dug grew up studying and making music when other cats in his school were hitting the pitch. Perhaps it was his early experiences in walkman headphones listening to everything from movie soundtracks to Giorgio Moroder that would inspire his tape-deck aesthetic today.

Playing the flute in bands in Manchester, while listening to house music and jazz on the side, Ruf Dug knew he loved music but didn’t know what direction it would take him. Eventually he would take holiday in Australia around the year 2000. What was intended to be a short vacation morphed into an 8 year stay.

Seeking out the illegal raves and warehouse parties, Ruffy found himself immersed in Sydney’s underground scene, surrounded by other like-minded creatives from the film and music industry. It was here Ruf Dug would start his dj career. It took off quickly.

Fast forward some years and Ruffy would return to Manchester. Success came in the form of gigs around the globe, a monthly NTS radio show, a coveted Pikes Ibiza residency in the summer, a label headship, and countless productions for his own label and others. But success hasn’t made Ruffy complacent.

Maintaining his workman-like roots, Ruffy continues to be one of the most prodigious and innovative underground producers around. He is known to never say no to a gig, and to do his job with a smile on his face and a crass joke to follow. I was lucky enough to play “alongside” Ruffy in a virtual Cultures of Soul 10 year anniversary party this summer. Breaking out his collection of UK street soul with a self-designed virtual backdrop, Ruffy’s set did not disappoint.

Adapting to life under Covid, he’s hosted live production sessions called “Ruffy Makes a Tune” on his Twitch channel which are now available on BandCamp. Maintaining a lo-fi aesthetic and never taking himself too seriously, Ruffy continues to release music at an alarming rate. He has no plans of slowing down.

Never too busy for his fans, Ruffy pushed us an hour mix of ambient selections from a recent outdoor set at before answering some questions about his productions, dj’ing, and staying Covid cool.

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