Home » Editors Pick, Interviews

Dave The Ruf – The Inteview


12 May 2003 No Comment

Probably one of the hardest working people in British hip hop today. He has released many records, runs a mail order business, dj’s, produces and many of you will know of him if you ever checked out the MindBomb and Jeep Beat Collective albums. In this interview Dave speaks to us about a wide range of stuff. Essential reading for those who dig UK hip hop.

Hey man, thanks for talking to us, how you doing these days?

Hey despite all the odds and increasing middle age I am still RUF AS FUCK AND LOVING IT

You are the originator of this Ruf Beats empire, can you tell us how you got involved with hip hop? What was it that made you sit up and say “fuck it, I’m doing this”?

I fell in love with hip hop in the late 80’s. Started Dj’ing/MC’ing and making demos. After doing a business degree and working for the man (IBM – Nazi supporting bastards) until the man repeatedly made me redundant. I then set up my records shops/did pirate radio / mail order and eventually in 2003 set up Boom Tunes which went on to be called The Ruf Label which in 1998 metamorphasised into RUF BEATS.

You had your record shops Funky Banana and Boom Tunes, what was it like running those shops and were you ever tempted to not sell your best vinyl, I mean you would only order the best shit right? So how difficult was it for you to sell it to some snotty nosed teenager?

Running those shops was very tough cos I set the business up on £2,000 and did 90% of the work – long hours and DJ’ing as well. I actually got alot of my collection of hip hop and breaks via the shop – but it was always hard having to sell the last copies of a dope tune I really wanted for myself. The snotty nosed teenagers were actually pretty cool, it was sone of the trendy ass fucking know it all heads that just stood around at jams that did my head in. The shops were great fun looking back.. but my heart was really in selling and making proper underground hip hop.

You closed your shops and set up a mail order company, why the shift from bricks n morter to hiding behind closed doors?

Firstly cos of having to pay rent. 
2. Because I could run shit from home and have more money to pump into the label.
3. Alot of my customers are from all over the Uk and the world so i could survive off them whilst building the label up properley.

I remember I think it was watching the Fresh 97 video I checked out a performance of your group MindBomb. So does Mindbomb still exist as a group and if so what other new stuff can we expect from you in the future?

Oh yeaah, I do my vocal hip hop as MINDBOMB, my scratch hip hop as JEEP BEAT COLLECTIVE and strange stuff as GODFATHER OF WEIRD. MINDBOMB last album was “Great British Beef” released in 1999 and more recently I had a MINDBOMB 12″ out “New Life/Record shoppin” in 2001. I am currently writing a new album under my originally school given nickname of RUFMOUTH. Which is me producing/dj’ing and MC’ing on a satirical/political taking the piss type trip!

Your sound is very raw, authentic with a lot of samples, what do you think of producers who don’t sample, I mean isn’t sampling the foundation of hip hop production, I mean these days you hardly hear a deejay on a track anymore. What are your thoughts on this?

Sampling was basically outlawed and I feel hip hop sucked the US corporate cock and played along. I prefer proper raw loops, original fat drums and a vast array of eclectic samples, along with a dope scratch Dj and an mc who is talking loud AND saying something. Hip hop needs to get back to these roots and stop advertising the negative/empty materialistic approach that it has been reward for producing throughout the 90’s into today. I try in my little way to re-address that, and make the music the way it should be done, for sharing and enjoyment rather than just short lived celebrity and crumbs off the majors tables. I hear plenty of Dj’s on tracks but that’s because I dig deep for the records for Radio Zero and for my mail order. like with all music – there is plenty of great stuff out there but unfortunately the media only really pushes the mediocre. Silly fools. 

How well is your mail order business doing? Do you ever get time to sleep especially with so much stock?

Yeah it’s okay although alot of my Uk customers are skint as fuck right now. many have lost their jobs or are struggling at college. I do occasionally sleep and am surrounded by boxes of record day and night which is sort of frustrating when you don’t have the time for playing as much as you want.

Damn you must be busy, you also got a radio show “Radio Zero” is that still running and if so what can you tell us about that? Are there any good and bad memories from the share you’d like to share with us?

Radio Zero was a continuation of my old “Boomin System” shows on Soul nation in Manchester. Its basically a bi monthly mixtape 3 hour pack full of the best underground hip hop I can find. I’ve had many good times doing it but unlike most hip hop shows its basically no in studio guests just me playing great new records. Cos the show is loosely planned I never really know just what I’m going to hear too so the fresh tunes boomin out give me my best memories. The worst memories are all when I had to did it quickly and DATS and cd’s etc fucked up – nothing too bad though.

You guys have been around for a long time, I mean you got mean sales, would you describe yourself as the hardest working person in British hip hop?

I would, definitely just for the pure fact that I must have put more of my personal money and effort not too mention hours in than anyone else. Alot of other Uk heads work hard on their labels or music, but the difference with me is I am everything – the mail order/the label/ the artist/ the dj plus I do Radio Zero, Writing, Lectures and a whole bunch of stuff. No one else in the UK has recorded 10 albums and 20 singles let alone pumped in the cash into so many other crews as well. At the end of the day I’m one of the few that also buys and supports 80% of the uK crews that have existed in the 1990’s – I ‘ve always pushed British Hip Hop – even when it was not trendy too. Now I’m also busy as a husband and father plus I am currently writing a book uncovering the Big lie of 9/11 and the forces controlling and pushing us all towards a one world government. 

Did you ever get to check out South African hip hop and if so what did you think?

I am always open to hearing anything new. I remember seeing Prophets of the City in Manchester once, man those guys had energy. I think I videoed them as well. The Best foreign group I have seen recently though was Coltaire K a French/Lebanese rapper with a fully live band, scratch Dj and beatboxer. You have to stay open minded.. hip hop is worldwide now. We should all link up more.

What are your thoughts on British hip hop, were there any periods in history that stick out for you?

Yeah its really good at the moment and I think it always has been but the real quality stuff never got pushed. I document my version of the uk’s history in my new 6 pack tape set “The Ruf’s guide to Great British Hip Hop” were I describe every record on their and relate loads of stories. For me though 1996-2000 was immense because its when my MINDBOMB and JEEP BEAT COLLECTIVE stuff really blew up and did me proud. 

What was the first album you ever bought?

Probably Adam and the Ants when I was 11

What vinyls would you consider the most important in your collection?

The big tunes I have got known for playing which few others have and have given me so many special memories and intense moments of pleasure over the last 20 years. I am especially proud of my hip hop section although I am not an intense collector. I buy a vast range of music now which increasingly help me broaden my production sounds, ideas etc

Which British artists/crews do you think are really doing good in terms of music?

Roots Manuva/ Numskullz / DJ Format / Lewis Parker / Blade / MC Mello / Krispy / Briantax oh so many more.

What elements do you look for that will make you appreciate a song?

Dope beats / great interesting music which has some variety to it and doesn’t hinge on just a gimmick / Strong charismatic vocalist who is saying something / If its hip hop some well thought out dope scratches are always good / I do like tracks with big atmosphere though / I do like tracks that rock the floor as well

What equipment do you use to produce, how do you arrange your songs?

Er Roland W30 / Tascam 8 track / Decks / Effects / Tons of Vinyl / Lots of souls / Couple of DAT machines / 2 microphone simplicity can be beauty…I arrange my songs by a mixture of happy accidents, involving decks, keyboards, ideas and total fucks up mixed with a nice live – I like to capture some interesting dynamics rather then crystal clear sound. I really think production can be best when raw. Technology can make sound organic

What would you say is the wickedest break you’ve ever heard?

Tuff … PRETTY PURDIE Soul drums or maybe the fucked up mono bootleg of SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE love city

Most hard to find vinyl at the moment?

Rare British Hip Hop is going for some pretty high prices due to the few copies that were ever pressed on some classics.

Worst hip hop album of the year 2002?

Anything by JA RULE

Best hip hop album of the year 2002?

Mr Lif I phantom / EYEDEA The many faces of Oliver Hart

Which do you prefer, the smell of vinyl or good food?

DUB PLATES smell fucking great… but food probably wins by a nose

Is it true that Tim Westwood is a twat? Why do so many people hate him?

It is indeed true.
Some hate him because he acts like something he’s not and plays a hell of a lot of Sony etc major label hip hop. Sucking up to all the US artists and sleeping on 95% of good hiphop from the UK AND THE US probably doesn’t help his cause either. He seems just to play any old wack shit thrown at him and has lost interest in the beating heart of hip hop that he helped bury underground many years ago – when i fact as the ONLY national hip hop show in the Uk he had a chance to break things open for every mc/dj/crew/promoter that was making noise. In effect he silenced them and just protected his livelyhood and income. Music to me is about sharing and experiencing not personal ego. 

Personally I made that track in 1996 more to point out what every other Uk crew was scared to say which was “you are not fucking supporting us” when you should be – it was actually meant as a bit of a joke as we felt we had made it anyway. I can’t really hate him now, cos I have grown up alot and realised there are much more important issues to be dealt with now, they kind of make that record seem even funnier. MAYBE IF OTHER PEOPLE CONCENTRATED MORE ON LOVING HIP HOP THEMSELF AND DOINGTHEIR OWN THING THEY WOULD HATE HIM LESS. Hate is a waste but anger (but not violence) is an energy if used cleverly and for true purpose. 

What is the best British hip hop magazine?

At the moment I’d say Undercover is the biggest supporter of British hip hop by quite a way.

What would you say is your best live show you ever did?

Probably any of the 6 hour dj/mc sets last year in Germany where I felt I really took things on to another level of performance and energy.I did a great gig at the Cork Jazz Festival in the Opera house building back in 1998 to 2,000 people whilst doing MINDBOMB’s Seducer for the first time (which talks about how the UK and US supplu the world arms).

What was the worst show you ever played at?

hmm I dont know – even the bad ones are good in some ways. I’ve missed flights due to over indulgence, stayed in lots of didgy houses, seen some mad shit, been searched for drugs, bombs etc had stuff stolen and cracked my skull into a new shape after pogo’ing into a roof but thi sshit happens. take it all together – it’s all funny in it’s own way.

What do you drink these days?

Guiness / Vodka (not at the same time)

What would have to happen for you to say “I finally made it?”

I feel I did that a few years ago when I moved house. I have done what I always dreamed of and am now in a privelidged position fo freedom to do what a want – whether its more Records or my book. I can play where and when I like as long as they let me have freedom of speech and music to play what I want. I am not playing their games anymore, I do not live by their rules – money/fame don’t matter but freedom to me does. 

What pisses you off?

Ha ha – far too much – although I do find laughing at the bastards helps alot!
Mainly the world elite who run our lives and the apathy of people.. especially people who moan about their lives endlessly and never do anything positive. The media piss me off alot – bunch of lying, ignorant scum. Most politicians and beaurocrats. Lot sof daft little stuff like people forgetting to have fun!

Tell us about the song “Fuck the Queen”, was it really banned? What happened to freedom of speech?

Yes – we had to press it in France where they fucked their Queen a long time ago! Ha ha.. the sound of silence was deafening from the media, probably more to it being on a tiny label with no budget. Freedom of speech doesn’t exist many places anymore especially the US and the UK, you have to realise that the world elite and its secret service tools pretty much control the media’s agenda. Just look how few programmes were made inspecting 9/11 for cover ups when the official story when thoroughly researched looks like a very big bad joke. Many people worldwide know this but their voices are not heard often and when they are they are called conspiracy theorists rather than the investigators they are, in the wake of the media no longer being able to ask even the most basic questions that WE, the PEOPLE ask. Like Where Was That Plane The Was Supposed to Have Hit The Pentagon?? See the photo’s there is no fuselage and little wreckage. We are being lied to and are lying to ourselves every day. Bush is a killer, Blair is a killer – until we reclaim our truth and freedom we will indirectly be killers too. They control this game, we run like Rats in a Maze, buy this, buy that, get drunk, get a job, nice car, pray to this god, believe this.. we exist in this confusing place rather than escaping and grasping at paradise. 

There is a belief that George Bush is a shape shifting reptilian. Do you ever read David Icke books? What books do you enjoy reading?

Yes I’ve read most of David Ickes books, his Alice in Wonderland – 9/11 book was good. Reptile? man, he’s a fucking lying little, maggot puppet hanging off his wrinkled daddy’s puss infected cock -they all are.. and SOME DAFT FUCKERS voted for them!! Ha ha. The best book I have read recently is JIM MARRS Rule by secrecy (PERENNIAL ISBM 0 06 093184-1) which not only tells you how they have ruled over us, but where they come from and the true origin of mankind linked back to Sumar (Iraq) and ancient tablets which have recently been translated before the US invaded and allowed a US led team in to steal these treasures which would help deliver mankind with the ultimate truth of where we come from. 

I have read about 80 books in the last year and am finally writing one of my own. I enjoy reading loads of stuff – check the websire www.rufbeats.co.uk (on line soon) for my full recommended reading lists to guide you to further truths / information but to name a few Clive Barker / Ian Banks anything really. The best book with evidence on 9/11 is THIERRY MAYSSAN 9/11 the Big Lie (CARNOT avialable from www.carnot.fr) which shoots down the official version.

People need to find the time to look into this shit to wake up to the full magnitude of what is happening to the world and how we continue to allow idiots, and sadistic killers into keep fucking the world up. we pay are taxes to them, they spend it on slaughtering the innocent for money, power, control and the bigger masterplan..

Do you ever battle other deejays, if so which was your easiest battle and most difficult?

he he he no mate… I’m not like a turntablist I just try and scratch mad music together.. I dont worry about technique’s ,crabs and all that shit but rather let the music do the work by providing a huge big, beautiful mix of wax for the people. I don’t tend to battle much but enjoy open mic things and playing with other groups and especially dj’ing for B Boys and girls to do their thing to. I like to party too much and don’t have much time for confilct, people tend to battle for recognition and fame (or infamy0 I’d rather just get on with putting out records and doing my thing and doing it that way. Being a producer/MC and Dj there is not quite the same urge to be the best… 

What are your all time favourite British hip hop albums?

Most of my stuff, MC Mello, Katch 22, Blade, K Delight, Roots manuva, Buzz B, Ruthless Rap Assassins, Gunshot, Lewis Parker, Stereo MC’s and lots more allthoug most of my UK selection tends to be on 12″ 

You have mad ill shit on your mail order! So can people order worldwide? If so where can they get a catalogue?

Yup we worldwide. People can send their addresses to us at : RUF BEATS, PO BOX 290, NORTHWICH, CHESHIRE, CW9 5XE or from July be able to get info/sign up to the catalogues at www.rufbeats.co.uk

Will you ever come out to South Africa and do some shows?

If I get asked yeahhh why not. that would be cool – I am hoping to get to Japan, Australia and America to do some shows soon so why not. Traveling opens your eyes and therefore soul. bring it on!!!!

I want to thank you taking the time to talk to us. Nuff respekt! Any last words?

No worries, hope some of you good people get in touch with us. Big up yourselves and keep getting those voices heard. Peace, Love , unity and having fun – the original hip hop ethic – Dave THE RUF aka RUFMOUTH – Ruf beats boss and artist.

Submitted by: