Tom Russell (a.k.a. Truss) heralds from a small Welsh village on the outskirts of Cardiff, yet he brings some of the darker and harder elements of techno to many of the UK’s urban concrete haunts such as Corsica Studios. Having released several tracks on London techno label Perc Trax, Miniscule, Dumb-Unit Synewave among others, his sound comprises stripped-back minimal techno that is hard and driving. Stocking records from UK-based techno producers Surgeon, Perc, Shifted and Sigha in his crate, Truss is clearly part of the scene here that pushes a sound that is loud, visceral and exactingly scientific.
Following a superb closing set at the Alpha-ville afterparty last year, Truss is returning to perform a live set at this years festival as well as contributing a mix for the Alpha-ville podcast series. We had a chat with him about his podcast and the current state of the UK techno scene.
Your closing set last year went really well. Have you played in many similar events since then?
That party was brilliant fun. Yes, the venue in deepest Hackney, it had a great crowd and sound system and no closing time! Most other gigs since then have been slightly more conventional.
When playing a set, is it strictly vinyl or do you incorporate computerised-elements?
I play mostly vinyl, but recently I have been using a few CD’s also. It’s nice be able to play some of mine or my friends’ new music that is not yet on vinyl.
You remixed Lucy on Stroboscopic Artefacts, can you tell us what you find interesting about the label?
I was really chuffed when Lucy approached me for a remix as I’d been into a lot of the music the label was releasing. I like the fact that Lucy encourages the people he works with to experiment with their music. He’s very open to more abstract forms of electronic dance music.
The UK techno scene has seen a small resurgence in the last five years, is this driven by the popularity of Berghain and it’s record label Ostgut Ton?
I don’t think there’s any doubt that the whole Berghain / Ostgut phenomenon is partly responsible for the resurgence of Techno in the UK. However, I think there are also many other factors at work. There are a lot of promoters in London and other cities around the UK, putting on consistently good and varied line ups, which I think has really helped nurture an interest in Techno beyond just the influence of Berlin. There are a lot of producers breaking through in the UK at the moment too, not to mention many established artists still releasing great music. There seems to be a real sense of community building between promoters, labels and artists. It’s exciting!
Has the techno scene in the UK become more accessible since you first got involved?
The Techno scene has always seemed accessible to me. If you are passionate about the music as a producer, DJ, promoter or punter then that’s what it’s all about.
Most events that host techno DJs tend to make use of Funktion One sound, is this good thing?
Funktion One are definitely due credit for increasing people’s appreciation (and demand) for good quality sound. I think it’s a good thing that they are being so widely used now. However, everything else from decent working turntables to correct acoustic spacing must also be right, otherwise you might as well be using any old sound system.
The experimental elements in your mix hint at a similar pushed by Sandwell District (Regis & Function), did they influence contemporary techno?
Regis has been, and is still a huge influence on Techno in my opinion, and Sandwell District have definitely been key in helping shape the current sound of Techno.
In your productions, do you lean more to analogue or digital tools to build your tracks?
A mixture of both. Sometimes more digital, sometimes more analogue.We noticed you have a Soundcloud account for sharing your music, can you tell us how the site has helped the scene? For me personally it has replaced Myspace as a way of being able to network with people and share my music. I’ve discovered quite a few new (to me) artists since joining up. I think it can also help less established producers get their music heard. It’s generally all positive stuff for the scene I guess.
Which producer would you point to as doing something really interesting right now?
I can choose only one? Hmmmm, too many to mention! A Made Up Sound (aka 2562) has released some amazing music including ‘Rear Window’ which is one of my favourite records. The ‘Shattered’ mix on that record is absolutely deadly and also quite tricky to mix due to some weird time signature / swing thing going on (that’s my excuse anyway). It’s definitely one of the more interesting records I’ve heard for a while. Also been blown away by Blawan’s productions too. Proper next level sounds. Sorry that was two names, I know…..
What treats can we expect from your Alpha-ville set?
Expect a bunch of house and techno, old and new as well as the odd stepping, off kilter type record thrown in for good measure.