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Dazed Mix: Rushmore

The London underground DJ spins a mix of bass-heavy club tracks as he prepares to release his debut album Ours After

TextSelim BulutIllustrationMax Rawlins

Rushmore has been a fixture of London’s underground club scene for a few years now. For four years his clubnight House of Trax (ran alongside fellow DJ/producer Fools) brought energetic, adrenaline-fuelled club styles like ghetto house, ballroom, and footwork to the city’s dancefloors (booking guests like Venus X, Zebra Katz, and MikeQ along the way), while his label Trax Couture has issued music from Chilean producer Imaabs, LA’s Dreams, and Rushmore himself.

Though House of Trax has since ended, Rushmore himself has kept busy producing music, and he’s now readying his debut album Ours After. Designed both as a club record and a post-club record, the album features abstracted house, weightless grime, and sideways rap beats, with vocal collaborations from LA (Cam and China), Tokyo (Koko Miyagi, Mr Tikini, and Konida), and London (Josh Caffe).

Ahead of the album release, Rushmore got in the mix, spinning through 30 tracks in a little over an hour, mostly featuring original material. Check it out below and read our interview with the man himself.

Hi Rushmore. How are you feeling right now?

Rushmore: Hi Dazed! Feeling in a weird state of excited, nervous, and the feeling of it ‘all being over’ with regards to the album rollout and the impending release day. The whole political situation does play into those feelings too – everything seems such a mess right now. I feel like Europe/the world is entering a transition phase, politically, that will naturally affect us all in some way, positive or negative. We just need to stay strong and crack the fuck on though, you know what I mean? The general mood is that everything is changing, but we need to embrace that. It’s the only way.

First, let’s talk about your album. What drew you towards the LP format?

Rushmore: Whether it be the generation I grew up in or not, I do love the album format. It was as exciting as a trainer release date for me as a kid, when a new album came out. Or if I read about a release in a magazine then I’d try to find which of my local record stores had a few copies. I enjoy the breadth that a producer or artist can explore within an album, which provides variation, excitement and an exploration of sound, style and technique. It seemed like a natural progression, after having produced several EPs, to challenge myself by writing an album.

“Openness, positivity, feeling welcome, hard work and determination are all key messages” – Rushmore

Can you tell us about some of your collaborators on it?

Rushmore: So the first vocals I locked in were the homies from Tokyo (Koko Miyagi, Mr Tikini, and Konida). I hit them up shortly after my trip over there. I saw them doing their thing at the party I played, with the bi-lingual MCing over all sorts of beats – hip hop, house, club, techno. I loved it. Their friendship group are real talented and super friendly guys – big up them! The second feature I locked in was Cam & China. As soon as I heard their tracks, I was onto them immediately. I love their confident, determined flow which comes with a healthy dose of each of their own personalities. I love the west coast in general – they’re from LA and I grew up listening to a fair bit of west coast hip hop, so it all just feels right. The last, but not least, piece of the puzzle is the hook up with Josh Caffe. I’ve been friends with Josh for like five years or so and we’ve DJed and partied together. I think his voice is amazing as he’s versatile and can work with a lot of different sounds and styles. I explained to him the theme of the album, he interpreted that story into his own by singing about a personal relationship, the song took on a life of its own. Reflecting on it all now, it’s great to think that all the people and messages they have conveyed lyrically relate to my personal outlook and help translate messages from the album perfectly. Openness, positivity, feeling welcome, hard work and determination are all key messages.

As someone who promoted a successful clubnight in London for four years, what do you think is exciting about clubbing in London right now?

Rushmore: I think my promotions both with House Of Trax and Rhythm Talk, which ran before it, spanning seven years, were difficult, challenging, hugely rewarding and a dream come true all at the same time. I think during that time, it might have become even a bit more challenging (with venues, etc.) to promote parties. I think there are a lot of crews doing smaller, more focused parties for their purist crowds, which is exciting. I think the excitement we tried to provide with H.O.T. was the exotic appeal of US guest and DJs playing their UK debuts, coupled with the dance-your-pants-off attitude. I think since those parties, a lot of new producers and DJs have emerged, so you now have more local scenes which support their own friends and host their own parties, which is also exciting and super healthy for the community to grow. Even now, I miss certain elements of promoting but I’m giving myself the opportunity to re-think how I want to put on events. I feel like stopping H.O.T. has definitely created a hole in the landscape a bit but is a perfect opportunity to re think my approach, which is exciting in itself. 

What have you learnt from your time involved in the city’s club scene?

Rushmore: I have learned that ultimately it’s all business, which sounds obvious, but when you’re putting on an event and maybe your prime motivation is ‘for the love’, that love might soon diminish if your night isn’t as busy as the venue wants or doesn’t take enough on the bar. It’s actually pretty ruthless if I’m honest, especially at new venues in upcoming areas. Sometimes they can be the worst offenders – they will use the business model of getting in so called ‘cool clubnights’ to attract the right crowd, chew you up, then spit you out the other side once they have their regular clientele and they can then run an all in-house promotion model to achieve maximum profit. That’s why it was such a shame to see Plastic People go – I would love for there to be somewhere like that now, which had the same family approach, fucking unbelievable sound system, and high quality taste. I think that’s what’s missing for the corner of the market I kind of operate in.

“Clubbing has always been there as a form of escapism and unity – two opposing dispositions, but they seem to work in harmony when coupled with music, and sometimes drugs” – Rushmore

Tell us about this mix then.

Rushmore: So the mix is around 90% exclusive material from myself, a lot of hip hop-based production which is a side of my production style that I wanted to reflect with the album and this mix was a perfect way to contextualise that and mix in some of the album tracks with additional stuff. It’s got a fairly steady flowing first half then a bit more carte blanche, up and down vibe in the second with some new exciting producers from around the globe including Imaabs, DJ NK, Boikaffe, Sikuri, and Evil Streets. Some music will be forthcoming on Trax Couture too, so a bit of a sneak peak of what’s to come from the label too.

We’re living through troubled times. How can clubbing help?

Rushmore: Clubbing has always been there as a form of escapism and unity – two opposing dispositions, but they seem to work in harmony when coupled with music, and sometimes drugs. Electronic music and club culture began in the UK in the form of free parties and raves which were a very anti-establishment form of protest. It became regulated and a part of the economy as the government and business people have re-packaged and capitalised on it. So the spirit and roots of clubbing actually stand for more than people think. It can help us though these times by letting us gather as like minded people in a form of protest against some of the global political issues and support each other through them.

TRACKLIST:

01. Rushmore – “3Kilos screwed”
02. Rushmore – “Special Keikan Shower”
03. Rushmore – “3003”
04. Rushmore – “Night Drive”
05. Rushmore – “Rhythm Hashish”
06. Rushmore – “Hydro Coast”
07. Rushmore – “Air Flight Mode”
08. Rushmore – “Necessary Evil”
09. Rushmore – “Lifeline”
10. Rushmore – “Dropshot”
11. Rushmore – “Case Point”
12. Pininga x Venus X – “Beautiful Gorgeous Golden VGG”
13. Boikaffe – “Melodic Tongues”
14. Liquid City Motors – “Funktional Mathematics”
15. D.Enyel Ft.Miky Woodz – “Moet” (Imaabs Rework)
16. Fox Musix – “Big Man Ting” (Prod. Famous Eno)
17. Deadboy x Santa Muerte – “Sad Snipper Edit”
18. Rushmore – “P-Dub”
19. Rushmore – “Snapper”
20. DJ NK – “Tribalistic Face”
21. DJ Mika – “E Vou”
22. Rushmore – “BB1”
23. Rushmore – “South West”
24. Sikuri – “Noche”
25. Evil Streets – “A-Line Ridim”
26. Liquid City Motors – “Cirrostratus” (Iridescant Mix)
27. Syymstress – “Sprng Edit”
28. Rushmore Ft. Deeon – “Let's Go”
29. Rushmore – “Over Shade”
30. Rushmore – “Izakaya Trance” (feat. Koko Miyagi, Konida and Mr Tikini)

Trax Couture release Rushmore’s Ours After on July 29