Vex Ruffin: Interview

Mar 10, 2021 | Culture, Music

  1. It’s been 3 years since your last full album ‘Conveyor’; what have you been up to since then, and how has it influenced your latest release, ‘LiteAce Frequence’?

After ‘Conveyor’ I wasn’t recording at all. I was focusing more on boxing and working. I was also taking trips to Japan every year with my wife which is probably why I was sampling a lot of Japanese. We love it there and it’s a big influence on the album. Before I started recording LiteAce I was listening to a lot of OPM, world music, Brazilian and of course Japanese. So I definitely wanted to go for warmer sounds and decided to sing in Tagalog.

  1. Having grown up between the Philippines and the USA, how is it repping the OPM movement in America?

It’s been great! Most of the people that are connecting with it have been mostly Filipino Americans and Filipinos in the homeland as well. People have been hitting me up on Instagram and telling me how they grew up with a LiteAce too. I think there’s a lot of people who either grew up with OPM or a lot who had no idea it existed, I think people need it right now it’s really something Filipinos should be proud of. It’s history and most importantly it’s cool music. We’ve got cool artists too! New and old.

  1. ‘LiteAce Frequence’ has an organic feel, how much of this record, if any, was made with live instrumentation versus samples?

All of it is sample based. Because of circumstance. I haven’t bought any new equipment / instruments. For me it helps me work faster because time isn’t on my side because I have my day job and family but it’s all about balancing all of it. I’m the type of artist that likes to work quickly so sampling helps me do that even when I was younger, in art class I was better at sketching in faster movements with my hands as opposed to taking my time.

  1. You’ve cited the 70s ‘Manila Sound’ as an influence in the past; what were you listening to whilst writing for this record? Any recommendations for our readers?

A lot of Juan De La Cruz band , VST & CO, Hosono, Joe Bataan, Hotdog, Milton Nascimento, Steve Arrington, Yellow man and a lot of artists I would discover when I’d DJ at Goldline bar.

  1. For the producers and musicians out there, can you give us any insight into what equipment and techniques you’re using?

I use a SP 404 sampler, Macbook Pro, GarageBand, Alesis micron synth and a RadioShack mic.

  1. Your sound is as befitting to the landscapes of urban London as it is the deserts and beaches of California. Do you listen to a lot of UK music?

Yes I do! A lot of my other albums are heavily influenced by UK artists like The Cure, PIL, Cabaret Voltaire, New Order, Bauhaus, A Certain Ratio just to name a few. My uncle growing up introduced me to The Cure and the Smiths so when I was in high school In the late 90’s I dressed very hip hop, and the goths would trip out that I knew these bands.

  1. From your early releases like “Crash Courses” and “No Escape” to now, it feels like your sound has mellowed, does this reflect an intentional shift or has this been subconscious?

It’s both! Right now my mindset is all about staying positive for my fam and for myself. Really trying to be my best self, I’m eating healthier, thinking healthier, feeling better so you can hear it in my new music.

  1. Like me, you’re a big boxing fan, even featuring the sport on this album cover! Of your favourite musicians, who do you think would fare the best as a professional boxer?

I’d say Roc Marciano not only cause of his name but because I feel like he’s smart and highly skilled but also keeps it simple and clever. The smarter fighter always wins!

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