MASSIVE QUESTIONS with TRUSS

Anybody who says that the Weekly Review of Dance Music is running out of steam after four years of relentlessly impressive, laser-focused and singular dance music penmanship with little-to-no financial gain or professional progression aside from the occasional RA Feed spot or an interview in Britain's biggest-selling news and current affairs magazine, Private Eye, or that I'm spreading myself too thin with the Tonka's Week stuff on Ran$om Note every Friday, or that WRDM is now simply a vanity project dumping ground for interviews with DJs and artists I'm friendly online with, plugs for music I haven't listened to and lazy, half-finished and pointless ideas, and is no longer a credible alternative to the popular, but similarly faceless, dance magazine powerhouses who don't really care about their readership in the way that I do, needs their fucking heads testing.

The Weekly Review of Dance Music is so much more than all of that. Tonka is still brimming with new ideas, not pointless and recycled ones. I've got so many forks in the pie that it's not even a pie anymore; it's just a load of forks with gravy and pastry all over them. I've got so many features in the pipeline, the pipeline has got all clogged up and I'm having to pour baking soda, vinegar and kettles full of boiling water down it from head height. Yes, the Weekly Review of Dance Music STILL has a purpose. If you're not reading WRDM, you're reading those weird reviews in Mixmag written by people who are told what to write by an editor, or those useless, click-bait shit meals that get served up on Thump...

...I've got to get over these petty, personal problems I've got with people at Mixmag and Thump. It's not doing me any good, and I mustn't let a couple of bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Sorry.



Anyway, over the weekend, I met up with a DJ and producer called Truss. He's doing very well for himself at the moment, travelling the world and playing in nightclubs like Dude Club in Italy and Berghain in Germany. He's off to Australia next month. Can you imagine how brilliant it must be to be an international DJ? I should have asked him that, but I forgot.

I caught up with Truss as he was mentally preparing for his upcoming headline slot at House of God next week. I rushed to grab the yoga mat next to his, which made Ali Wells tut at the time, but this is London; you snooze, you lose.

We shared a whispered conversation whilst his middle-aged, but very, very fit instructor barked orders at us over the top of Diabolis Ex Machina by Arcane Device. Here is the transcript:
Q) For anyone unfamiliar with the name, Truss, could you tell them who you are, what you do and why you do it?
A) I'm Thomas Benson Russell, and I play music at parties because I'm shit at socialising.

Q) Why did you choose the moniker, Truss, as a DJ name? Did you ever toy with the idea of prefixing it with DJ, like a proper DJ (DJ Truss), or suffixing it with something more exciting like Pentrych Scratch Kid (DJ Pentrych Scratch Kid) or Master of Beatz (DJ Master of Beatz)?
A) Truss has been my nickname since my early teens (T from Tom and Russ from Russell), so it was the easy option when it came to deciding my DJ name. I've never considered prefixing it with DJ.
Q) Growing up in the traditional Welsh county town of Monmouth, were there any local influences, club nights, DJs or promoters that made you consider what you do now an option? Or did you look beyond the Trefynwy for inspiration?
A) Crusty acid tekno free parties and mix CDs stolen off the cover of DJ Mag in WHSmith were the biggest sources of information available locally. Beyond Trefynwy, we traveled to the Hippo Club in Cardiff or the Crystal Rooms in Hereford when we wanted to go "clubbing."

Q) At what point did you realise you could be a DJ professionally? Were you able to enjoy the satisfaction of giving up a job for it?
A) I was able to enjoy the satisfaction of not having to get a proper job in the first place when I secured a weekly residency in the back room of The Queen's Head with my mate, Chinner. We used his turntables, my sound-system, enjoyed free booze and got paid fifty quid each.

 Q) What got you into playing and making acid, techno and snatches of Italo? Do you reckon you’ll always play and make acid, techno and the odd bit of Italo, or do you want to branch out into other genres when you get older, like chill-out, ambient and sad vocal gloop?
A) Not sure really. I've always been down to particular sounds, I guess. Acid and techno have been a passion of mine since my teens. Italo is something I've been getting into more recently. The sounds and melodies are confident and overt, and there's a real honesty in the music. It's just great pop.

At some point, my tastes will no doubt mature and I'll get into more down-tempo stuff. I'll move back to South Wales and open up a beach-front bar/club called Café Del Barry Island or something.

Q) Who’s the best; Truss or Trus’me?
A) Trus, me.
Q) In early October, you played at Fabric. Surgeon was also on the bill. You’re playing at the House of God Halloween party in October. Surgeon, as HoG resident, shares the flyer with you. The following night, you’re at Dude Club in Italy…with Surgeon. Why don’t you guys just get a room?! LOLoutLOUD (the getting a room question is not the MASSIVE QUESTION, the next bit is).

I famously interviewed Surgeon earlier this year. That means Surgeon, NOT Kevin Bacon, is the straw that stirs the shake in most of the degrees of separation in the dance world. So, what I’m trying to say is, what’s it like to be playing regularly, as a contemporary of people like Surgeon (i.e. DJs who must have been your heroes when you were growing up in Monmouth)?
A) It's pretty surreal actually. Over the past few years, I've got to meet a number of my heroes and they've all been absolutely lovely.
Q) Do you have any spooky tunes or outfits planned for the House of God Halloween party (tickets available here)?
A) Well, I've been sent a shit-load of dark techno on promo lately and I was wondering the reason for this deluge of gloomy, gothic-themed dance music, but now I realise that it must be for Halloween. For the occasion, I'll be dressed head-to-toe in black clothes.

Q) Sixteen bar rolling snare fill or thirty two bar rising hoover with cymbal crashes on the final four beats?

A) Hoovers. Every fucking time.




Q) Blacknecks famously split up last year after it was revealed that Daniel Avery was ghost-producing Bleaching Agent’s parts and you were exposed as the artist behind the Bleaching Agent DJ act in a WRDM tabloid feature condemned by Resident Advisor’s Andrew Ryce as “bullshit”, “irresponsible” and “make-believe” on an unusually testy Red Bull Music Academy staged forum discussion with Bill Brewster, Theo Parrish and a bored-looking, well-dressed Japanese club programmer in his twenties.

What is your least favourite Blacknecks song?
A) MASSIVE lol. To answer your question: all of them.

Q) What is Surgeon really like?
A) Smashing.
Q) Last year, I spent an hour drunk on stage at the London Electronic Music Event in Shoreditch twiddling my thumbs, stuttering incomplete responses to members of the audience and staring into space whilst Dan Beaumont, Terry Farley and a couple of proper music journalists made me look like a fucking moron in comparison. Two hours later I was stood at the back of a room upstairs watching Terry Weerasinghe out of Beatport NOT dying on his arse.

When did you last die on your arse?
A) Whenever the last Blacknecks gig was.

Q) Stone cold sober or absolutely fucking terminated?
A) Stone cold terminated.




Q) Is there any advice you can give to the younger readers of WRDM who are looking to get ahead in the dance music industry?
A) Do your own thing. Do it for the right reasons. Do wear the right clothes (all black for techno 2015). Don't pay too much attention to advice dished out by second-rate producers.

Q) Could you sort me out with AAA VIP guest list +1 for House of God, please?
A) Go on then.

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What a lovely young man! Please join me in wishing Truss all the very best for the future and support all of his future endeavours by paying money to go and watch him DJ around the world: Truss/dates

Also:

"Follow" him: @truss_101
"Like" him: facebook/truss.music

I'll be back next week if I can be bothered. I might not be bothered ever again.

Until then:

Please Like me: facebook/tonkawrdm
Please Follow me: @tonkawrdm
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