To my journalism purists, this may be too obscure of an introductory sentence. To R2D2, it might translate to an unflattering pickup line. But for all my “vibronaut” readers—the beat junkies, glitch witches; the knob knights who slay crowds with the Roland SP; the folks whose head nods have been permanently disrupted by the duck of side chain compression and unquantized breaks— that first line may be music to your ears.
Enter Rufio—the L.A-based scientist of sound just released a beat compilation titled fifth on his 21st birthday. Although we should be wishing him a happy born day, the gift is on him, for us.
Fifth is a beautiful project— and I say beautiful because one can practically see the audio as it plays. This beat tape presents an opportunity to hear what drum machines and keyboards would sound like if they could speak to us; and with Rufio’s meticulous sequencing and care for detail, the machines never say the same thing twice. Fifth is an even better listen when you keep in mind that Rufio, at 21, already has eight years of beat construction experience in his fingertips.
We got a chance to catch up with Rufio and ask about the method behind the madness.
(Interview conducted by Sev)
How long before your birthday did you plan on releasing this project? Or was that just a pleasant coincidence?
I was thinking about releasing one 3 days before my 21st birthday. I posted on twitter my thoughts on releasing a beat tape, requesting at least 50 retweets for my tweet. Throughout the day it passed the peak and I got to work the next day.
I was floored by your work on fifth. It’s excellent. I’ve checked out your other releases; this one seems particularly introspective; in depth, just overall hella thorough. Talk about your progression as an artist. At 21, the fact that you have enough solid work for us to even evaluate a progression in the first place is pretty impressive.
Thank you! I’ve been in the lab this whole year. I’ve learned so much from working with artists, collaborating with other beatsmiths and listening to other people’s production and projects— especially from my homies B.Lewis and Insightful, with whom I’m in a group called Alora. They pump out beat tapes and beats like it’s nothing and that helped me a lot with keeping up and staying on top of the craft.
I’m a beatsmith as well, so I definitely nerd out when I hear dope tracks because as beat makers we tend to also be connoisseurs. So I have to ask about your gear and sequencing preferences: Are you using an SP? Any secrets or surprises? Now’s your chance to jaw drop and spoon-feed all of us on the production tip.
The gear that’s in the lab: MPC2500/1000, Microkorg, Roland Juno-G, Technics1200mk, MiniKP, sp-404 & midi weapons MPD32, LPK25 using Ableton and Reason, and for recording purposes I use Pro Tools. The secret to my production is just simply playing with it. Manipulate sound and make it music. I don’t read or play music, but I know what sounds good and I trust my judgment. Trusting and believing in your music is key. I like to switch off my methods of making beats. For “Rappers Jst Rap On It” I was in my hardware phase, using my MPC2500 with the Juno-G. I just learned from Knxwledge how to make beats on Ableton, so currently I’m back in my software phase. Knxwledge is a beast by the way, homie got tapes on tapes on tapes. lol.
What are some of your influences, if any?
These are my main influences right now: Dilla, Flying Lotus, B.Lewis, Insightful, Dibia$e, Knxwledge, Mndsgn, Mono/Poly, FourFive (Whoarei)
What can we expect for when you turn 22?
Hopefully by then I will be doing a lot more shows, and more beat tapes/albums/EPs will be released.
Writen by: Sev