This week, Control Freq Radio is blastin’ your sub woofers with beats from Eastern Europe. We have a cluster cuss of styles from the Finnish superstar, Rico Tubbs. He is signed to such big name labels as Top Billin, Big Fish, Dim Mak, and of course, his own imprint Bass=Win! Find out how this Finnish rockstar DJ broke into the scene, what track broke his career, and how Rico stands out in the ever increasing populated world of the DJ. Listen in to hear some of Rico Tubbs’ biggest tunes and yet-to-be released bangers, and don’t forget to stay tuned after the interview to hear an electric, bassy set by Rico himself!
Synba Interviews Rico Tubbs
[CFR] Let’s start off right from the beginning. Where did you grow up?
[Rico] I always lived here, in Finland, in my home city, Tampere, which is the third biggest city here. It is actually quite small. All of Finland is only 5 million people. Basically, here, up north, cold and dark.
[CFR] Musically, what are your roots? When you were young, what was the first music that you got into?
[Rico] First music was probably heavy metal, most people. Most people here are like that. That’s what everybody listens to. Basically all the people here are metal-heads. Shortly after that I found hip hop. Those were the two styles that I was into, until I found the rave scene.
[CFR] Let’s talk about the rave scene here for a sec. It’s been getting bigger in North America. We’re seeing a lot of festivals that are doing really well. It’s pushing into the mainstream a little bit more. I know it’s always been popular in the UK. Are you seeing a general increase there? Is the popularity growing? What’s the scene like?
[Rico] It’s definitely growing, yeah. There was maybe a lot of time there; it was on such a high, maybe a bit 90′s or something. Then it went to being a bit marginal, a bit underground, and now it’s getting a boost. I think one reason why it’s getting such is a boost is because of the rising popularity in America. You get a lot of new producers and you bring your own sound to it, Lots of new stuff. That’s really got it rolling.
[CFR] The internet is kind of bringing everyone closer together, scenes pop up all over the world. The trends are going a bit faster now, with the accessibility of something hot being able to blow up faster with the internet. What do you think gives your music longevity that will outlast the trends?
[Rico] Good songs always stand time well. If you have a good track, you’ll be timeless. It just takes time, craft and patience to make the tunes. Then again, there’s quite a few classic stuff being done in, I don’t know, five minutes. Sometimes you just have to have that idea that you come up first with. That’s something else that makes a classic as well. There’s two ways to make your tunes stand time.
[CFR] What were some of your first songs that helped you break into the scene?
[Rico] The biggest track I think was ‘Gangsters’. It was kind of fidget, but it was kind of, I don’t know, wobbly rave thing with a hint of the bass music. It was a track that accidentally sounded fresh at the time. That’s definitely the biggest breakthrough track. And after that the EP on Cheap Thrills, with Hip Rave Anthem.
[CFR] You have several projects. The Bomfunk MC’s… Are you active with them still?
[Rico] That was a band I used to produce and be a scratch DJ for on the live gigs. That’s something that’s had its time. We haven’t officially broken up, but we haven’t been active in a long time. Occasionally I do produce some hip hop stuff as well. We’re all pretty much just ‘whatever happens’. It’s quite chaotic, the way I make music.
[CFR] What’s the main thing you’re working on right now? Bass = Win is your label. I’m sure that takes a lot of work.
[Rico] I think that’s what takes most of my time. Producing tracks and remixes for Bass = Win, looking for newartists and recently starting to make some collaborations as well. It’s fun to work on the label. I think that’s been the main thing for the last year or so.
[CFR] A little bit back into your productions. What was the first genre that you were producing? Garage? Is that where you kind of started?
[Rico] The very first stuff I think was… When I finally came up with proper tracks, I think it was hip hop stuff. I think that’s why I still use a lot of my production based on samples. Finding samples and collecting vinyl. It’s why I have a little bit of a different approach to making electronic music as well. It comes from the hip hop stuff. From there I quite quickly moved and tried to do some break beat, garage kind of stuff.
[CFR] Do you see garage making a comeback?
[Rico] Definitely, there’s a whole future garage scene in the UK. In the UK base, or whatever you call it. A lot of producers in the states too are coming up with that sound. I think all influences are being recycled, and garage is one of them, which I find great of course. I just made a kind of garage track for Kenji Kinetic. So ya, I am working on those beats too.
[CFR] So you’re super eclectic, you’ve been producing in so many different genres for a long time now. The latest one we have noticed is you producing moombahton. What are your thoughts on this genre as its one of the younger ones and you’ve just started producing it.
[Rico] I think it is just a fun twist, taking the tempo down or if you consider dubstep 70 bpm taking the tempo up. It is bringing more variety and more variety to a dj set as well. I find it more fun to dj if you can move between different tempos and the more you can the better. I think that moombah is a welcome add-on to electronic music. I always enjoy working on new stuff and trying to see if I can do it and I kind of like working in the 110 tempo range.
[CFR] Are we hearing that wide range in your live sets?
[Rico] Its very eclectic, I play tempos that range from 70 up to drumstep and drum and bass and everything in between. I try to play my sets as diverse as I can. I try to make some kind of story and keep it interesting.
[CFR] A little bit about the rave culture, do you know the term P.L.U.R.? Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. What is your take on the scene in relation to that?
[Rico] I think now it is quite open. It used to be open in the beginning but then it got diversified and people started to like just one type of sound and were dissing the other types of music. But now I think there is this new openness to it. People are quite open to different sounds and go to different parties and raves and being cool, not ìkeeping it realî in the bad sense of the term. I think now it is quite open and ya everyone is enjoying the scene. There is some kind of unity to it.
[CFR] Like you said, youíre seeing the respect for the other genres. Its very open and its becoming more eclectic.
[Rico] Ya, the greatest thing now in electronic music is that you can now play whatever and people are open to it. I used to hate everything with a house beat and if I heard that beat I would think ìthis is crapî and this was quite common back then sayÖ in the late 90ís. That you were only into one scene and now you donít have that. I think that is healthy that you can like whatever you feel like
[CFR] So, whatcha working on these days? What’s next for you?
[Rico] The next big thing is there is a couple big moombah songs coming out on Dim Mak this summer. There is so much stuff. There is more 105/110 bpm coming out on Top Billin, which is more club/hip-hop kinda sound.
[CFR] Tell me a little more about Dim Mak. What’s going on there?
[Rico] I was warming up for Aoki when he was playing Helsinki. After emailing and some time, I sent him this one moombahton tune he signed it right away. He asked me to do some remix stuff as well so I did a remix as well. So thatís kinda how that went. There will probably be a few more remixes. Lets see what happens.
[CFR] So what do you do with your spare time, if you have much spare time at all?
[Rico] Well the city I live in is basically between two lakes and a two forests so in my spare time I like to swim a lot and cross country skiing. I find it cool to balance all the noise with a bit of nature. So ya that’s mainly what I do.
1.Rico Tubbs & Will Power – Rhythm of the Dub
2.Daft Punk – Prime Time of Your Life (Rico Tubbs & Will Power Remix)
3.Rico Tubbs – Gangsters (Original Mix)
4.Rico Tubbs – Knuckle Sandwich VIP
5.Hirshee – So Good (Rico Tubbs Remix)
6.Pointer Sisters – Dare (Rico Tubbs Remix)
7.Boltan – Nine tTo Five (Rico Tubbs Remix)
8.Rico Tubbs – Bass For Your Face
9.Pyramid Juke – Maybe (Ampr & Rico Tubbs Remix)
10.Rico Tubbs – Freddy Krueger (Slagor Remix)
1.Nick Thayer : Facepalm
2.Feed Me vs. DMX – One click party ( Rico Tubbs Mash Up )
3.Varien : Night in Bangalore (Dirt monkey remix)
4.Zeds Dead vs.Killabits – Bassmentality (Neon Steve Rub-adub)
5.Roby howler : Do It ( Udachi remix)
6.Aural Trash : TTFMU
7.Rico Tubbs : We Run This (Rektchordz remix)
8.Kairo Kingdom : Das Knarz
9.2-Edit : Datsun Tropicalia ( Torro Torro Remix)
9.AC Slater : Sidewinder
10.NAPT & Peo De Pitte : Gonna Be Mine
11.Daft Punk : Harder ( Specimen A & James Dley Refix)
12.Skism : Like This
13.Paper Diamond : Can We Go Up
14.Dan Sena : Song Of Siren (Dirtyphonics remix)
15.James Egbert : Milky Way Wars
16.Rico Tubbs : What You Know About Bass (Timeline Remix)