Ruf Dug romps the Furtive 50, 2023

The votes have been counted, the adjudicators have adjudicated and the king has abdicated (subject to confirmation). The number one slot on this year’s Furtive 50 goes to the Mancunian scourge of worldwide discos, Ruf Dug, aided by the delightful Private Joy, with their wistful paean to streetsoul, ‘Don’t Give Up’. We caught up with the Dugster, tending to his ferrets on the allotment, and asked him a few questions. Answers (and the full rundown of the Furtive 50) below. 

So tell me about the genesis of Don’t Give In? How did you meet Private Joy and how did the tune come about?
I genuinely can’t remember making the beat. To me the Rhodes sounds like ‘Summer Madness’ and the piano solo is a cross between ‘Promenade Sentimentale’ from the Diva soundtrack and Moby. I sent an instrumental demo to Gerd Janson with a bunch of other tracks and this was the one he was really crazy for, but I couldn’t quite see it myself. It was his mega A&R skills that led to the vocal, he texted me one day saying, “Do you know anyone who can sing on it?” Private Joy is Pops from Lovescene who I’d previously collaborated with on ‘Make This Right’. This track seemed tailor made for her genius.

How do you make music, is there a set process? Do you fiddle about with machines until something emerges or is it a bit more focussed than that? 
Yeah it’s just constant fiddling and hoping that what I’m doing manages to keep my attention held long enough to finish the fucker. If I can get to 80% done without being totally bored of the tune I can usually finish it then. I’m definitely not one of these producers who has their workflow nailed and bangs out an album a week.

When you’re making tracks/songs in the studio what are you visualising; how other people will hear them playing in a club, playing on the radio? Or what?
I don’t know if I visualise much when I’m actually making the tracks… Defo more moods and feelings rather than images and even then I think the feelings are kind of abstract: dark/light, up/down…

How did you get into dance music in the first place? 
Xmas 1984, got my first ever Walkman and a Now That’s What I Call Music tape, put it on and heard Giorgio Moroder & Phil Oakey’s ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ and that synth line at the start totally reprogrammed my brain and things have never been the same since.

Did you always want to be a DJ/producer or was it a happy accident? 
About a similar time we were on holiday in Ibiza, I would have been about 10, and saw a mobile DJ in a bar somewhere, playing all the hits. It was the first time I’d ever seen two decks, slip-cueing, headphone monitoring etc and I was hooked.

What’s your most memorable gig and why was it so good? 
My first ever gig was at an outdoor squat party in Sydney down the end of the runways of Sydney airport. The sun was rising, I was playing with a broken hand and a bunch of ravers were mooning planes as they were coming into land.

Which is more fun: DJing or producing? And why?
DJing. I’m a pretty decent producer but I’m a fucking amazing DJ and I love it.

If you had to pick one record you’ve produced that best represents your sound, which one would it be? 
I’m very fond of ‘Don’t Give In’ and you’re only as good as your last tune right? This is the one for me.

Have you ever seen a DJ playing who changed the way you approached the job?
Derrick May, Theo Parrish, Simon Caldwell, DJ Gemma… all DJs I saw in Sydney when I was first starting out that informed me on a million different levels.

What are your plans for 2023? 
Working on my audiophile system more and doing more parties, more broadcasting and more tunes. Many thanks to all who enjoyed ‘Don’t Give In’ enough to vote for it! DjHistory has been one of my biggest teachers over the years so to receive this honour is genuinely meaningful to me. I’m buzzing a LOT!

FURTIVE 50, 2022

Furtive 50, 2022
  1. RUF DUG X PRIVATE JOY – Don’t Give In
  2. ALEX KASSIAN – Strings Of Eden
  3. PINKY PERZELLE – No Games (VS&THOG Mix)
  4. RHEINZAND – Facciamo L’Amore
  5. LADY BLACKBIRD – Lost & Looking (Cosmodelica Remix)
  6. ETERNAL LOVE – Altar EP
  7. CONFIDENCE MAN – Holiday (Erol Alkan Rework)
  9. STR4TA – When You Call Me
  10. LANOWA – My Fantasy EP
  11. SAY SHE SHE – Forget Me Not 
  12. EDDIE CHACON – Holy Hell
  13. MAGREHBAN FT. OMAR – Waiting
  14. NAT HOME – Witching Hour
  15. COYOTE – Kate’s Bush
  16. GENIUS OF TIME – Sunswell EP
  17. CRUISIC – Pacific 707
  18. CHRONIXX – Never Give Up
  19. LEA LISA – Love To The End
  20. DANNY TENAGLIA – The Brooklyn Gypsy
  21. CHERRIE BEA – Jafar’s 21st
  22. BOLIS PUPUL – Neon Buddha/Rendez-Voodoo
  23. EMMA-JANE THACKRAY – Venus (BSO Remix)
  24. TORNADO WALLACE – Dream Corner EP
  25. TIGERBALM – Kete (Mang Dynasty Remix)
  26. THE ZENMENN & JOHN MOODS – Out Of My Mind
  27. JUSTIN DEIGHTON, PETE HERBERT, LEO ZERO – Sentiments Of Soho Theatre
  28. ATHLETES OF GOD FT. LADY BLACKBIRD – Don’t Wanna Be Normal
  29. JAMES ALEXANDER BRIGHT – Wheels Keep Turning
  30. DJ LEINAD – Souvenirs (Deep Dean Remix)
  31. CANTOMA FT. QUIN LAMONT LUKE – Alive (Conrad’s Vacant Lot Remix)
  32. HIDDEN SPHERES – You Are Not Your Body
  33. DAVID HOLMES FT. RAVEN VIOLET – It’s Over If We run Out Of Love
  34. OMAR S – Can’t Explain
  35. ALEX BOMAN FT. BELLA BOO – Nowhere Good
  36. CAPINERA – Suonno
  37. MAU P – Drugs From Amsterdam
  38. BSS – De Regenboog
  39. GUINU – Palago (Jose Marquez Remix)
  40. HAAI & JON HOPKINS – Baby, We’re Ascending
  42. JACK J – Only You Know Why
  45. PIG&DAN – Make You Go Higher (David Morales Stereo Mix)
  46. CARLOS NIÑO & FRIENDS – Actually
  47. RCHARD SEN – My Definition Of Funk
  48. MAXINE SCOTT – Erykah U Bad (North Street West Vocal)
  50. CURSE OF LONO – Think I’m Alright Now