FMF: So, Rumpus, 2019 was a huge year for you. I was blessed enough to catch two of your sets this year at Snowbombing and Shambhala. What was the most transformational set for you this year?
Rumpus: It would have definitely been my debut set at Shambhala Music Festival. Since the first time, I attended Shamb my dream was to play in the Fractal Forest. A lot of the tunes that I played I had been saving specifically for that as I really wanted to carve out my sound so everyone would know what kinda vibe to expect from me going forward. I know a lot of people hadn’t seen me perform live yet so I made sure that my set fully represented where my music was at and what my live show was all about. It was super rad to be up there performing and turn around to see all my friends behind me having fun and supporting me. I also had my good friend Def3 host the set for me, whose been a good homie of mine since we were like 15 years old. He was actually the one who got me to come to Shamb for the first time like 7 years ago. Over the years we always joked about how when I play at Shambhala someday that he would be up there with me hosting my set. Same with my friend Jessie from Cosmic Co-Motion, we grew up in the same hometown. Having him on the mic (Def3) and her performing on stage with me was a really epic moment.
The vibe you give off during your live sets is unparalleled, the live drumming just brings that extra element that keeps the dancefloor rocking. How did you master your flow from mixing to drumming?
Hey, thanks! But I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered anything yet! Haha. Most all of the tunes I play are my own edits I’ve made so I have time to get back and forth from my drums to the CDJs in time to mix out. But honestly, sometimes when I’m up there it feels like I’m just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. I get a weird satisfaction from the chaos and like to be a little stressed out during my sets, just barely keeping the wheels on the bus the whole time and if I can make it to the finish line without too many speed bumps… I’m stoked! I’ve been drumming since I was 12 years old, so I’m pretty comfortable winging it, you’ll never hear me play the exact same thing twice because generally, I’m making a lot of it up on the spot. I’m not using loops and nothing is quantized to the beat. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s live, and you’ll hear me make mistakes, and I’m okay with that! I think that approach to performing live comes mostly from my Punk Rock background growing up where basically we just rocked out and didn’t give a fuck as long as everyone was having fun.
House and Punk Rock are quite opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to the music industry. Being from Punk Rock roots, what made you make the switch to Electronic music?
Well, I always kind of enjoyed Electronic music on the side even though Punk was my main thing. I remember we would be touring in the van and blasting Punk albums all the time, but I often have my headphones on and be listening to Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, etc. After our band broke up I took a break from music for a while and spent a lot of time trying to figure out if and how I was going to continue doing the music stuff. I really loved it more than anything but it can also be really hard being in a band if everyone isn’t on the same page with goals, vision, and drive. During my break, I started getting a lot more into the electronic stuff and I remember the album that really pulled me in was when DeadMau5 released “4X4=12,” I’d listen to that on repeat over and over all the time and that’s when I felt that I really shifted gears. Also, this was around the time that Skrillex was starting to pop off and when I saw a photo of him I remembered him from the Punk rock days. Our bands both played on Vans Warped Tour back in the day and I’d gone to watch his band From First to Last multiple times. So seeing his transformation from Punk Rock to Electronic music was super inspiring. Also having a solo act where I didn’t have to rely on other people anymore and I was able to have 100% creative control was really appealing to me. So that’s when I made the shift and basically just never turned back!
Have you brought those Punk elements to your music now?
I would for sure say it’s influenced my live show a lot. The intensity level of how I play my drums is probably not necessary and the guys at the music store think I’m super annoying ‘cause I’m always having to bring my drum pad in for warranty since I break it a lot from hitting it too hard. Haha. Back when I used to play in punk bands I would break 3-4 sticks per show smashing on my drums. I just love playing music so much and when I get in the zone I get hella stoked (maybe too stoked???) and I wanna hit my drums as hard as I can so the crowd can feel the energy. I guess that style has trickled over in playing House music now, it’s probably not necessary, but it’s fun as hell! Rock N’ Roll baby!
You’ve been busy with some collabs this past year with artists such as Volac, Neon Steve and Smalltown DJs. Who would be your dream collab for 2020?
That’s a tough one! There are so many epic producers out there right now. I think it would be cool to do a collab with The Sponges. I love how they mix the funky vibe with the Bass House sound. Also, I really love the stuff Cazztek has been doing lately plus he’s a drummer too so it would be cool to make a track with him that we could both play together live. Neon Steve is a super good homie but also one of my favourite producers so I’d be stoked to do another tune with him again soon (spoiler alert: this is already happening.) It’s okay to fanboy on your friends, right?
Recently, you released a song on Insomniac records with Volac. Tell me about how that collab came to be?
Well, originally Neon Steve and I wrote that song back in the fall of 2018. We didn’t actually know Volac at all at the time but we sent it to them to see if they wanted to play it in their set at EDC in Vegas. They hit us back right away and asked if we’d be down to collab on the tune. Steve and I are both big Volac fans so we were stoked to have them on board for it. Our original version was a little darker vibe with a hip hop style vocal. The Volac boys found Rhiannon Rose and got her vocals on the tune, this gave it a bit more of an upbeat dancey vibe to the song. We got it finished up right before Shamb (where we finally all met each other in person) and played it Sunday night in the Forest for the first time all together
What other Record labels have you released on and where can we expect to see your new music this year?
Besides Insomniac I’ve also released a bunch on Westwood Recordings as well as a tune on Sweat it Out’s ‘Club Sweat’ label. I can’t say too much yet on what’s happening for 2020 but what I will say is you can expect a lot of music coming from me!
2019 was an incredible year for you, from being awarded Saskatchewan 2019 Electronic Artists of the Year to DJ Mag North America’s “12 Emerging Acts to hear this September,” what can we expect from you in 2020?
Mostly just touring my ass off and putting out a lot of new music. I currently have a full tour schedule all the way until May and then festival season starts so I can’t wait for that! I’m planning on doing more stuff in the US this year as well starting with a run of shows in California at the end of this month and then some dates in Hawaii after that. In April I have a few shows In Nicaragua as well as a week-long residency at Momentom Collective where I’ll be teaching some workshops on music production. I didn’t get as much music out last year as I wanted to so this year I’m planning to crank out a lot more. I’ve been in the studio with some super dope artists the last while working on some collabs and I already have and a handful of new tunes cued up and ready to roll with a lot more coming down the pipe for this year.
Catch Rumpus this winter in a town near you! Click the image below for more info!
*Featured Image via Silviu | Alexandra*