Alexander Al Ross, a funny guy with a rave queen side just played a set of banging dubs alongside his friends Uber, Sudden Death, and Yakz in Huntington Beach, CA and we caught up with him after to get the low down on the old/new hype called Riddim.
If you haven’t heard the newest trigger word in the electronic music scene, it may be time to get out and get some sunlight. Al Ross has been pushing this underground wave of bass that gets mosh pits going and makes stank faces come out for some time now. With releases on respected dubstep labels across the board from Dubstar Records up to Never Say Die Black Label, Al has been shoving his love of filthy, grimey, dirty, nasty, 2 stepping beats in the faces of headbangers across the globe. It seems he will continue to do so with the momentum he’s creating now as he’s booked to play Animalz in Paris which is the capitol of underground bass across the Atlantic Ocean.
TrapStyle: Let’s start off with a little background. What got you into music and the dubstep scene in general.
Al Ross: Well, what got me into music and dubstep, basically what I’m doing right now, it all started with The Prodigy. A lot of the things that I credit musically, I credit to my mom. My mother is like a super crazy rocker chick. She used to run with Guns N Roses back in the day and was always open to any kind of music. When I was really young she would bring me home CDs. There were three that I’ll always remember that she brought me home in the beginning and they were: The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land”, Static X’s first one, Wisconsin Death Trip, and the single from Zombienation “Kernkraft 400”. Basically those three CDs are what got me into this whole thing. I was about like 11,12 years old. I had no idea what a producer was or any of that kind of stuff. Just getting in those CDs are really what kickstarted it.
TrapStyle: So in terms of like what you specifically do, you’re very well known in the Riddim world. You play a mix of both riddim and heavy dubstep in general with some great throwbacks here and there. I’ve heard you play out alternative tracks and metal. What do you think of the whole Riddim scene right now and where it’s headed.
Al Ross: Well first off of where it’s headed; I love where it’s headed now. To me riddim is a testament and for lack of a better word, a blessing to the old style of dubstep. I’d say for me Riddim is people getting back into the simplicity of it. My favorites were always Skream, Benga, Digital Mystikz, Coki of course, Jakes. Those kinds of guys were pushing this sound that had that aggressive hit, you know like that umph, but it was super minimal. We’ve all seen in the Dubstep world that Skrillexy kind of style, so technical and goes all over the place. Which I’m like not saying isn’t good. I love that kind of stuff. But what Riddim did was give that Dubstep flavor back.
TrapStyle: So it brought the fun back to it maybe? The bounce and some swing back?
Al Ross: Yeah definitely. For me when Riddem really started taking hold, I felt it wasn’t about trying to do the most you know. It wasn’t trying to be the best at sound design or the most technical answer. It was people just doing whatever. Being super Punk Rock about it and like just writing a song, laying it out, just doing them and not trying to abide to a standard history.
TrapStyle: It’s very hesh, like in the skateboard world. The more gnarly and less perfect or sketchy the kind of better it is.
Al Ross: Yeah totally.
TrapStyle: Who are some people you think need to be looked out for coming from the Riddim scene?
Al Ross: The artists that I’d say to look out for right now, number one is this guy named Warned. He’s amazing. He has a really good approach to it and totally has that real Riddim style, minimalist approach you know, super great flow. There’s him and this guy named Psycho. He is mindblowing. He barely has any followers right now but he’s one of my favorites. Then I’d say the last one on the list would have to be fuck, well he hasn’t been doing as much lately but this guy named Akino. He’s so sick. He’s in my opinion one of the few that do real Riddim. Tonight I played a lot of his tracks but he is unreal.
TrapStyle: So here’s a more serious question. Marshmello, Skrillex, Tiesto. You gotta to fuck one, kill one, marry one.
Al Ross: You said fuck one, kill one, marry one?
TrapStyle: Lol yeah, fuck one, kill one and marry one.
Al Ross: Fuck Skrillex. We can get down any day. I’ve always loved that guy and always looked up to him. I swear. I haven’t met him yet but if I did I’d probably have an insanely hard time trying not to fanboy.
TrapStyle: Dude, he practically built the dubstep scene for us from the ground up in America.
Al Ross: Yeah he really took it to that next level. So yeah I’d fuck Skrillex, marry Tiesto, and unfortunately I’d pull a Titanic and let Marshmello go.
TrapStyle: I don’t want to take up to much more of your time, you just killed your set but last question. If you had to describe the Riddim, and I’m going to say “The Riddim”, in three words, what would those three words be.
Al Ross: I don’t know if this is two words. I’m a little illiterate I feel like but: “be your self”. Is yourself one word?
TrapStyle: Yes lol it s.
Al Ross: It is?
TrapStyle: Yes. How about “Just Be Yourself”?
Al Ross: Just be yourself. Let’s go with that. I’d say just be yourself because it’s Riddim is a total fuck you to every standard in the EDM world. In my opinion there’s a lot of these guys that they don’t really know too much at all about the mixdowns standard quote unquote. For me personally I struggle with mixdowns and I’ve never tried abide to that standard. I’ve just kind of done my own thing. Like that whole thing just being yourself, that’s what I took from it. Especially hearing people like Aweminus, that guy is one of the most unique of all of them. He’s super complex, super talented but he has this total fuck you style of mastering and mixing down. It sounds good but it has this like punk rock crunch, you know.
TrapStyle: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.
Al Ross: Right, exactly. I feel like that is just being yourself.
TrapStyle: Hell yeah well thanks for your time man, I look forward to seeing you again. Shwa!