Leo Ruff is a young sensation from London who emerged onto the scene in early 2021 with his club hit Tech House record ‘Get Down’. With the extensive support he has received from leading UK radios such as KISS FM & Sunrise FM, and support from some of biggest names in dance music such as Don Diablo & Tungevaag, Leo Ruff is a name to watch. Get Down peaked at number #13 on the Upfront UK Club Charts and he sold out his debut headline London show at Basing House last year. Since then Leo has been working hard on new material, with new cut Under The Covers out now. DMCWORLD dives in…
Leo Ruff - Under The Covers
Welcome to DMC Leo! How’s the year treated you so far?
Hey guys, it’s a pleasure to be on here! This year so far has been quite quiet actually which is refreshing, and the industry Christmas hibernation seems to have been extra lengthy. Gave me a bit of time to rest up from last year.
Being from London you’ve grown up in arguably the most diverse musical city on the planet. When did you first start immersing yourself in the scene?
Being a massive music head, I’ve been immersed scene for as long as I can remember, whether it was dnb and jungle raves or jazz jam sessions. At the time I didn’t realise these events were shaping my musical vision, I was just a young lad having fun with my mates, getting drunk, forgetting about the world.
What made you focus on electronic music for your own career?
I think it was the fact that with electronic music I could just open up my laptop and get stuck in. No need for extra gear or other bells and whistles. Literally just you, and your laptop. For a kid with big dreams, it doesn’t get much better than that. The other thing is that everything is possible with electronic music, the limit is your imagination. You can design all the sounds you’re using, create new sounds out of nothing, but yeah I mean I could go on and on but the sky’s the limit with electronic music.
Did you have any especially formative clubbing experiences early on?
Yeah definitely, the club that’s stuck with me the most is Heaven, it’s this massive club right underneath Charing Cross. The space itself is sick and the DJs there are absolute gods. They sit on this raised platform above the dancefloor and it was when I was watching them spin that I realised it was what I wanted to do. The space has had so many legendary parties in its time, you really can’t beat the history of the place. Hands down the best club in London.
You released your debut record last year – how long had you been producing before it was released?
I had been dabbling with production for a couple years beforehand but never really saw it as a viable career option as opposed to DJing until the lockdown hit, where it was essentially just me in front of my laptop for 12 hours a day. At that point I really got stuck in and started churning out tunes that I was really proud of, and I then kind of realised I could make pursue production alongside my DJing.
And now the follow up Under The Covers is here – what was the inspiration behind this one?
For this latest one I wanted a track that was at home both on a sweaty dancefloor at 5am, and also on the radio at 7am when you’re stumbling down the stairs for breakfast and it puts a little spring in your step.
The vocal is uncredited, but it’s such a major part of the record – can you let us in on who the singer is?
Yeah of course – she is actually credited just isn’t a feature vocalist; her name is Nova May, and it was an absolute pleasure to work with her on the record. As you say, her voice paired really well with the instrumental and I was really pleased that it came together the way it did. I actually envisioned who I could see doing the record whilst I was working on the instrumental as there’s nothing worse than having a sick instrumental that doesn’t pair well with a vocalist.
How hard is it to make yourself stand out as an artist? How do you think you can achieve this?
Well I think nowadays with 60,000 new tracks being released every day and music production being within the grasp of anyone with a laptop, it’s a really tough landscape in which to stand out. It’s never been both easier and harder to be musical artist, easier in the sense that anyone can do it, harder in the fact that it’s now a real challenge to get yourself noticed. I’d say the best way to stand out is to be authentic, being yourself is something that no one else can recreate, and at the end of the day to envelope yourself in your craft. You have to live and breathe music, from the minute you get up till you hit the hay, you have to 100% zoned in on your craft. When all’s said and done, with the competition there is, it’s the only way you’ll be able to cut through the noise.
What are your plans for 2022?
This year I want to cement myself and my music in the UK commercial dance space and in doing so to release quality stuff that holds its own against the top records in this arena doing the rounds, courtesy of Jax Jones, Joel Corry and Regard. I think it’s important for me to be able to demonstrate, both for myself and those around me, that I can make a musical career work for me as it’s such a tough space at the minute, especially with the record-low royalty pay-outs by streaming services to songwriters and artists.
Finally, what’s been the best record you’ve heard in 2022 so far?
Best record so far would have to go to ‘Let You Go’ on Diplo’s self-titled album that came out earlier this month. He collaborated with TSHA and Kareen Lomax on the record, both incredible trailblazing artists that I’ve been following for a while. It’s got this garage-y intro and it then launches into this soaring chorus with an incredible vocal – typical Diplo wizardry. Top stuff.