Raising a Ruckus

Dan Haug’s “Take Me To A Disco” Poised to Make You Sweat

By Tim Anderl

In February, Dayton City Paper previewed local bands and artists to watch in 2012.  One such artist was Kettering-based beatsmith Dan Haug, aka Ruckus Roboticus, who is toiling in his home studio finishing a full-length record, Phantom Of The Disco, for release in 2012 or 2013.

For those not in the know, Ruckus concocts a fusion of hip-hop, electronic music and funk that has him in league with heavies like Kid Koala and Cut Chemist.  However, for his upcoming single, “Take Me To A Disco,” Ruckus veers left of center, producing a full-blown electronic dance music banger, sure to make even the most discerning DJs and dance music aficionados sweat.

We recently caught up with Haug prior to the mid release of the single and its companion video.  Here’s what he had to say about both …

Are you a full-time musician?

Sort of.  I do a lot of part-time things basically.  I work part-time at the Centerville library at their circulation desk.  I also do a lot of DJing for hire where it really isn’t artistic at all.  Weddings.  Lately I’ve been doing in-store fashion shows for Macy’s.  They’ll do events throughout the Midwest and will need a DJ and somehow I’ve gotten connected with them. [Dan Haug]

So you’re the go-to guy for that stuff?

Yeah.  Occasionally I’ll do music for hire.  Those are few and far between, but occasionally I’ll get to do that.  [DH]

Is there a projected drop date for the new album?

I was hoping to be finished by the beginning of 2011, so I’m a little behind schedule.  And at this rate I feel like it will be finished sometime this year.  But, the way that the music industry works, the powers that be will want me to set a release date four months in advance of when I’m finished.  So it could be next April for all I know.  If I finish it in November of this year, we’re looking at 2013. [DH]

So the single is finished and you’re just going to roll with that while you’re finishing the rest of the record then?

Exactly.  I found that the average Joe doesn’t really get the difference between the single and the album.  I guess I’m in my own little DJ world where that is common.  I’ve been trying to stress that it is just one song and it is to tie people over while I finish the album. [DH]

I read that your inspiration for “Take Me To A Disco” came from an anti-disco track and that you flipped the script and turned it into this great disco song …

That is exactly it.  I don’t think I should name the original song, I guess for legal reasons, but there is a famous anti-disco song that I heard … actually everyone has heard the song … but at the time when I heard it on the radio I thought “This is such a bad song.”  But there is a line in it and I thought that if I could take that one line, I could make it all about disco and how good disco is.  That is my nature, to reappropriate things, especially with a sense of humor.  I just thought that was a genius idea.  In the end it didn’t turn out too disco-y.  It has a disco beat, but it is a little heavier.  It is more electronic and heavy, and a little more rambunctious than disco. [DH]

So, who did you make the video “Take Me To A Disco” with and where did the concept come from?

I worked at a company called Seven/Seventy-Nine out of Cincinnati.  We’re kind of in the same boat.  We do a lot of work for hire, but we’d rather be doing art, which is our labor of love.  So it was a perfect match.  They were happy to work with my shoestring budget and also they wanted to do something kind of outrageous.  So I came to them with an idea and that blossomed into something entirely different.  We ended up with something that barely resembles our original plan. [DH]

The video for “Take Me To A Disco” goes public on April 17?

The 18th actually.  That is ten days before the single is available, which is available on the 27th.  I’m trying to keep the buzz going.  There will also be a Facebook listening party.  It is a way of keeping in touch with people who are interested in it.  I haven’t figured it all out yet, but it will be a virtual party.  That will take place between the video and the single drops. [DH]

Do you feel like the growing visibility of artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex has raised the visibility of dance music in popular culture in a way you feel you might be able to benefit from?

I think so.  For some reason the phrase “trickle down” popped into my head.  I do feel like those artists have reached a new level of popularity and that electronic dance music has benefited from that.  In theory, that could benefit all of the artists and maybe trickle down to me.  We’ll see. [DH]

What would it take to make you really feel like you’d made it as an artist?

I wrestle with that a lot.  I tell myself just making music is the success, or not having to have a full-time job would be the success.  If you let other people define success for you it is just going to mess with your head.  It would be nice to make a good living from making art, and it would be nice to play a tour.  Right now I just think that success is being able to create what I want to create. [DH]

(For more information about Ruckus Roboticus, upcoming shows, release information and much more visit Haug’s website at: www.ruckusroboticus.com.)

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com

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