Tape Player: In Conversation with Alex Ruder

In our current era of seemingly infinite internet choice, the role of curator is more important than ever. In this vein, through refusing algorithms and instead opting for subjectivity and trusted personal taste, independent radio has maintained its influence as an invaluable resource. With internet stations like NTS, Radar and Balamii in London acquiring global followings in recent years, the FM dial KEXP station in Seattle can claim its status as an originator of the curated radio experience, first coming on-air in its current iteration in 2001.

One of the station’s veteran DJs is Alex Ruder. Holding down the overnight slot of 1am-6am every Saturday night for eight years straight, he has soundtracked many an after-hours party, late night dalliance, or insomniac routine with his wide-ranging mix of dark electronica, R&B jams and hip-hop beats. Since 2012 he has expanded these curatorial efforts to the off-air realm with the founding of his label Hush Hush. Operating with an internationalist, DIY ethos, the label has been responsible for releases covering everything from jazzy house to ambient electronica and synth-pop – with many available on cassette as well as digitally.

Their latest release, Fountains, is a quietly melodic collaborative effort from Manchester’s Two Tail and Denver-based duo Quiett. A perfect embodiment of Hush Hush and Ruder’s ethos of putting the music first, Fountains is a satisfyingly well-crafted collection of danceable rhythms and headphone-ready tunes. Ahead of its release later this month, we spoke to Alex about his cassette obsessions, his approach to selection, and establishing a reputation that carries beyond the individual work.

Read the rest of the interview on Hyponik.

[This piece was published on 20/07/17]