#35 - The Fear Ratio
Following the sun kissed house sounds of DJ Undo’s Factor City podcast we now take a turn to the dark side as The Fear Ratio (AKA James Ruskin & Mark Broom) deliver a mix of twisted electronic genius. Featuring the likes of Squarepusher, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Shed, Balil, Robert Hood, Gang Starr, Lorn, Gescom, The Bug, Richard Divine and more the duo burn circuitry with a taster of their forthcoming sets at this weekend’s Players Club Arena during the Solar Festival. On Sunday 5th August in Roermond in the south of Holland, James Ruskin and Mark Broom will be joined by Ben Sims, Dirt Crew’s Break 3000, Mr O from the Detroit Grand Pubahs, Bulletdodge’s Gareth Whitehead and My Evil Twiin, Mingus and a headlining A/V live show from Robert Hood for an unmissable Players Club party.
Broom and Ruskin have been techno friends for many years now but only recently did they make the move to start producing together. The first results of these sessions gave us three 12” releases over the last 12 months; ‘No Time Soon’, ‘Erotic Misery’ and ‘Night Nurse.’
After this series of pure club tracks the duo felt the need to bring another name to the table to focus on the more home listening / electronica sound they were moulding and The Fear Ratio was born. With this new project the pair have left much of the dancefloor behind as they explore the other side of the techno coin.
James Ruskin is one of the leading lights in UK techno. With a musical history that can be traced back to mid-80s electro and hip-hop, Ruskin brings a long background and deep knowledge of underground electronic music to his productions and DJing. Having released four solo albums – ‘Further Design’, ‘Point 2’, ‘Into Submission’ and ‘The Dash’ on his own Blueprint Records and Berlin’s Tresor he continues to DJ all over the world whilst producing solo material or as O/V/R, together with Regis aka Karl O’Connor and now as The Fear Ratio with Mark Broom.
Since the start of 90s, former East Londoner now Norfolk based Mark Broom has always been a name that is synonymous with the UK electronic music scene. A truly prolific artist, he has a myriad of production credits to his name having worked with world renowned labels such as Mo-Wax, Warp, R&S, Soma, Ifach (with Baby Ford) Bpitch Control and more recently 2020 Vision. The release of the classic ‘Angie is a Shoplifter’ LP in 1996 cemented his reputation as a leader in the scene and in 2001, a further notable success was scored with the writing of Rue East’s ‘Indoor Culture’ album alongside Pure Plastic label co-founder, Dave Hill. An album that was to spawn the massive techno classic ‘Birmingham’.
Mark’s services as a DJ and re-mixer have also been in high demand over the past two decades having played around the globe at some of the worlds best clubs: from Fuse to Fabric, to La Real and Florida 135. Notably last year also saw the release of his acclaimed album ‘Acid House’ on Saved. Mark now focuses his time between his new Beardman imprint and his new electronic collaborations with James Ruskin.
As The Fear Ratio, Broom and Ruskin delve into the hinterland of contemporary music. A space where cold atmospheres meet lush melody and tough, yet clipped pulsating beats.
Tracklist EPM Podcast 35 – The Fear Ratio
Beastie Respond - Syncopy (Blawan Mix) - Teal Recordings
Shed - Day After - 50 Weapons
The Fear Ratio - Fedec - Blueprint
Lorn - Ghosst ( Shed Remix ) - Ninja Tune
Oris Jay - Said The Spider ( Surgeon Mix )
Aphex Twin - Isoprophlex
Lakker - Ed - Blueprint
Robert Hood - Untitled ( Broom Edit ) - M Plant
Gescom - Northwest Water - Skam
Lakker - Kleure - Free Download
Gang Starr - Above The Clouds
Autechre - LCC - Warp
Balil - Glass Duel
Aphex Twin - Ziggomatic -Warp
The Fear Ratio - Bronik - Blueprint
Autechre - 61.e.cr - Warp
The Bug - Skeng ( Autechre Dub ) Ninja Tune
The Fear Ratio - Antiarc - Blueprint
Aphex Twin - Taking Control - Warp
Jega - Norton Midgate - Skam
Heuristic Audio - Mass
Analord - Cilonen
Richard Divine - Varseop - DU016
Autechre - Drane2 – Warp
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Q&A with James Ruskin & Mark Broom (The Fear Ratio)
1. Please give us a quick run through the mix. Why did you choose these particular tracks?
The idea of the mix was to delve a bit deeper into Electronic music as this is how we approach ‘The Fear Ratio’ project.
2. At what point did the Fear Ratio become a ‘group project’ as opposed to two friends just making a few tracks in the studio? Did you have a plan from the very beginning?
After we had released the first couple of 12’s together we decided to look into the idea of recording an album and as soon as the decision was made there was and immediate plan. We both agreed very early on that there shouldn’t be any constraints on what we wrote, and that this project should be about exploring what we are about, and creating something that translates on different levels and in different environments.
3. What plans do you have for The Fear Ratio over the next year? Will you be doing any live shows?
We are looking into putting a live show together at the moment but with what we have planned it’s going to take a while to get it all together. As far as releases go we have a record coming out on a limited Skam series called Kasm that is due around September, and we are always in the process of outlining new ideas.
4. As you are both known for your DJing and production work individually what is the biggest thrill? Playing a great set or making a new track?
Making a new track that works in a great set! They both have different feelings. When your producing a track it's just you alone in a small room then if your lucky you get to try out that idea on a larger scale in the club environment and see if it really is a great track! At the same time playing a great set in a club has different emotions you get to take the crowd on a journey adding twists and turns along the way hopefully ending up with something the crowd enjoy and remember.
5. Obviously you both had a strong music connection for some time but since you started working together in a more concentrated way did you find other connections? Eg: films, books, art etc or did you in fact find that you had very different tastes outside of music?
6. Mark, you have a huge discography under many aliases and guises for many different labels. Do you ever wish you had just recorded under one name for one label or do you prefer the variation of all the different labels and releases?
Variety is the spice of life for me and it has worked out well, each label has it's different fan bases so it's interesting seeing how the music you present on each label gets received, it's also nice when a label puts some faith in you and gives you more than just the one EP as I found working with Saved & 2020 Vision. Working with James on Blueprint has been very interesting starting out with the club styled music under our own names then slowly morphing into The Fear Ratio project which has spawned into something very exciting for the both of us.
7. James, your Blueprint night at Cable in conjunction with We Fear Silence has developed into one of the top techno events in London. What for you was the best night so far and what do you have planned for future events?
I really can’t pick a favourite night as they have all been special. Our next event is on the 25th of August, with Jeff Mills, following that we have Robert Hood joining us on the 17th of November then for next year we are looking at going bi-monthly.
8. What will you do when you hang up your headphones?
Broom: That's a long way off for now so I don't really want to think about it but if i have to it will involve me being Somewhere hot near the sea cooking fresh food & drinking the finest wines known to man!
Ruskin: After nearly twenty years it’s hard to think beyond what we are doing. As long as I still have something to say, I’ll carry on.
9. You are both marooned on a desert island. Who cracks first?
Day one. Ruskin cracks….eats Broom.
10. Please give us your top 10 all-time favourite UK electronic tracks:
This is impossible but here are a few that spring to mind
Gescom - Key Nell 4
Balil - Nort Route
Autechre - Chichli
Reload - Le Soliel Et La Mer
Aphex Twin - Tha
Baby Ford - Fordtrax
Insync - Storm
The Black Dog - 3/4 Heart
Global Communication - 14 31 (Ob-Selon Mi Nos)
Jega - Phlax