Rusko returns to S.F. with a ‘!’

COURTESY JESSE DEFLORIODJ Rusko

U.K.-born dubstep icon DJ Rusko has gone fully native touring North America. On the phone from Houston, before a recent show, pistol reports crackle in the background.

“Yeeaaaah!” screams the Leeds-born, Los Angeles-based Chris Mercer.

A six-year-resident of the U.S., Mercer says he always wanted to hang out with some friends in Houston and shoot pistols and rifles on their 50-acre ranch: “I think I'm well past the point of ever moving back to England.”

The producer-musician is in really high spirits on this tour. Newly single after a divorce, he's got a new home studio in Los Angeles and a relatively light touring schedule. He also has rediscovered the experimental side to his music-making, releasing a duo of wildly diverse EPs titled “!” volume 1 and 2.

In the past 10 years, Rusko has blazed his name across the globe as part of the white-hot dubstep movement, but he's also a university-caliber musician who wants to spread his wings.

Appearing on Diplo's dubstep compilation “Blow Your Head,” Rusko's career has reached such dizzying heights, he can afford to push the boundaries, he says. For “!,” he deleted tracks that sounded too genre-specific or dancefloor-ready.

“I've done that to death. I'm really a musician at the end of the day,” he says.

Rusko is playing three shows per week to close out 2014.

Today at 1015 Folsom in The City, he’ll perform an all-CDJ set of deep cuts. Fresh from the studio, he's keeping his sets real loose and diverse, playing loads of different tempos and doing a lot of old school beat-matching and scratching. “Holy s—, it makes it extra challenging,” he says.

San Francisco retains a special place in his heart. “I believe it was my first-ever U.S. show. I remember it was insane. I had no clue the crowd would be as big as it was or acting the same way as crowds in London,” he adds.

After the tour, Mercer will hole up in his studio for a full year, and release new, experimental material in lightning-quick fashion – maybe even a roots reggae record. He says, “I'm planning to release as much as possible and get it out digitally the week it's done. It's the opposite of what everyone is doing. Hopefully, it's not career suicide.”

IF YOU GO

Rusko

with Just A Gent, Patrick Reza, Wormhole Crew

Where: 1015 Folsom, 1015 Folsom St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Oct. 30

Tickets: $20 (ages 21+)

Contact: (415) 431-1200, www.1015.com

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