WHITNEY ULLMAN: Talk to us about coming to Atlantic City and being part of Premier Nightclub.
DJ RUCKUS: I’ve been part of the Borgata family for quite a long time. They are a great client of mine and a big part of my career for maybe six or seven years if not more than that, and it’s created a great following in Atlantic City. This new nightclub…it’s a really big venue with beautiful, giant LED screens on it. So it’s really a great performance place. When I DJ, I like to put on a show. When you have the right platform, the right stage set-up for you, it’s a lot easier to get a lot crazier energy reactions out of the crowd. Atlantic City is a great place to play. They give you the crowd, and they really know about everything…I can play hip-hop. I can play electronic. I can play rock-n-roll. I can play across the board and they really know what’s cool and enjoy it. I really love Atlantic City, and Premier is a great nightclub to add to the local residencies.
You have residencies all over. How does Atlantic City compare though to Miami? L.A.? Paris?
DJ RUCKUS: It’s honestly just as good to me, in fact it’s one of my favorites. Like I said, Jersey really knows their music. It’s a music town. They’re into it across the board, especially club music. You also get a lot of people from Philly and New York and places that have great music followings. Plus, it’s an enjoyable trip, Water Club Spa is probably my favorite… My friends come in from the city for a night or a weekend and I’ll take them in a limo, get a great room and have a great dinner…Bring a fun crew and they wind up having more fun then they could ever imagine.
It’s true because some people don’t realize Atlantic City’s a lot of fun. Do you have any celebrity friends that you brought to the casino?
DJ RUCKUS: Good question. I wonder if it’s okay to even talk about them. Yeah, I’ve definitely taken my fiance and her friends, and some of the model girls. Some of the VS girls may come down with me every now and then…I’ve ran into people that are performing there and then they come out to my show afterwards – From Chris Tucker to Miguel. Lenny Kravitz was there.
That’s awesome. How does it feel to be engaged to a Victoria Secret model? Was that always a dream of yours?
DJ RUCKUS: I think way more highly of her… I could care less about that. I’m in love with her, obviously. I guess it’s cool, but it’s just another job.
I got you. That’s great, and a good answer too. You mentioned you are family with Lenny Kravitz. Do you think that helped you in your career?
DJ RUCKUS: No question. Lenny was a big part of my career…Honestly, he’s a family member but just because he is doesn’t necessarily mean that he allowed me to use his name all the time to get my foot in the door, but…It was a huge help. A great help. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Anybody who’s had a leg up in a situation like that I’m sure has used it…I was talking about it the other day to somebody. Someone can give you an “A” all day, it’s about maintaining it. I had an opportunity to get my foot in the door and I rose to the occasion. It’s definitely something that helps in the long run. If your not good at what you do, people start to figure it out.
It seems like a lot of celebrities are trying to become DJ’s. Some of them really aren’t DJ’s. How do you feel about that?
DJ RUCKUS: I never really had a problem. I guess if I was nervous about getting jobs then it would be the case. I’m sure I’m in competition with some of them that are in similar lanes. People that are celebrities are celebrities and they do what they do and their famous for what their famous for. DJing has very much become this way to sort of monetize the brand…If we’re going to have guys that are DJ’s that can be put in the space of real rock stars, real performers, such as a Calvin Harris at Coachella instead of Guns and Roses. Which is crazy to me. If we’re going to have people being put in a space like that also, we might as well let celebrities DJ too. It’s all fair game I think. If you can get your hands on the equipment and put on a show then you should be allowed to. If you have people coming out to see you, then so be it. My job is to continue being good at it so I don’t get squeezed out, which I’m doing a good job of so far.
You’re definitely doing a really good job. Pretty much everybody knows you and you’re playing at all the great venues. You were just in Las Vegas and Kim Kardashian was hanging with you. Are you guys long time friends?
DJ RUCKUS: She and my girl are actually a little bit cooler friends than we are. I’ve known her and I’m actually pretty good friends with Paris Hilton. I know they’re friends of course. Being a part of the LA scene, I live partly in LA, you run across a lot of folks like that and become friends with the people that are doing the shows, the events and the appearances around. We’ve definitely done shows together. It’s interesting to watch a venue bring back the format of these celebrity hosts and the open format DJ’s. Something that we did 10 years ago…We used to do it with Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton or Eva Longoria. Whoever was the celeb at the time that would draw out the camera phones and who the format DJ was. It’s interesting to see that formula being brought back as things start to move around.
Who do you look up to, in terms of your peers in the industry? Who inspires you?
DJ RUCKUS: I like guys that put on shows. It’s no fun to watch somebody just play music and stand there. I really like guys like Steve Aoki. He’s really, really fun to watch. It’s an electrifying performance.
Well Steve does his whole cake thing, do you have a “thing” that you do?
DJ RUCKUS: Yeah, I pick up a CDJ and I play it like a guitar. Which is probably my most signature thing, and I stand on the DJ booth. I don’t know if I can explain how it’s done but I pick it up and use the pitch control like a whammy bar on a guitar. It’s like I do a guitar solo with a turntable. Which has become very much my signature thing…I don’t throw cakes or spray champagne on people, like Lil Jon and Steve Aoki or Afrojack does. They get away with some things…that I don’t get away with. I would be really mad if someone sprayed champagne on me.
I was there when Steve Aoki was doing that at Borgata, and these people were like, “Yeah, spray me!”
DJ RUCKUS: They love it. Absolutely. I did a show with Wiz Khalifa last night and he did the same thing. He poured champagne on a girl, he went to give her a drink and ended up covering her in champagne. She was like, “Yeah!” I was like, “Wow.”
I know, it’s so funny. What’s something about you we don’t know about? Do you have any fun, hidden talents?
DJ RUCKUS: That’s a good question. I was a pretty incredible golfer as a kid. A pro roller blader for a period of time, when I was 12 years old. I modeled for a few years at like 17 , 18, 19 years old. I did Calvin Klein campaigns. American Eagle and Target. I like that a lot. I was in a movie called ATL. Not many people know about that. T’s about the future with T.I. and Evan Ross, Jason Weaver…I produced a Janet Jackson record when I was like 18, and an Anita Jo album with a guy named Dallas Austin, who pretty much showed me how to produce records a long time ago.
Do you still keep in touch with Janet? You know she put her whole tour on hold now, because she wants to start a family?
DJ RUCKUS: I actually don’t. I’m 1 of 500,000 producers that she worked with as you do on every album that she’s ever done. We definitely got the chance to hang out while doing the studio sessions, but that was how ever many years ago. I haven’t run into her or kept in touch at all, but I think that she’s an incredible talent. I think it’s great that she’s starting a family. There’s no tour, but there’s something that’s more important. She doesn’t have a child and that’s a great legacy to build on so I think that’s important.
Which celebrity friend of yours would you really want to trade places with for the day?
DJ RUCKUS: Wow. That’s a good question. I think I might trade places with Lewis Hamilton for a second. He’s a Formula One racer and a lot of people, especially in the United States don’t pay attention to it. He’s the Tiger Woods of F1 Racing. He’s a 32 year old, half black, half British kid that is the highest paid athlete on the planet behind Floyd Mayweather…He won the championship 3 years in a row. A really, really cool cat, and in F1 you drive around a track at 250 mph. That’s like driving a small airplane…If not him, I would say Tony Hawk. Being a pro skateboarder is probably the other coolest thing on the planet. On top of which, the residuals from the Tony Hawk pro skater game probably wouldn’t be so bad.
What about in the news right now? Are you passionate about anything happening?
DJ RUCKUS: Man, I’m passionate about this world chilling out. I was just on a European tour and watching the news everyday because it’s the only thing in complete English. It’s crazy to see everything that’s going on…I would love us to get away from those being our problems and concentrating on the preservation of our Earth. There’s going to be a lot of things in the near future that are going to be tough to maintain, like feeding the ever-growing population for the next 20-30 years. Keeping this planet together as long as we can would be a much more important thing to worry about than ISIS and/or Daesh or whatever you want to call it. A little bit more world peace would be nice. Which is a tough thing to ask, of course but it would be nice. That, and our US presidency. I hope we have somebody that’s a stand-up and viable candidate and we don’t look like a mess to the rest of the country or to the rest of the planet.
Do you think Hillary or Trump would be a good candidate for that?
DJ RUCKUS: I definitely don’t think Trump would be. Especially if he didn’t have all of the crazy hang-ups that he does. Like trying to kick Muslims out of our country and build a wall between Mexicans later. That’s absurd. I think he’d be terrible if those were his true attributes and concerns. I think Hillary would be a great President. I’m not sure the country trusts her but if they can and she can figure out how to gain the popular vote, then I think she’d do a great job.