By: Daniel Serebrennikov
For this local artist spotlight we caught up with Cleveland born, Phoenix based producer Jordan Ruzic who writes music as “AstroFunk.” His multi-genre, conceptual sound is already turning some heads on Soundcloud and he’s just getting started. Check this out for Jordan’s thoughts on writing music, the Arizona music scene, and what to expect from him in the upcoming year.
How did you start writing music?
My friend took me to my first rave when I was 21, from there on I kind of got hooked. I played some instruments growing up but I didn’t get really serious until I started digitally producing music. I like the process of digitally producing, although I’m moving more towards writing on actual instruments rather than just always programming.
Where did the name “AstroFunk” come from?
I was trying to come up with names for a while and then my friend said something like it. I don’t remember what it was, something with “Astro” which turned into “AstroFunk” and I was like “Well that kinda describes me a lot as a person.” It stuck and grew on me over the years. I think it really defines where my sound is at and what it’s becoming.
Is there any particular sound or style you go for?
I’ve kind of just always done my own thing and I think it pulls from a lot of different styles, not one in particular. Definitely a lot of electronica and trance that’s why my stuff is very atmospheric. Recently my sound has been getting a lot heavier, pulling influences from dub step and getting deep into “Massive” (A digital synthesizer program). Although I’ve had it for a long time I would say it wasn’t my go to synth until recently. My older stuff is a lot longer to some of the songs are 10 and 11 minutes long, which I’ve definitely shortened up.
What is your creative process like when writing music?
Every time I start with something it never comes out remotely close to what I was trying to do. I usually kind of just play around starting with harmonies and at some point I’ll get a loop and build around that, adding percussion and other elements until I get something that’s a strong foundation that I can work with. Usually, I’ll hit a dead spot and just be playing around with stuff until I can get back in a groove.
What’s “played out” in EDM right now?
Anything that hits the mainstream gets to the point where everyone starts copying a sound and I feel like there’s not a lot of ingenuity or creativity going on, it’s just people copying what’s cool.
What is the AZ music scene like?
I don’t know how much opportunity there is to push your own sound in this town it doesn’t seem like people care to much about local artists. I could be wrong though and that could change. If you’re a producer you have to try to make sure your building an online presence because you can’t sustain yourself just on a local audience.
Are there any places in Phoenix that you guys were able to perform at in your time as a group out here?
Recently I’ve played at Urbane Manner and Side Bar. That’s it locally but over the summer I actually got to play in a few places in Mexico. I’ve just been getting back into DJ’ing in the past four months or so.
With one of your recent tracks “Time” hitting 11 thousand plays on Soundcloud, how does it feel to know people vibe with your unique sound?
That was cool. The Mr. Probz remix I did was interesting because that song just got put all over the place a year ago. That was the first time I hit a song that got a lot of plays. This time I was just like, “alright, cool, time to go back to the drawing boards and work harder.”
What should we expect from AstroFunk in 2016? Any collaborations, upcoming performances we should know about?
I am starting to work with a couple really talented vocalists, as well as working on an EP and various other singles. I’m working to incorporate pop writing mixed with dance music structure so I think my sounds going to change in that aspect, and I definitely want to start playing out more.
Thanks Jordan, go follow AstroFunk on Soundcloud!