This month marks the release of a new LP by Filipino musician Vex Ruffin, it's his third full length outing on the renowned imprint Stones Throw, a record label which requires no introduction.
Vex grew up split between California’s Inland Empire and Alabang, Manila in the Philippines. His music is very much a reflection of that and draws upon influences from funk, soul and hip hop alongside Filipino culture. Family, nostalgia and the personal connections he's made along the way all inform his own creative process and the music that he makes is humble, warm and honest. He himself described his latest album as follows:
“At my age, you start to reflect. I’m going back to my roots, channeling that time, mixing nostalgia with how I am right now.”
This mixtape is as much of a reflection on that as the album is as Vex showcases a collection of Filipino music and records over the course of an hour. Funk, soul and delicate disco play out across a mix which is truly unique.
Listen and read the interview below:
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I’m Vex Ruffin, I’m a musical artist currently living in Walnut, CA.
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded literally in bed in my bedroom.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Anywhere but I would say in a coffee shop with no AC with lots of plants or in some old Toyota that still runs.
What should we be wearing?
Chaps pocket tee, benneton bucket hat, battenwear shorts with adidas campus shoes.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Mt. Fuji cassette format using whatever sound system king tubby used.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Pat Castillo “ aso’t pusa “
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
All of my mixes in my NTS show. “Manila Times “ please tune in!
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
DJ Kool Herc because he started it all. He’s the goat! But I would be playing my 404 sampler and turntables.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
I had some Stanton’s but now I use numarks and my Roland 404sx.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The track I start on because the first track tells me where this mix is heading.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first record I ever bought was parliament funk - mothership connection and the last record I got is The Koreatown oddity - little Dominique’s nosebleed.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Papayas with Filipino peanut butter
If it was an animal what would it be?
A Tuko lizard from the Philippines
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I’m not the best at mixing anyway but if I could pick one I would say this old dusty scratched up foreigner record.
Upcoming in the world of… Anything else we need to discuss?
Yeah, Vex Ruffin "LiteAce Frequency" go cop that! cause its good for your health. Peace!
Buy the album HERE.
Enjoy this article? Want more?
You can support Ransom Note and independent journalism through our Patreon campaign now.
Become a friend of Ransom Note