DJ Dossier

Sluggo Talks Dubstep, Liquid Stranger, Skrillex, U.K. Grime, Rusko, and More

luggo is looking pretty beat these days, but with good reason. The local dubstep producer hasn't been getting much sleep lately because he's been hella busy gearing up for a trip to Florida for a couple performance. A few hours after this interview was conducted, Sluggo headed to Orlando for a club gig with fellow dubstepper Liquid Stranger. Then its off to Tampa and a half-dozen other cities.

Suffice it to say, Sluggo has been blowing up quite fiercely over the past two years, as evidenced by his travel itinerary and gig schedule. He was able to carve some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about himself, his career, dubstep, and the local DJ scene.

Name: Nick Suddarth

AKA: Sluggo

Current gigs: I'm packing up and bouncing out to Orlando to do this show with Liquid Stranger for a release party for my new mixes Stalkers and Hostage on my label, Ultragore. Then this weekend I'm going off to Tampa Bay and then over to Vegas for a gig with Skrillex at the Rio. And then I go to Seattle, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe.

Preferred genres: I only fuck with dubstep or shit that's been hybrided from dubstep. I like the epic, hard-ass shit on the rigs. The kind of shit that, when your drop it, people fucking recognize it instantly. Tracks from like Liquid Stranger, Mark Instinct, Downlink, Rottun Recordings, and all those guys.

How did you get started in the DJ game? Shit, I was in high school, a little assed kid who was into rock and metal and wound up going to a rave. It was just this party where I saw this DJ doing happy hardcore, straight rave shit. I'd never seen that many people hyped up. They were screaming and the place was going so fucking Richter and the needles were bouncing off the fucking turntables because people were jumping on the wood floor. I was in awe. After that I bought turntables and got records at Swell and off the Internet.

Sluggo & Getter - In Cold Blood - (Ultragore Recordings) by SluggoDubstep

What's your best experience as a DJ? I've had multiple experiences, I can't really tie it down to one, but I can bring it all down to traveling. Straight up. If it weren't for traveling and my fans, this experience wouldn't have been as good as it has been.

And the worst experience? I've had a lot of fucking issues, like you go to a gig and there are situations where before I came into a talent agency, you had to do everything on your own. Like if you get to a gig and you get stiffed, that's one shitty thing, that's one bad experience that DJs have. Not making the money we're supposed to be getting paid or after you already make the deal. All I've got to say is anybody out there who's a traveler, try to say sober because traveling hung over is the worst thing you could possibly do. You're stuck on a plane for five hours or you're at airports for eight plus hours.

What are some of the clubs you've spun at locally? Club Red, 910 Live, Stratus, lots of other clubs too.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig? I was in Baltimore and me and a couple of other undisclosed people were all wasted up in the green room. This groupie chick was all crazy, gothic and evil, and she wanted us to cut her. She was into my boy, he was emo. So I ripped the pop tab off of a beer can and I had my boy cutting her arms and her neck up and they were fucking in the Green Room. That's a pretty dirty one.

What do you dig about dubstep? Everything. I like the sound. I like the grimy-ass beats. I like how nasty you can get and not really give a fuck about it. To me, it sounds like multiple genres in one. Before dubstep I used to be into drum 'n' bass a lot, it was my first love in electronic music. You can pretty much take the nasty bass lines from d 'n' b and slowed down drum beat -- which is similar to U.K. garage or breakbeats - and take it even further.

Why does it sound so evil and harsh? I like all types of dubstep, whether it's disgusting, whether it's soft, minimal, I like it all...the versatility, the dope thing about it, you can be in your car kicking it, driving around listening to some chill shit, wasted after party smashing some dirty ass Dubstep or some nasty shit but I don't know why mine is so grimy. I learned one method to make music, I'm simply learning a few things as I go. It's all what I know right now. It's not like how I mean to do it, it's just like what happens. It's what comes out.

Dubstep seems like a versatile genre. Do you agree? That's the dope thing about it, you can be in your car kicking it, driving around listening to some chill shit, wasted after a party smashing some dirty-ass dubstep or some event nastier shit. Why is mine so grimy? I learned one method to make music and I'm simply learning a few things as I go. It's all what I know right now. It's just how it comes out.

Has dubstep passed it's peak in Britain, or is it only getting bigger? Right now in Britain, it seems like all the guys that first started in the game my whole conversation before, when you hear Dubstep in 2007 that's all it was. Now when you hear Dubstep, it's what do you think of, you think of Rutton Record, you think of Rusko, you think of Bar9, you think of crazy shit epic tunes.

Do you have a mantra? The key to my success has been my self-goal. I wanted to do things by myself. I've always done it in the past with a partner, but then I tried it by myself, I liked doing things solo a little bit better. I needed to push my sound, and I knew if did that then everything would fall into place. And it has. It's a huge goal for me to let people hear my music and hear shit that I like.

You're producing your own Dubstep at this moment? Yeah, I always produce my own Dubstep but like me and him together, we would collab on a tune. Right now it's Sluggo, it's all me by myself. I do collab work and remixes but it blew up, it blew up me starting my new sound. I started a whole new sound and no one really fucked with as far as me. So it's new, people were digging it and I started running Ultra Gore which is my label and it started off bumpy and shaky and we had a few tunes but I started signing these guys, my tunes started getting better, my friends tunes started getting better and I started getting a repertoire of this guy has fucking bad tunes. We want this guy to like our tunes, we want this guy to sign our tunes. It pretty much turned out it blew up right record label [Ultragore] is going critical mass.

How so? I've hired these guys Helicopter Showdown. They've been slaying shit. With them, I've been charting on Beatport, Digital Charts, Juno, and iTunes. Tons of blogs are hitting me up. These guys Helicopter Showdown were able to branch me out across the Internet. They knew the electro/indie scene, which I've never been a part of, but it's massive.

Where are you charting? Beatport and Phonic Distribution. It's all bulking up into this huge monster where right now my DJ bookings have gone crazy and I'm doing mad gigs. I've got mad remixes coming out. People are asking me to do tunes. At this point I'm sticking with releasing my tunes on my own record label Ultragore.

Where have these mad gigs been? Within the last couple of years I've been in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, Richmond, DC, Denver, Salt Lake name it?

Dubstep is big with Mormon kids? I played the New Years out there for a Dubstep show. Yeah, it was fun. There was a lot of Mormon kids. They were into it. They weren't any different vibe-wise than any other kids that are into the dubstep thing.

What are you feelings about the DJ and dubstep scene in Phoenix? I don't really follow it too much. I'll go to the parties but like I said 25 percent of the shows are good but the rest of them to me are just like...blah. I don't feel like I hate this town. As far as the promoters go -- like Mary Mahan and J. Paul [from UK Thursdays] -- those guys are by far are the ones that are on it in regards to dubstep. As for the other parties, they're fucking whack. Like a show I played a few weeks ago at Stratus [Just Keep Raving]. There were so many kids inside listening to some Russian play trance and Tiësto tracks while I only had a few people outside. Are you kidding me? It was horrible. I was dropping all fresh shit but I was having a rough time. I was DJing fine, but mentally, it was really rough to keep on it.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.