When one of our writers moved to Manchester four years ago, it was, in terms of electronic music, a city that flattered to deceive. Tech-house stalked the streets. Eastern Bloc mostly sold dubstep. Sankeys was considered a viable Saturday night out. Leeds, with its 6am closing times and proper club sound systems, gazed across the M62 with a mixture of pity and All Saints-swathed scorn.
In the years since, Manchester’s gradual return to being one of the UK’s most musically interesting cities has been due, in the most part, to passionate, likeminded folk like Ruf Dug. Simon’s been feeding off and into Manchester’s music scene for most of his life, as a producer, dj and label owner. He’s developed his aesthetic, informed by a similar woozy corner of the disco world as cats like Lerosa and Max Dunbar, on Porn Wax, The Popular People’s Front, and mostly his own imprint, Ruf Kutz.
And 2013′s been a fruitful year in the Dug household. Major recognition came in June, with a well-received release on Lerato’s mega label Süd Electronic, while Ruf Kutz has expanded into pressing solo eps from other artists. Bigger and bigger bookings – Pbar in October springs to mind – have naturally followed. Throughout all this, Simon’s identification with his home city appears never stronger. The former Wet Play resident has more recently propped up a monthly do upstairs at Soup Kitchen, playing all sorts of records that make you feel dead classy sipping a £4 pint.
His selections for us are as diverse, idiosyncratic and endlessly fruity as you’d expect from a man whose website is only equalled by Danny Wolfers for witty, well-executed 80s appeal. Blended fast and fearlessly, his mix moves between classy house both new and old, disco, techno, and beyond. It perfectly demonstrates the sense of originality, and more importantly the sense of humour, that characterises Simon, as well as the city he calls home. Lovely stuff.