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D-Fuse: Guns (& Kicks) On Route 66 (interview) ::

Reported by Ben Stroud on December 8, 2008

“Route 66 is no longer an official road but you can still follow its path. It’s basically been broken up into a series of roads and it will be a bit treacherous. We’ll be on the shoulder of a freeway with lorries passing us at 70 MPH (and Hummers and Cadillac’s) then at times we’ll be on small neighbourhood streets. We’ll even have to hop a fence or two to ride on abandoned stretches of the old Route 66.”

US house star D:Fuse is currently in training to cycle the entire 700 mile length of Route 6 in March, to raise awareness and money for earth related issues, though chatting to Skrufff this week, he admits cycling is just one side of the ride.

“There are still loads of old crumbling diners, gas stations and billboards from Route 66’s heyday. There are also lots of diners that are still open so we’ll be stopping for lunch everyday to fuel up on French Fries,” he enthuses, “I just pray they will have veggie burgers.”

Admitting that his environmental interests could well provoke harassment, he stressed he’s comfortable about the prospect, declaring ‘that will all be a part of the journey.”

“I’ve never really had problems from rednecks,” he explains, “I'm a Texan myself, I grew up with a father being a chemical plant worker in Houston. I definitely had a very Blue Collar upbringing so I understand where they are coming from even though I grew up to be a very different and liberal person now.”

He’s also more than familiar with America’s rampant gun culture, revealing he’s the proud owner on a 9mm weapon.

“Once again, it's the Texan in me,” he suggests. “My father was a big hunter with of collection of at least 30 guns so I was around them for my whole childhood. We knew how to fire a gun at a very young age. I've never pulled one out in fear or anger. You learn to be very respectful of the power of guns. And you know that if you plan to pull out a gun you better be sure you are going to use it, and that is humbling. It's simply not something that should be taken lightly.”

He has, however, been at the wrong end of a barrel.

“I was held up at gunpoint after a show in Los Angeles several years ago. I was walking a friend to her car on a pretty well lit street and three guys crossed the street and had 3 guns in our faces. It was extremely scary. I have to say that even though I own a handgun I believe in gun control,” he says

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) Starting with the Route 66 bike ride, it’s 700 miles: how many days are you planning to take?

D:Fuse: “We plan to do the journey in 10 days. So there will be a couple of days that we will have off. We plan on riding about 80 miles a day.”

Skrufff: You’re performing on your mobile DJ rig: how does the rig work? How big is it and how are you transporting the speakers, and amplifier etc?

D:Fuse: “It’s not quite as glamorous as it sounds. I’ll be bringing a small iPod mixing unit and some portable speakers. It won’t actually be mounted to the bike, it will be in the support car. In doing some research I discovered it was just too heavy to transport 700 miles in a bicycle.”

Skrufff: How much of a risk is it that you could be busted for breaking rave act laws; for example if say 100 people gather for one of your mobile performances?

D:Fuse: “The Rave Act Laws are on the statute books but it doesn’t look like they’ve really been enforced in any significant way in the club scene. The whole rave negative media frenzy has died off and authorities have pretty much shifted focus away from those draconian laws. Thank goodness.”

Skrufff: Have you ever been arrested?

D:Fuse: “I was arrested in college for climbing up an observation tower with a date. We were a little tipsy and raised the American Flag that was mounted on top and started screaming the national anthem. Not the smartest thing to do as that is what attracted the police. My date was not at all happy about being arrested but oddly she still agreed to go out with me the week after. We were locked up for only 8 hours but it felt like an eternity. I’ve never seen time move so slowly. And I was in a common cell with about 15 other people who, I must confess, looked like they needed to be in there from hearing their conversations on what they had done to land them there. I definitely never want to be arrested again.”

Skrufff: How do you view DJs who fly: should they be considering giving it up: or taking the train?

D:Fuse: “Unfortunately the U.S. has a poor rail system for the most part and it’s just such a wide expanse of mileage that it’s not realistic to take a train. When I do travel shorter distances with a good train route (like Los Angeles to San Diego) I will always take the train. I try to lessen my carbon imprint from flying by avoiding driving my car whenever I can. I ride my bicycle just about everywhere in Los Angeles. To the grocery store, the studio, etc. I literally have to remember to start my car every two weeks so the battery doesn’t drain. The good thing is that California just voted in a proposal to build a high-speed train connecting San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Let’s hope more high-speed trains will follow.”

Skrufff: When was the last time you travelled in a limousine?

I generally try to forgo Limos for smaller sedans when I’m picked up. It’s something we request from the promoters. Limos are certainly pimp but they are gas-guzzlers. The only time we use them is if we have a big group going to the show, like my last show in San Francisco and when I play in Las Vegas.”

Skrufff: Paul Oakenfold’s been a big supporter of your career: what’s your stance on DJs making millions?

D:Fuse: “As long as some of that money is going to good use I’m okay with it. There are certainly some overblown DJ salaries out there, but you’ve also got to consider as a musician, you generally have a very short window to make your money. Once you get big you have maybe 10 years and when you consider it takes someone 10 or 20 years to make it “big” in the first place, the salaries don’t always seem so overblown. It took me over 15 years before I was actually making a profit in the music business. For 15 years my music career was like a black hole I was pouring my hard-earned money into.”

Skruffff: How dark did it get for you personally: what was the most broke situation you found yourself in?

D:Fuse: “The scariest time was when I had hit critical mass on my income/debt ratio. I had maxed around $35,000 on credit cards and my minimum payments and living expenses were adding up to more than I was bringing in. I was very close to declaring bankruptcy at that point. It just so happened it was at that point that I started making money touring as D:Fuse. My career finally started earning money rather than costing me.”

Skrufff: How did you sustain yourself during that period?

D:Fuse: “I owned a mobile DJ company called Ndustry Mobile DJ. I started it with credit cards and slowly over a course of 5 years it grew into a decent-sized company with a good client base. We had four DJ systems and stayed pretty busy. I had three part time employees but I handled 70% of the DJing myself. We did everything from weddings and college parties to corporate events. I also bartended part-time and did landscaping on the side. I worked at least 60 hours a week but I knew I had to do whatever it took to keep money flowing and to keep a flexible schedule to allow me to grow my career as D:Fuse.”

Skrufff: What did you school friends do for work: did you get much pressure from family and or friends to conform?

Skrufff: I graduated college and decided I would do what was expected of me and got a job at IBM doing sales. I worked there for 6 months and realized that my life would be miserable if I was stuck inside a cubicle the rest of my life. It scared the crap out of me. It was that fear that made me push even harder to make it in music. I quit my job, started taking my Mobile DJ company more seriously, and got a job bartending. My friends definitely thought I was crazy for giving up a good job up to pursue music but I was the best decision I ever made. It is next to impossible to really make it in music if you are tied to something 40 hours a week- from 9 to 5.”

Skrufff: How close did you come to quitting music altogether: what was the biggest obstacle you faced?

D:Fuse: “I never thought about quitting. My biggest obstacle to face was quitting my industrial band “Culture Industry”. It was a band I really believed was going to be successful. It was a big wake up call to me as to what was supposed to come next. I thought maybe I wasn't good enough make it in music for a good year after that. But after a while I believed in myself again, and around the same time I fell in love with clubbing and house music.”

Skrufff: On your biog you describe yourself as ‘DJ. Producer. Remixer. Drummer. Vocalist. Musician. Human’: why ‘human’ do you believe humanity is facing extinction?

D:Fuse: “President Bush being in power for the last 8 years was a huge blow to our planet environmentally. We really needed to start tackling the global warming problem back in 2000 and I just about lost it when the election was stolen from Al Gore. He would have put us on such a different track. Thank God there has been such an amazing shift to a more liberal government here in America. I really believe President Elect Barack Obama is going to do amazing things. Someone has to turn back all of the destructive policies the Bush administration has enacted in the last 8 years.”

Skrufff: Have you investigated evangelical Christianity do you believe End Time has elements of truth?

D:Fuse: “I’m not into religion and I certainly don’t think the Bible is the divine word of God. I was raised Christian though and went to church every Sunday the first 18 years of my life. I’m now what you would call a recovering Catholic.”

Jonty Skrufff (