UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH DJ RUBY
As one of the local club scene’s pioneers, DJ Ruby is responsible for some of the island’s most memorable events. Spinning tunes alongside some of the world’s biggest names, he has gained a legendary reputation both locally and beyond. His strong dedication to the scene has seen him building a huge following; a whole generation growing up to Ruby’s soundtrack.
Ruby is a busy man; however, we finally managed to pin him down to ask him a few questions and hopefully get to know the man behind the public persona. So, who is DJ Ruby? “Simply put, electronic dance music is my life, no more, no less,” he states. “It’s been a constant throughout. I was brought up in a musical environment, as both my parents are musicians. I used to join them at their gigs from a very young age. Come 1991, I discovered house music, which was then still in its infancy. I learned how to DJ very quickly and was one of the very first people in Malta to kickstart the electronic dance music scene on the island,” he says by way of explanation.
More than a quarter of a century later, can he recall his first ever gig and the best one since then? He laughs outright, “Twenty-six years ago to be precise and it was at the most boring wedding ever. Still it was my first gig, after which I moved on to The Generator club in Paceville, in 1992, which was quite ‘big’ at the time. Fast forward to today, and I’m lucky to be playing Clique and Playground every weekend!”
Despite a career spanning more than two decades, Ruby claims that there is no artist who has been a particular influence on his music, saying, “I get inspired by many different artists, I don’t really have a favourite. Besides, I have never idolised anyone.” The scene is constantly evolving; what Ruby’s view on this? He ponders for a second and recalls, “When I started out, back in the early 90’s, the electronic dance music scene was very raw, underground and restricted to a few crazy people on drugs…But it was totally amazing! Now it’s everywhere! It’s part of our daily life. Even my mum listens to house music while baking!”
Was there ever a one, single, unforgettable instance in Ruby’s career which he feels has forever changed his perception of people, places or simply the meaning of life? “Undoubtedly, it has to be experiencing Guys Bar in Koh Phangan, Thailand for the very first time as a clubber. The place is spiritual. Magical. An experience which changes you forever,” he replies in hushed tones, before continuing, “One which has also translated into some of the best days of my career; playing at Timewarp & Transmission festivals and securing a yearly DJ residency at the same Guys Bar in Koh Phangan, Thailand!”
A bit more about the guy instead of the DJ…Apparently Ruby simply cannot function without smoking, listing cigarettes as the only thing he wouldn’t dream of leaving behind in a major catastrophe. He also lists his pet peeves as, “Sea, swimming, sunbathing, sharks…People taking selfies and Facebooking on the dancefloor, girls going clubbing in high heels, rock’n’roll dance moves while listening to techno and people doing the heart, hand gesture while I’m DJing! Now that really freaks me out!”
Any funny or crazy episodes Ruby would care to share? “Quite a few actually, but this has to be one of the craziest… Back in ‘95 or ’96, I organised an underground party, which was obviously illegal, right in the middle of nowhere, next to Dingli Cliffs in Malta. At one point, the Police in full army/swat gear arrived; at gunpoint, everyone had to lie on the floor, people crying, everyone was so scared, proper movie s***. I was arrested and while at the police station I asked how come all the drama for a simple party? The Police Sergeant on duty cheekily replied, ‘Don’t worry son, we were just taking the piss!’ Thankfully, I only got slapped with a paltry 25Liri (€60) fine,” he says with a wicked grin.
Before we wrap up our interview…What would Ruby be doing in five years’ time? “Easy question. Still rocking dancefloors!” And if he had to be someone else for a day, who would Ruby be? “Pierre Lindh or Martin Pettersson. No s***,” he concludes without the slightest hesitation.