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Interview With Rukes!

His names Drew Ressler and for the past seven years he has been travelling the world taking some of the best photographs ive ever seen.He has toured with the Motely Crew and most recently Deadmau5 and has managed to capture these acts at their best through his pictures. I met him at a concert (Deadmau5 Dublin) and decided he would be an interesting man to interview.So I did some investigating and found his site rukes.comr jam packed with some amazing photography and got in contact.

I leave all the drunk girl pics to the crappy hipster photographers that can’t take a good pic and wouldn’t be popular unless they had nipples in their pics 😉

Hey Drew thanks for your time, where are you now? and where are you from?

I’m from Massaequa Park in NY (on Long Island) but currently living in West Hollywood, CA

when did you start snapping pictures?Did the camera appeal to you at a young age?

Back at the end of 2003 when I got my first point and shoot. It never really appealed to me at a young age, but I have always been a pretty visual person.

How did you start working at concerts and live events?

I ended up contacting the booking agents/managers of DJs I were interested in that were playing at Avalon or other LA clubs and asked for a photo pass. Since there were very few people back then with SLRs it was usually a yes 🙂

When did you think ”
Oh this is going good, I might be able to do this for a living?

I think when Avalon hired me to be their in-house photographer and offered competing wages for my 9-5. Once I started getting more work on the side, then I figured I was able to switch over to just doing photography.

Whats a typical week like for you? Would you be travelling alot?

It depends, it seems like every year I do more and more travelling/touring. When I’m on tour, you can probably guess it’s waking up, getting a late lunch, checking out the venue, putting up the pics from the previous night, getting dinner, then doing that night’s work. Then after that heading back on the tour bus to sleep and wake up at the next stop.

For when I’m at home, I usually have the month planned out ahead of time. I do every Avalon on Saturdays, Fridays when it’s gonna be a huge night. I go to Sutra in the OC when it’s going to be a big night. Same with Voyuer in San Diego. So the only guarantees for me are Saturdays and big massive events like EDC, the rest all depend on the gig.

I understand you don’t smoke or drink?

Correct. I can’t stand the taste of alcohol, and cigarette smoke mess with my allergies (which is why taking pics in Vegas is usually tough on me, due to the ability for people to smoke everywhere in a club).

You have work with some of the biggest djs in the world are you interested in dance music?

Of course 🙂 I got into it around 1999 with some of the cheesy stuff people recommended…stuff like Alice Deejay, also getting the standard Oakenfold mix CDs (Transport and Cream) and little appealed to me. Once I picked up BT’s “Movement In Still Life” I knew that was the type of music I loved, breaks. After that, Hybrid’s “Wider Angle” became my favorite CD of all time and I knew I was in love with the music.

Ironically, I hate DJ mixes. So for me, gigs are usually background noise. As long as the beat is constant, it keeps me going, so if it’s top 40, I usually get worn out quicker. I prefer full, unmixed individual songs. I have a huge collection, especially of breaks stuff (Hybrid, BT, etc…) of unreleased material and tons of tracks full and unmixed that most people don’t know exist.

You seem to have a very good relationship with Deadmau5 how did that come about?

I started working for Pioneer a bit, providing them with pics of their DJs using Pioneer equipment in the LA clubs I work at. Karl Detken invited me down to the OC for an interview they were doing with Tommy Lee and DJ Aero for one of their web videos, and they ended up coming by the club that night (where I was working anyway) and started taking candid’s of them in the booth they were in. A few of the pics came out perfect, with one becoming their first ever press shot they used for a while.

Later on, they mentioned their friend Deadmau5 was going to play at Circus for his first LA gig in December 2007, so they invited me to come join them. I ended up taking pics (back then, less than 300 people showed up) and after the gig I talked to Joel backstage. It turns out his press shot photographer was a huge fan of my work and ended up telling Joel about me. Then, also having Tommy in common as a friend, and realizing we both pretty much liked the same nerdy things, we went on to do more and more work together.

Going to so many events you must have seen some wild shit happening?Whats the craziest thing you have seen at a gig?

Not really, I’m usually too busy taking pics. But I hear wild stories all the time, and for some I thankfully don’t visit them at all 🙂 One good place to visit for some stories on the road is Deadmau5’s blog: http://choleric-mau5.blogspot.com/

Drunken girls at concerts tend to very promiscuous toward the camera, See much tits?

Yeah, when I used to take pics of people early on when I took pics at bars and “party” clubs, but nowadays I just take pics of the DJs. I leave all the drunk girl pics to the crappy hipster photographers that can’t take a good pic and wouldn’t be popular unless they had nipples in their pics 😉


You can never predict whats going to happen at a concert ever had your camera stolen or been attacked by an angry fan?

Thankfully no. The closest I ever came to that was taking pics at Avalon in a VIP booth one night and the drunk kids who had the table were getting pissy at me being in their booth taking pics for 5 minutes. They called security, who informed them that I work for the club and wasn’t actually in their way and would be gone shortly. Another drunk kid grabbed me from behind and pulled me down to the couch since I wouldn’t leave. I had my camera in my hand and I was literally 1 inch away from bashing his skull in with my 1Ds MkIII with 70-200 telephoto (which is gigantic). I held back and security grabbed the guy and kicked him out of the club.

That’s also one reason why I never really go out in the crowds, too may drinks being spilled and the possibility of my (thankfully insured) camera getting attacked (or myself).

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

Practice as much as you can, Manual mode is the ultimate tool for learning photography. Also try to find your own style, don’t try to emulate someone else’s photos because you think they are cool. Work on your photos until it clicks in your head and you go “Ok, I want all my work to look like this and I don’t care what anyone else in the world thinks.”

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