Every Gymboxer knows we take sweating very seriously. So it’s only fair that we give you a serious soundtrack to match, right? When DJ T-Russ is in residence, you’re in a safe pair of hands. A regular face on the fitness circuit, he’s fuelled the vibe at events for big sports brands, football clubs and London’s very best gyms (hi) – so this is a guy who knows how to get you pumped. How? We, sent resident blogger Kat to find out…
First off, how long have you been DJing for?
For more than 15 years, I know that much! Ever since I was in year 10, that’s when I started. I started in the UK Garage scene.
What got you into DJing in the first place?
It’s in the family, firstly. My Dad’s a DJ, and I found out later that my Grandad was a DJ, so it’s in my veins! I guess that was an influence.
Once I was a certain age I started to get more involved with music, and I saw friends getting more involved...then there was the MCing and DJing thing going on. I was intrigued as to what it was about. I tried it at my friend’s house once and from there I bought decks and I went for it!
What type of music influenced you most when you first started out?
It would have been UK Garage, and it evolved from there. UK Garage was the easiest thing for me to get hold of, in terms of vinyl, and it was a bit cheaper so that’s why I started with that.
Then it went from that to being more digital, which is when I started doing more R&B and Hip Hop.
Were you able to get into DJing full time from an early age?
It was a hobby to start off with. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I enjoyed it...
Then I started getting bookings. I remember getting my first one. I don’t know why or how I got it, but I seemed to be good enough to get one! Someone said “can you do this?” and I thought “alright, cool.”
So I adjusted myself to be able to cater for a party, and that’s where it kicked off - recommendation after recommendation [is how] it kind of worked from that point onwards.
It became so much more than just a hobby after that really. It just grew and grew, to the point where I realised “oh, I have a talent! Who would have known?!” [laughs]
Where do you play now aside from Gymbox? Do you have any residencies?
Excluding Gymbox, I DJ at F45. I also do Nike! I do a lot of brand events as opposed to clubs, most of the time.
I have Nike, NFL...I do different brands seasonally, but those are my main ones. I also do stuff for Puma and Arsenal.
What does that actually involve, working for a brand like Arsenal?
I DJ when they have events on. The last event I did for Arsenal was when Puma and Arsenal collaborated to do a games competition, so I DJed for that!
It’s fun to do, and it’s a bit different from a club set-up.
What’s been one of the coolest events you’ve played, or one that’s really stuck in your mind?
Oh there’s been so many! I guess it would be the Playoffs, which is something F45 do. It’s basically a whole lot of dance and gym sessions in a festival. It’s a very festival kind of atmosphere.
That’s probably one of my highlights of the last few years. That and the NFL! The NFL is just packed with people, it’s very festive and really enjoyable. I’m part of the tailgate, which is where everyone goes before and after the game, where they buy their jersey, where they see the cheerleaders...it’s a whole experience before and after the game I guess!
Do you still play at clubs or bars?
I play for Revolutions in Brighton, sometimes I play for Revolutions in Clapham. I also had a booking in Austria, so I’ve been out there to play a club before. I’ve done a few venues in central, like Charlie’s in Mayfair. The best way to know where I’ll be DJing is to follow me on social media.
What is your favourite thing about being a DJ?
The feedback! The feedback live, the feedback after a set with people coming to me and saying they’ve been dancing in the shower [at Gymbox] or dancing to a CD I’ve made. That’s probably the main part for me.
It’s all about the people. It’s about making sure they enjoy themselves. The money is very much secondary to that. I just enjoy seeing people enjoy themselves, and being the one creating that experience.
Do you change your sets depending on the reactions you see from people?
With me, a lot of my sets are quite customised, so I don’t necessarily play by a playlist, I work with what I see. Of course, I have ideas of where I’m going to start and what I’ll do here and there, but the main thing for me is feeding off of what I’m seeing. And it works!
Do you have specific genres you like to play at Gymbox?
I think that what people find unique about me is that I do jump between genres. The staff tell me they like that I do that.
...I mix it up and customise what I play for every crowd that I have. I don’t have a set way or just play what I want. I think I’m quite good at sussing out what to play for the crowd.
It means I’m less repetitive for sure, and that’s what I try to avoid: being the same person I was on Monday, or the same person I was last week!
What is your favourite thing about DJing at Gymbox?
The feedback is probably my favourite part! And I love the people. They all come here for the same thing and they’re all cool people. They show love for the music and they show respect to the DJ.
The environment is always nice and the staff are my favorite people. Every time I come in, they cheer! Both the staff and the members here, they’re all great.