Jace Clayton Becomes DJ /rupture

Studio 360
The World

Jace Clayton is the philosopher-king of club DJs. He's a Harvard grad who used to review poetry, and made some tracks with poet Elizabeth Alexander. He's an ethnomusicologist who's fascinated by the way digital technology is taken up in different cultures. He designs software, including Sufi plugins that work with sound editing programs to create effects from Sufi music. Working as DJ /rupture, he makes mixes dense with disparate sounds and jam-packed with ideas: from traditional Berber music of North Africa to Jungle beats of the UK, to American hiphop, to musique concrete of midcentury France. He uses not two turntables but three – a DJ's equivalent of going up to 11. Kurt Andersen visits DJ /rupture at his home in Brooklyn and gets a lesson in the fundamentals of beat matching. (Watch the video.) Clayton was in college when he came under the spell of jungle, also known as drum and bass, the fast electronic dance music of the 1990s rave scene. But he found himself bored by the clubs in Boston. "It'd be one tempo, one style of music all night long, and I just felt that didn't reflect what I was as musician. I was like, I wanna rupture that dance floor, put a big hole in that." Just a few years out of college, Rupture put the three-turntable mix tape Gold Teeth Thief up on the internet. It went viral, became a critics darling, and he became a global presence. The German magazine De:Bug named him the best DJ in the world. Rupture explains that when it comes to finding sounds to mix, it's not enough to sit home and trawl the internet – sometimes you have to go get the CDs from the back of the clothing stall in the Moroccan bazaar.

Will you keep The World spinning?

Donations from listeners like you are absolutely crucial in funding the great music and human-centered global news you hear on The World. Recurring gifts provide predictable, sustainable support — letting our team focus on telling the stories you don’t hear anywhere else. If you make a gift of $100 or pledge $10/month we’ll send you a curated playlist highlighting some of the team's favorite music from the show Donate today to keep The World spinning.