Last Days of Pompeii, AKA Ru Stewart, is an Edinburgh based producer, DJ and record enthusiast. His DJ sets consist of classics, rare jams and forgotten gems from a diverse range of styles – in particular boogie, groove, house and disco. 

His latest EP Want My Love is a two-track outing for Edinburg-based Fresh Take Records, with remixes from Dan Be and Cedarwood State Trax. 

Hi Ru, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! How has the year been treating you so far? 

Hi guys! Thanks for having me! This year has been great so far. I tend to use the winter months as time to write as much music as possible so I’ve been in the studio a lot, played some awesome shows as well and I run a record cutting business which has been keeping me busy, so definitely can’t complain!

Where do you think the impulse to create music comes from for you?

Music’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember really – drums were my first instrument. I went to a music school then studied drums at music college. I’d been working as a drummer for different acts and it just got to the stage where I wanted to create my own music and that’s when the project started.  

Times have been hard for venues post-pandemic, but does Edinburgh still have a vibrant club scene? 

For sure, Edinburgh’s quite a small city in the grand scheme of things but the scene definitely packs a punch. You’ve got venues like Bongo, Sneakys, Mash House and Cab Vol, and nights like Club Nacht, Edinburgh Disco Lovers, Midnight Bass and Fly bringing some unreal guests to the city as well as supporting the local acts. I’ve found the sense of community with everyone involved with the club scene here is great as well, very welcoming and many many sound folk. 

We have to ask about the apocalyptic name – which maybe seems a little at odds to the feel-good music! Where did this come from? 

I know it does have a sense of impending doom about it doesn’t it. So I was ready to start hitting it with the project and was on the fence with a few different names, none of them were really resonating with me. Then I was just channel surfing and caught a presenter on some history show said something like, “and those were the last days of pompeii” and it just stuck. Turns out there was this mad mini TV series with the same name from ‘84, pure Brian Blessed in a toga vibes!

What is it about the blend of house and disco that especially appeals to you? 

I’ve been collecting records for a few years now and have a decent amount of boogie and late 70s/early 80s disco – I love harmonies and the instrumentation on those classic tunes, especially the soaring string lines they always hit hard. Then with house, for me it’s about blending those harmonies with the energy that you can make with a club track. When I’m working on a tune I always get excited thinking about how it’ll translate to the dance, cause that’s really what it’s all about. 

How did you hook up with Fresh Take for the new EP?

I released my debut EP “Make Me Believe” on Fresh Take back in 2021, so as soon as I’d finished “Want My Love” I sent them the tracks over as I thought it would be a great follow up. 

Tell us about your current studio set up – any particular bits of go-to kit you find yourself returning to? 

I tend to write most of my parts out the box, my creative process starts on the piano normally, I’ll work out a rough chord progression and some lead lines or stabs then for drums and perc I’ll set up a drum rack and record them live with my SPDSX and build the tune around that. I have a lot of synths in my studio but the 2 that I go back to are my Korg Poly 800 and Korg X5D – killer combo. 

What are some of the things you learned from working with other artists throughout your career?

Probably the best bit of advice I got was to just finish tunes and get them out there. I think a lot of people, myself included, when you first start making music get in their own heads about the tracks and this can be a real barrier. Also –  make bangers, do radio, collaborate with and support your local scene wherever possible. 

Which artists are currently exciting you? 

Austin Ato, Reyka and Shy One – they’re all putting out some incredible music right now.

What should we expect from you for the rest of 2023? 

Plenty more tunes, DJ sets and potentially a live show or two!