Here’s where you won’t find Leeds-born Chris Mercer, known worldwide as electro-dubstep DJ/producer Rusko: at the microwave. The 27-year-old musician knows what’s good for him, especially since moving to LA about 3 years ago. And bam, just like that: no more coffee, personal yoga instructor and veggies on the grill. And Oreos in his pancakes. And pig skin turned into popcorn. And a minimum of four eggs a day.
Okay maybe Rusko’s not a health freak, but when you’re on the road as often as he is, you develop an unwavering knowledge of what (and where) really good food is. I sat down with him right before his set at Electric Zoo, where I revealed to his great delight there was a lobster truck just a stone’s throw away.
I always ask people from the UK if they’re tea drinkers. How do you take yours?
I recently switched from caffeinated tea to natural herbal chamomile tea. I know it’s not very English; I’m too healthy. I used to drink loads and loads of tea and coffee and get really bad stomachaches, so I switched to chamomile and mint. It’s a California super-hippie thing. It’s made me more chill. I’m pretty chill anyway but it’s really nice cause I don’t get any more stomachaches.
What are 3 staples that are always in your fridge?
Shrimp — I always have cooked shrimp ’cause I like to put it in sandwiches and stuff; avocados; and eggs. I eat a lot of eggs and make a lot of pancakes.
What’s the best thing you cook?
Probably Oreo pancakes.
Wow, I’m going to have to get that recipe from you. What was the last meal you made at home?
Chicken pot pie from scratch with a biscuit topping and mashed potatoes — that was pretty cool. It was like a deconstructed chicken pot pie. I made the filling separately and then baked really thin biscuits and rested them on top.
Do you take photos of your food?
Yeah, quite often.
What’s your favorite spot to eat in your hometown of Leeds?
In Leeds? Oh wow. I would probably say Aagrah for Indian food. I usually get a lamb balti. I like balti because it’s been cooked for longer; the sauce is two days in the making, the spices are roasted. And some coconut chutney.
If you had the craziest munchies in the world, what would you be eating?
Probably pancakes or brownies. I make a lot of brownies — mocha brownies.
What’s something on your tour rider you can’t live without?
Eggs. I have to have a hot plate on the bus cause I make boiled eggs every morning. I have four hard-boiled eggs inside two avocados. I’ve gotta have power when I’m on tour so that’s my tour power breakfast.
Do you have any other quirky dietary habits?
Besides eating eggs every day I’m just a dairy freak really. Drink lots of milk, eat lots of yogurt and cheese — a LOT of dairy. A lot. So I always get really bad phlegm. I’ll be trying to talk over the mike and I’m all gross.
What’s your favorite food city in the world?
Probably London. I’m a big fan of Indian food. Brick Lane in London is like heaven to me. In the states, Chicago. My favorite restaurant there is Blackbird. It’s really fantastic. They’ve really got the molecular gastronomy thing going on. I’m kind of annoyed that foie gras has been banned in California now. That was a big disappointment to me. There’s a restaurant in LA called Providence that used to do foie gras with egg yolks on top and just…oh wow. How do I go onstage and play after doing this interview?
Any artists you’ve worked with who are also super into food?
Switch [one-half of Major Lazer]. We both moved from the same area of London and moved to the same part of LA about the same time and he’s an amazing, amazing chef. He’ll call me up to come around because he got some really great farm-fresh vegetables. He’ll text, “I just got the best bag of vegetables, gonna put them on the grill.”
What’s the first thing you want to eat when you finish a show?
Tacos. Just some really fatty beef with lots of …fat.
Are you into the tongue?
I am into the tongue, I am down with the lengua, I love that. I need tacos right now! I tried to find a spot last night. Outta luck.
You can’t even compare the Mexican food here with the glory in LA.
Yeah there’s this instant when you’re at a bar, you’ve had a few beers, you come out and…burrito! It’s just logical.
What was the last best thing you ate?
Bacon popcorn. Little pieces of bacon fat cooked so they’re like, really really light. Almost like pork rind, but popped. Oh my god, bacon popcorn. That’s bomb. Americans love bacon. Bacon’s like the national food of America.
Your bacon’s different from our bacon.
True, and I do miss English bacon. Oh wow, I’m so hungry right now. How much time til I have to go on? No, I can’t eat before I play or I’ll go too slow. A giant meal right now would kill me.
I’ll grab you something. Want a lobster roll?
Oh my god there are lobster rolls? Is there a lobster truck? (to publicist) Can I go get a lobster roll?
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