Home » Mikey Rukus Talks About Being The Man Behind AEW”s Music

Mikey Rukus Talks About Being The Man Behind AEW”s Music

by Manilla Greg
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The very first picture Mikey Rukus can keep in mind from his childhood is watching an irate Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka assault Don Muraco after the bell at Madison Square Garden in 1983. That arrange one of many signature moments in skilled wrestling historical past — with Snuka’s splash from the highest of a metal cage — but it surely additionally set in movement Rukus’s collision course to turn into All Elite Wrestling’s first music producer and director.

Rukus had a relationship with music from an early age, studying to play guitar, becoming a member of the marching band, and making an attempt out completely different types of music after highschool. When he explored a profession in music manufacturing for sports activities, he noticed WWE as a gated neighborhood, so he examined the waters in MMA.

“I wasn’t even that good at it again then,” Rukus tells Uproxx Sports. “I used to be simply sort of taking a stab at it, seeing how this could work. But having the ability to study with each interplay methods to decipher what they’re in search of and having the ability to present an answer for an issue that they’ve, there’s plenty of success inside that.”

Rukus networked with newbie and regional fighters as a aspect hustle whereas working as a retail supervisor. Within the primary two years, he was placing in 60 hours per week on the retailer and dealing 20-30 hours per week on his music. That work paid off, as he had his music featured on the UFC, in a while NBC Sports, and did a number of impartial movies.

When AEW was formally fashioned, Rukus noticed the promotion’s improvement as an ideal match. He managed to seek out connections inside the promotion and obtained a trial run growing a theme for Nyla Rose. He submitted that inside 24 hours, and weeks later joined the corporate.

Over the years, Rukus has discovered to turn into affected person with the adoption of the theme songs he creates. That wasn’t essentially the case when he first joined the corporate although.

“I feel probably the most troublesome half for me was not beating myself up as a lot as I did to start with,” Rukus says. “I used to really feel like once I first obtained right here, just like the followers are going to hate me, they’re going to hate the music, and I’m going to be checked out as a joke, and I’m going to get up tomorrow and I’m not going to have a job. That was my greatest hurdle within the very starting.”

For Rukus, the turning level in his time with AEW got here with Sting’s arrival.

“When you have a look at it when it comes to iconic figures in our sport, (Sting is) positively up there,” Rukus says. “Having that chance to create one thing and make an announcement and know that every time he’s on display, you’re going to get time, it’s going to have time to bake into folks’s psyche. It’s going to have time for folks to eat and actually join and to inform that story. So I feel that figuring out that was going to be the case, I assume you may say all the celebs aligned for that one. It modified issues for me. Knowing that if I could make one thing at this stage, at this second, I do know that I can do this for everyone. And then once we had it occur once more with Adam Cole, it’s in all probability certainly one of our greatest songs thus far.”

Adam Cole

Now he understands that every second is like catching lighting in a bottle that wants the correct expertise, the correct platform, the correct time, and the correct music to work. Waiting to see fan reactions isn’t as a lot nerve-wracking nervousness as it’s pleasure to see how they join with the music and character.

“With Steve Austin’s music, the glass breaking didn’t turn into a factor for some time, but it surely was allowed to be cultivated to the purpose the place folks have been anticipating it. You programmed the group to anticipate what’s coming and then you definitely get the response that you just get, however all of these issues need to sort of tie into it,” Rukus says.

“You need each observe to be as nice because it probably can, however I don’t deal with like that is going to be the one, that is going to be the factor that’s the subsequent massive factor. When you attempt to try this, then you find yourself falling quick on a regular basis. You have to permit the method to domesticate, and plenty of it once more, comes all the way down to the sum of all elements working as one.”

With time additionally got here Rukus’s skill to separate his work from the legendary Jim Johnston. Like most children who grew up within the golden period of wrestling, Rukus factors again to the “godfather, the primary, and the best” relating to Johnston’s affect on professional wrestling’s iconic theme songs. Rukus, nevertheless, says he’s moved on from being in Johnston’s shadow as he’s carved out his personal distinctive physique of labor.

“You need to get to some extent to the place it’s like, I’m not making an attempt to be this particular person. I’m simply making an attempt to inform the very best tales that I can. And then in a while, when folks look again on the library of labor I’ve achieved, then they will use that to check and distinction,” Rukus says.

“I removed that mentality of feeling like I used to be in someone’s shadow a very long time in the past. And I need to say possibly it was with the Sting factor, quite a bit modified for me personally in how I strategy issues after that evening. And once more, I felt like I used to be house. I’ve cemented my very own individuality. Now I can transfer ahead and simply deal with telling the very best tales doable. And being progressive and simply study as a lot as I can constantly.”

Jamie Hayter Britt Baker

Firmly in his groove with AEW, Rukus has had a stellar 2023. As he rounds out the 12 months, he’s posted chart toppers all over the world, from Adam Cole’s theme reaching No. 1 in Panama to his private favourite, the HayterRave changing into a high hit within the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. But indubitably the factor he’s most happy with from the final 12 months is rolling out the 30 minute HayterRave.

“It’s so loopy as a result of Britt Baker and I have been sort of chatting backwards and forwards and we have been speaking about mashing up their themes, Jamie’s and her theme. And we have been speaking about whether or not that may work on TV as a result of actually, they’re two, regardless that they’re a crew, they’re two separate entities that ought to be receiving two separate pops. So we determined to carry off on it, however I believed there’s one thing right here,” Rukus says.

“And then Jamie was wrestling one evening and I simply had a throwaway tweet possibly it’s time to make a 30 minute rendition of Jamie Hayter’s theme. And that tweet simply went loopy. I used to be like, effectively, possibly we now have one thing right here. So I made a decision I don’t need to simply loop Jamie Hayter’s theme for half-hour. Let’s return into our library and see how we will reimagine among the extra in style songs that we now have in AEW authentic music. I had by no means achieved something like that earlier than, ever, and it was like 4 months value of labor. That by far was my massive achievement for this 12 months. And there’s been talks of probably a Part Two. I received’t get too far into it, however I’m contemplating some completely different approaches for Volume Two.”

Looking again, Rukus by no means thought there could be a spot like this rising up. But as he approaches 2024, he’s grateful for the alternatives and is continually trying to broaden his attain exterior of AEW programming.

“I actually need to deal with the enlargement of our music base,” Rukus continues. “Not simply the precise music that you just hear on wrestling programming, however having the ability to hear it in numerous mediums, whether or not or not it’s sporting occasions, tv advert campaigns, issues like that. I would like to have the ability to impression schooling. I would like younger folks to be impressed by the music that we create, I would like to have the ability to encourage those that manner and, and simply actually actually hit on the coronary heart of what storytelling is in an audio format.”

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