• Alexander Richter
  • Alex Fruchter

Late last week Ruby Hornet editor-in-chief Alex Fruchter (aka DJ RTC) sent me an e-mail with a subject line that took me a couple minutes to process: “Leaving Ruby Hornet.” Fruchter is hardly the only person who has contributed to the popular local rap site and he’s had plenty of projects separate from his editor duties, but I’ve long considered Ruby Hornet and Fruchter to be inseparable.

Fruchter decided to leave Ruby Hornet to focus his time and energy on one of his other projects—Closed Sessions. That name should sound familiar to local rap fans; since 2009 Ruby Hornet and Soundscape Studios owner and chief engineer Michael Kolar have brought touring rappers into Soundscape to record over homegrown beats. Closed Sessions began as a multimedia endeavor, with Fruchter and Kolar releasing minidocumentaries of the recording process to coincide with whatever music came out of each session. The pair have released a slew of tunes including a compilation recorded at SXSW called Closed Sessions: ATX, which they released in 2011 through New York indie label Decon (also check out Miles Raymer’s feature on that collection, “A Hornet’s Nest at South By Southwest“).

Last year Kolar and Fruchter decided to turn Closed Sessions into a full-fledged indie hip-hop label; the pair have since released a third Closed Sessions compilation and signed their first act, Alex Wiley. With the label picking up steam Fruchter decided to focus his time and energy on building it into a world-class indie imprint grounded in Chicago’s hip-hop scene. I met up with him on Saturday—just one day after he formally announced his departure from Ruby Hornet via a post on the blog—to discuss the end of his time as a rap blogger, the idea of building a record label in 2013, and what he hopes to accomplish with Closed Sessions.