When Vex Ruffin’s family moved from Northridge, California to the City of Parañaque in the Philippines, their first car was a Toyota LiteAce. Swooping around the thick Metro Manila traffic between colorful jeepneys and tricycles in the compact van left a strong impression on young Vex. The Toyota LiteAce was immensely popular in early 90s Manila — beloved for its durability and reliability — and enjoys an intense, affectionate following to this day. Vex’s family’s LiteAce would hold his parents upfront, and him and his three younger siblings behind as they cruised in comfort.
Fast forward three decades and Vex is raising two young boys with his wife in the Inland Empire while working two jobs. In between those responsibilities, he cooked up his third Stones Throw LP LiteAce Frequency at his kitchen table, a collection of songs influenced by 70s Manila Sound and Pinoy soul. Other ingredients like Japanese funk, Brazilian sounds, and hip-hop made their way into the recipe. “At my age, you start to reflect,” Vex says, “I’m going back to my roots, channelling that time, mixing nostalgia with how I am right now. ”
What is LiteAce Frequency? “It’s the vehicle that gets you going in the right direction. Hop in and tap into the LiteAce Frequency — it will guide you to the right path.”
“If you don't believe in yourself, that's a fear,” Vex says. “I think everyone is good at something. Everyone has a dream. Sometimes there’s a voice inside you that’s guiding you, and you don't follow it because of fear. This album is about going with your heart. Follow your heart. Self-love. Positive things. Believe in yourself. Going for it.”
Vex Ruffin also finds inspiration in one of his biggest passions — boxing. “Boxing is life. You get hit, you fall down, you get back up, you hit back, but all that matters is that you finish it. Keep coming, don’t stop no matter what.” He feels a close affinity with Bernard Hopkins: “As he got older, he got better. That's me. I'm not getting any younger, but I am getting better. Hopkins has many styles. He can adapt.”
LiteAce Frequency documents Vex’s growth from his first show, more than 10 years ago, in his friend’s backyard. “I’m more mature, more experienced. A lot more mellow. A lot more at peace,” he says.
He compares his music to a kale salad: “It's definitely organic. It’s healthy. There’s not much music like that — healthy music. I’m not perfect — not 100% positive all the time. But my goal is to be that positive influence. When I make the music, it's for myself first and foremost, but it's going to reach people. And it might help them. In the end, I hope that's what it does.”