A Sit Down With DJ Robbie Rivera
Robbie Rivera is an artist that has led a very strong career in electronic music. From the mega hits that he has produced to his energetic live DJ sets he has proven himself as a top tier artist. Beyond his own artistic influence, he has founded Juicy Records, that has released tracks and supported the careers of many of electronic music\s biggest names. Prior to his performance at Studio Paris we sat down to discuss his views on the music and look back at his successful career.
"If you can rock a crowd and have some originality to you set then go for it not just opening your set in Ableton and pressing play and throwing your hands in the air, which is a bit pathetic."
You grew up in Puerto Rico. Was there a house music culture when you were learning to spin and make beats, or were you dabbling in other music such as hip-hop?
No, I was definitely into dance music from the start. On the radio, jocks would play a lot of European house tunes and British electronic music, like Depeche Mode. Other stations would play Latin freestyle music from New York City. It was a mixture. There was a lot of dance music over there. Put it this way: If you listened to dance music, you were cool. If you listened to Latin or meringue or salsa, you were not cool.
Your intro to electronic music and the DJ culture came at a young age when you were still living in Puerto Rico. What was the culture like in Puerto Rico like at the time and what kind of an impact do you think it had on you as an artist?
Man in Puerto Rico back in the day when I started was very different. A lot of the music was coming from Europe so there was a lot of Euro vibe kind of music mixed in with all of the freestyle from Miami, New York and Chicago, so it was a mixture of everything, along with the Latin music too. I think it really was that whole mixture that had influenced me a lot when I produce music. There is always a little Latin vibe in there.
What does house music mean to you?
Its all about the groove and the beats mixed in with the uplifting vibe that it creates. People dance and smile to house music.
Looking at electronic music as a whole, Do you think the music has gone in a positive direction?
Right now we are in a great moment. There is a lot of great music coming out especially in House, Techno, Tech House, and Deep House. All of those genres of music have been fantastic. Over the last few years all of the Electro and progressive house just got saturated, you know, I do like that style of music, but everything has started to sound the same so I just stopped paying attention to it, and I think a lot of people did. That is why so many people are looking for new tracks and people are loving house music again, which is great.
What inspired you to to begin your journey with DJing and the electronic dance music world?
I was very young! My first DJ gig was in 6th grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first time I mixed two tracks together on beat I was hooked and I started to think a lot about music production. Then in 2001, performing my music to fans and seeing the reaction with my early releases really inspired me to make this a full time career.
Aside from dance music, what other styles of music or artists do you enjoy listening to?
I listen to a lot of 90s track and late 80s mixed with todays . A mix of latin, pop, electronic and alternative. Examples: Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Disclosure, New Order, Netsky, Metric, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Walk the Moon, Robin Schulz, Coldplay, Gorgon City.
You have traveled all over the world playing dance music for screaming fans for many years. In all of your travels, what are some of your favorite places to visit?
I would say Spain is on the top of my list. Ibiza and Barcelona are always huge for me, but also so many cities in the U.S. It is hard to choose. I love rocking Miami!
Youve produced a vast amount of music over the years, can you recall one of your earliest tracks that is really special to you?
Yes the track is called feel this. I was inspired by Danny Tenaglias dark tribal grooves so after laying down the grooves and finishing the track I knew I had something special. Its a track that is still played this day specially with the techno DJs. I remember speaking to Danny about this track after is was released on Strictly Rhythm. It was a great chat.
Who are your role models in the music industry?
When I started producing music I was influenced by artists like Armand Van Helden, DJ Sneak, Daft Punk. In the current industry I dont have any role models cause this biz has become a crazy nasty one!
What advice would you give to someone new to this genre, who hasn't heard your music before? How would you sell it'?
Well I don't want to sell myself here. I would say just listen to the music, maybe check out the scene at a live event, and decide what speaks to you.
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