With Mobilee crew returning to London in January, we decided to have a catch-up with Rodriguez Jr. Find out what he’s got planned for the forthcoming months, about his reaching back to his musical roots for inspiration, and how does he deal with the writer’s block…
Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the forthcoming 2015? Are there any new EPs or albums in the schedule?
I am currently finishing my forthcoming EP for Mobilee, which shall be released around March. There are also some remixes coming out soon: the first one I did for Miguel Migs on Defected, and another one for Stephan Bodzin on Systematic. I am also collecting ideas for an album. My last one ‘Bittersweet’ has been released three years ago already, so I feel the urge to spend more time in the studio and create new music with all the material I’ve collected while travelling.
It’s been over five years of your adventure with the Mobilee team. What are the best memories you have with the label?
That’s a lot of beautiful experiences, parties, travels. It’s amazing to see so many people coming to our parties and showcases for something that is beyond the music. That’s a state of mind. Or maybe life style. My best memories would be some of our showcases in Sonar or ADE.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? What’s your recipe for dealing with that?
Oh yes! I experience it a lot. And it’s getting worse when I have a short deadline or when I feel any pressure while producing. If things are really stuck, I don’t keep on fighting against myself, and prefer go out for a beer, read a book or listen to random radios or podcast. Vegging out on Facebook doesn’t make anything better. Luckily inspiration always comes back at some point. As I already mentioned, I use to collect ideas, sounds, melodies or lyrics in my laptop while travelling so I have quite a lot of material I can use as starting point.
You have been performing for years now, how has your music evolved since when you first began composing?
I feel like it’s getting much more mature and personal. I hope I have dealt with my early influences and managed to create my own sound: a blend of house, techno and electronica. It’s also much slower than it used to be back in the days. I recently discovered old live recordings from the late 90s, and most of my tracks exceed 140 bpm! It was pretty serious.
Can you tell us a little about the equipment you’re using?
I have a hybrid setup as I use a lot of old hardware machines, including classic boxes from Roland and synths from Moog, Korg, Yamaha, Studio Electronic… A lot of things I’ve collected through the years. They are a huge part of my creative process. I am also getting deeper into the modular stuff at the moment as all these ‘boutique’ modules open a world of new exciting possibilities. I record and mix everything in a computer running Logic, and Ableton, plus some plug-ins from Native Instruments, Arturia, Universal Audio… guess that’s probably what you can find in any studio nowadays. For my live performances it’s much more basic and compact: a laptop running Ableton, a couple of controllers, a Roland TR8 drum machine, and a keyboard which I use to improvise and trig patterns.
What are your current main influences?
Funnily enough, I’m taking a look back at my roots and my first influences at the moment: those early tracks from Detroit and Chicago – Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Underground Resistance. Also older European things, such as Tangerine Dream, Art Of Noise or Can. It’s always inspiring to check older material. No forward thinking creation is possible without deep roots in the past.
Apart from being a full-time artist, you are a full-time husband and father. How do you balance out the music career with family life?
I’ve learnt how to deal with a hangover and early wake up on Monday morning! That’s a fragile balance, but I feel like each side of my life complement the other one. I mean, my life as a father prevents me from getting totally nuts, and my life as a musician feeds me with great experiences I can share with my daughter.
Rodriguez Jr. (live)
Lee Van Dowski
William Kouam Djoko
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