Interview: Rodriguez Jr.

Interview: Rodriguez Jr.

Interview: Rodriguez Jr.

by October 6, 2017

Hey Olivier, nice to have you and Welcome to Underground Tel Aviv !

Q. Your productions and live shows are amazing, you’ve been nominated for best live act in Ibiza DJ Awards 2017, congrats for that. How long are you producing and what can you tell us about your early days of your career ?

A. Thanks! I started producing back in the 90s with an Atari computer, a Roland synthesizer and couple of guitar stomp boxes. I feel like a dinosaur when I think about that these days. Although, my career properly started a few years later, thanks to my band the Youngsters and my first release on Laurent Garnier’s imprint F-Communications. So many experiences, travels and great memories between these early days and the DJ Awards you’re mentioning. I can’t believe time has been running so fast.

Q. What can you tell us about your latest album Baobab, how long did you work on it and is there a story behind it ?

A. ‘Baobab’ is about my roots. I wanted to connect back with the energy I used to feel when I started producing. Though, there is no kind of nostalgia involved. Nostalgia kills creativity. My challenge was to create something fresh and forward thinking with these influences from the past. Looking back over my shoulder helped me to understand who I am and where I want to go. I had a picture in mind of an old tree growing up in a tough environment thanks to it’s roots, this is why I decided to call it Baobab.
Recording this album has been quite a long and tough process. I wrote it whilst travelling so it’s been kind of hectic. Touring, experimenting in the studio, producing, mixing down … I actually didn’t realize how this album would be such a landmark for me, as much music wise than in my private life. It’s been a life changing experience.

Q. Do you produce while on the road ? If so how’s that working for you comparing to producing in your studio ?

A. I used to collect lots of ideas whilst traveling: melodies, sounds, lyrics, beats. Although, I need to be in my studio for developing and finalising things. That’s a special environment I know very well, with all my synths which I still use a lot for producing. I am not a laptop producer as I have quite an old school workflow. I need to connect with the sounds, turning knobs, feeling the electricity going through my machines. Producing is a sensual process.

Q. What are the preparations you’re doing before a live show? do you have a lot of rehearsals ?

A. I prepare each Ableton session in the studio, but I don’t rehearse so much. Each gig is the rehearsal for the next one! The energy coming from the crowd pushes me to take risks – this is always how the best ideas pop up. Sometimes, when the energy is right, I can even stop my computer and improvise something from scratch with the drum machine and the keyboard.

Q. What can you tell us about your live setup ?

A. I try to keep it compact because I much prefer interacting with a few pieces of equipments I know very well than being lost with loads of of gadgets. It’s basically a laptop computer running Ableton Live, a couple of controllers, a Roland TR8 drum machine, and a keyboard.

Q. What advice can you give to aspiring producers?

A. Just feel free to do whatever you really love. Forget about genres. Experiment. The most difficult thing for aspiring producers is actually to be themselves. Everything is way too formatted and calibrated in genres. There are thousands of aspiring producers, DJs… the only way to stand out is actually to be yourself.

Q. Which track or song reminds you of your childhood?

A. Anything from Kraftwerk or the first Jean Michel Jarre’s albums, Depeche Mode… I was already mesmerised by electronic soundscapes!

Q. We know that you’ll be performing on the 7th of October at the Grand Factory in Beirut, How many times you’ve been to the middle east and where? and how can you describe the feeling performing in the middle east, is it different from other places ?

A. I’ve played quite a lot of times in the Middle East – Lebanon, Israel, The Emirates … There is definitely something different in the air, some kind of poetry and magic. It might be related to the light, the smells, the food… All of of these ticklish senses and make people nice and enthusiastic.

Thank you for spending the time to let our readers know more about your music and thoughts!

Rodriguez Jr. and Liset live performance on the cliffs of Normandie, presented by Cercle: