So many contradictions and so many questions. The first being…
One thing I’ve always wanted to ask: What does “Robsoul” mean? I get the “soul” part but who was “Rob”?
When I started the label I was not looking for a name with a special meaning, but just something that sounds great. Now the idea of “Robsoul” came from the bass player Robbie Shakespeare that I use to listen to.
After 10 years of releasing music, what’s easier and what’s harder than it used to be?
A lot of things have changed threw the last 10 years. Mostly with the “digital revolution”. The market for vinyl almost disappeared in term of quantities (300 copies is not so bad these days). It’s not easy to not lose money with vinyl on a new release. This is way harder than it used to be. Now the digital is the main market.
On another side, there’s way more music and producers these days. The quality of production is lower than it used to be (in general) because you don’t need to invest in a studio to make beats anymore. The promotion side is way easier now with all the new social networks.
It’s a balance. At the end of the day, the important thing is that I’m still able to release music.
There are trends in Europe that most folks in North America probably aren’t aware of (and… most Europeans aren’t aware folks in NA aren’t aware of). Your sound though has remained pretty consistent over the years. Do you think you pay the price in maintaining a kind of “purist” attitude toward House rather than bending to the latest dancefloor trends?
I can’t even start to think like that. I just do and release the music I love and my tastes are still the same since I got into House Music (with some evolution). I don’t make any compromises but if the trend is something I like then I will go with it. Until now, not really. I love what I do and I’m happy with what I do.
Joss Moog is now up to “Room 27” of his series of EPs for you. How many “rooms” does he intend to release??
Ahahah, we have no plan yet about that, but you know again music is the main thing for us. And on this side Joss Moog always come super dope. We’ve known each other since we were kids; we used to play sports together. Then we started to do music in 1998 (all kinds of music).
We are very close friends. A few years after he totally got into House Music and now he’s one of the best. He’s also a good DJ.
I want to address the matter of Spencer Kincy here, so we can clear the air. You recently released the Tribute EP with four tracks from his Cyclo Records release. I noticed you had a few releases of your own on Cyclo too. What was it about these tracks, and Spencer in general, that attracted you to this?
Ok, let me explain you how this project happened. First of all, I’m a big fan of Gemini (Spencer Kincy) and his music influenced me. On the other side, I’m friend with the owner of Cyclo (Philippe Marchal). My plan was to license some of my favorites from Cyclo catalog and do a tribute record. A lot of people are discovering Gemini with this Tribute EP.
I wrote a review of the track “Stuff Like That” and pointed out (after emailing you about it) that it was nearly identical to Spencer’s “Don’t Stop”. Sneak then wrote me a snotty email about it, claiming I had some kind of personal beef and I was a “hatter” [sic]. I didn’t and I don’t. You and I, though, haven’t discussed it after that email conversation. So I want to give you the opportunity – and I won’t edit a word – to explain your intention with “Stuff Like That”.
Ok! I’m gonna make it short… I love Gemini, I knew his track on Cajual from back in the day. I heard the original track he sampled then I did my thing with it. His track inspired me for sure.
I notice that your new Robsoul cut High Pressure Days are some new remixes of a pretty awesome synth-punk track from 1980. And it’s a split with a band from 20 years later called “Motel Connection” and their track “H.E.R.O.I.N.” It’s a pretty weird combination – where’d you get the idea to take this one on?
For me the combination of both bands is pretty cool. This is a “Phil Weeks Remixes” package of non-House Music. Initially both bands (or the people who owned the rights) contacted me for the remix. I’m friends with Motel Connection from Italy – they also make music as Krakatoa and we had some previous collaborations together (Robsoul 80). Since they were working on their new album, it was pretty obvious I would remix one of their singles.
With Units, Opilec Music (Gianluca Pandullo) who is also from Italy, licensed a lot of their work for a new package of remixes 20 years after. They let me choose any track from their catalog. The remixes were not supposed to come out on vinyl. A lot of people were asking me about those tracks (from my DJ sets) so I decided to release them.
You’re up to (by my count) six EPs and one full length album from Robsoul so far in 2011. What are you building up to next?
I will release few maxis with the remixes of my “Love Affair” album – remixes from DJ Sneak, Chris Simmonds, Phil Asher, DJ Wild, Chris Carrier, Gramophonedzie, Hector Moralez, Joss Moog & Around 7, Sonny Fodera, Dan Ghenacia & Dyed Soundorom, D’julz, Fries & Bridges and Inland Knights.
Also some EP’s by Tommy Largo, Craig Hamilton, DJ Sneak & Monoman, plus a few more on Robsoul Limited with various artists.