This week we have Berlin-based duo, Robosonic in for an exclusive SoundOf mix
First of all thanks for doing an exclusive mix for us, what did you go for in the mix? Is this a representation of what you play out now or more what you listen to at home?
Sacha: Hey guys! You're very welcome. The mix we made for you only features tracks that we were involved with in the production. We called this our 'Classics' mix, as it features some Robosonic remixes of (90s) classic house tracks like Eddie Amador's “House Music”, Gypsymen (aka Todd Terry) “Hear The Music”, Kerri Chandler “Hallelujah”, Slam Dunk'd (aka Arthur Baker, Dave 1 of Chromeo, Al P of MSTRKRFT) “No Price”, and Robosonic tracks like "Worst Love", "Life Is Like", "Good Old Feel" ft. Masta Ace. Also, we're premiering 2 originals that are being released on DFTD and Armada Deep soon. We play all those tracks in the club, but you can listen to them at home while making an omelette too!
For those who may be new to your music, how would you describe your sound?
Sacha: Undogmatic dance music with funk, fun, and a hip hop attitude. We're the opposite of chinstrokers, even though both Cord and I have academic backgrounds.
Cord: True. If it wasn’t Ministry of Sound asking but someone out of context, we might include words like house music, techno, bass. And although we don’t sound much like Detroit in it’s golden age of techno, I always liked the expression ‘high tech soul’.
How did you first get into music, when did you know you wanted to be DJs?
Cord: My parents have a cool record collection and a distinctive taste in music, but I would find out only a little later. Before that – at age 6 – in the time of early 90s pop and euro dance, they fortunately dragged me into quite horrible keyboard lessons, while my older sister played the drums. At some point I switched to her teacher Michael (R.I.P.), who taught me a lot about the fun and freestyle factor in music. So I was in touch with music theory, piano and a little bit with drums, too. Around age 15 I got hooked with Hip Hop culture, turntables and beatmaking. This was the crucial moment for my DJing career. Soon I released Downbeat, Breakbeat and Mashup vinyls, to play them out in little, rather rancid clubs. Moving to Berlin saw me crossing over to the four-to-the-floor heartbeat and the inspiring collaboration with Sacha gave my work the next professional twist and motivation to go pro. In University I did various courses in musicology and finished social sciences with a research project about “DJ culture in the digital revolution.” Then I consciously decided to dedicate my life to music and make a living from it.
Sacha: My sister is 11 years older than me and a classical pianist. When I was a kid, she practiced for like six hours a day, so I'd say she's my earliest influence and the reason why I started playing an instrument myself (the Cello at age seven or so). I was born and grew up in Brussels, Belgium where in my teens at around 1995, I got into techno, house, hip hop, drum n bass, garage and started raving on the weekends. I was so impressed by how Dave Clarke played, Jeff Mills, Green Velvet, DJ Sneak, DJ Funk, that I wanted to DJ myself. 20 years and a whole lot of hustle and work later, I still remember this time fondly, and I still love DJing as much as when I started – except that by now it has become more than just a passion, it's what I do!
What have you got coming up on the horizon?
Cord: Some of the stuff in the mix mentioned before is unreleased and just coming out soon. I’m really excited about more golden age rap collaborations. We have a record with the legendary Jeru the Damaja in the pipeline, to be released on Exploited. There is another big feature, which I can’t talk about yet but again someone from the league of living legends! And while touring Australia we teamed up with Purple Disco Machine for a record, a project that may be titled RPMD!
What do you think of the state of dance music at the minute?
Cord: Oh dear. How to judge this… It’s diverse as hell. There is money, power, respect, haha… There is good music and shitty stuff as it has been always and everwhere in music. We meet really good soulful people, true to the game and then you see a lot of big egos, greed, and multiple forms of sheer stupidity! We try to keep our karma in good health, so we don’t complain much and we normally do the dirty laundry in private, not so much in interviews.
Sacha: Life is like a box of chocolates...
Who are the most exciting underground artists that our readers might not have heard of, but who you think will be big names to come?
Sacha: I'm not sure I can answer that! I know many exciting talented young producers and experienced older producers who've been making music for years but didn't have a real break yet, who will hopefully all “make it” one day. There is so much music around, and I only know a small portion of the dance music that's out there. I can't predict who's going to be the next big thing - fans, media and the “music industry” decide on that right? There are kids getting a million plays on Soundcloud, and veteran producers trying out new things. Nobody knew Ten Walls a year ago but the guy's been making music for many years honing his skill... same as Claptone, Storm Queen, PDM, Shadowchild, Trevino etc. and that's just naming very few. More and more young producers are coming up, while the old school producers are still doing their thing, or making a comeback, sometimes very successfully, sometimes under different names. Claude Von Stroke just teamed up with Green Velvet for Get Real. I love CVS's music, and I've been a fan of Green Velvet forever - saw him play many times in the 90s, and he's still the bomb now! So yeah, no predictions apart from that it's going to be a crazy year for music for sure.
Cord: OK, just from top of my head. Fresh young talent Midas104 (URSL Records etc.) will take over the road which people like Stimming paved. Tube & Berger will be big. They have the skills and they are a consistent duo of two real personalities. Kotelett & Zadak are great DJs, I really hope they put out a game changing record at some point, so they get the chance to shine!
How do you find working as a duo, do you take it in turns to mix tracks in when preforming or are you working together?
Sacha: Usually I play a track, Cord plays a track, and so on! Back to back, never really prepared, always freestyle.
Cord: Yeah, some years ago, before we didn’t know each other so well, we screened promos together, had a mutual Beatport account, bought stuff together, prepared playlists. But today with much more experience we navigate our performances more on the fly. Of course it happens that we play split shows solo, then you have full control of musical flow. Both is great fun. But being on stage as a duo means also more personal interaction with the crowd.
I saw that you have your own ‘Robosonic Yellow’ Punchi towel scarves, how did this come about and what exactly are Punchi’s?
Cord: A side project of love. When I dance, and when I deejay I sweat and with our friend Kim – who actually designed a lot of our artwork some years ago – I was sharing a passion staying fresh. I bought a big stack of yellow towels back then for the gigs. At some point literally on the dance floor we thought about a more practical format and back home we simply couldn't buy the form we thought is best: long and narrow, like a scarf! So we took the risk and produced them, created an identity and formed a little label. I really insisted to make it a merchandise item for Robosonic, because this invention was too lovely. A unique useful give-away for promoters and friends, like other DJs or musicians, and a multifunction merch product for dedicated fans. Blood, sweat and tears, ever since!
Who are your biggest influences?
Sacha: The sun, the ocean, the universe. And DJ Funk haha.
Cord: What a wise, poetic answer. I always have to mention Helge Schneider for being a free, creative weirdo slash genius, who never compromised and always made a living of his incredible skill set.
What do you like to do on your day off, what’s a typical Sunday like for you?
Sacha: On my day off at home in Berlin, I like to chill and cook with my homies, watch a movie, make beats, sleep! A lot of sleep.
Cord: I like to do dirty things, like my laundry! Generally get inspired, write some music just for peace and balance, something nobody expects me to deliver…
How do you prepare for a gig?
Sacha: One or two Whiskey before hitting the stage, and I'm good!
Cord: One or two new tracks in my crate which I’m really excited about. Sometimes we cut edits or rearrange tracks. Recently I nearly made a whole remix, because I wanted to play out a Caribou song so badly!
Who are your dream collaborators, past or present?
Sacha: I'd like to make a tune with Aphex Twin.
Cord: With vocals by Q-Tip and London Grammar, or Cee Lo Green.
Tell us something we don’t know about Robosonic.
Sacha: Cord is allergic to citrus fruits! So stop serving him Pisco Sours guys.
Cord: Sacha is on a strict diet. But don’t stop serving him dessert!
Eddie Amador - "House Music" (Robosonic Remix)
Gypsymen - "Hear The Music" (Robosonic Remix)
Slam Dunk'd ft. Chromeo - "No Price" (Robosonic Remix)
Robosonic & Thabo Getsome - "Juicy"
Robosonic & K.E.E.N.E - "Waters"
Robosonic - "Life Is Like"
Kerri Chandler - "Hallelujah" (Robosonic Remix)
Robosonic - "Worst Love"
Robosonic ft. Masta Ace - "Good Old Feel"
Robosonic & Adana Twins - "La Fique"
Robosonic - "Dedicated"
Format:B - "Chunky" (Robosonic Remix)
Robosonic - "Wurd“