One of the world's premier DJs and Producer's tells us to 'Dance or Die'...
Welcome Robbie to the DMCWORLD
“Thank YOU, it's an honour.”
‘Dance or Die’ is the latest album project which you have split into 4 EPs, your first EP includes ‘Ding Dong’ where the new remixes have seen you back in The Buzz Chart - talk us through the EPs...
“At first I wanted to do a full album that included 10 to 12 tracks. However, after discussing with my management and wife, we agreed that a Series consisting of several EP's would get me more exposure and keep the fans excited about what's coming up next . Part 1 has done very well worldwide and now we are planning the remixes. This is the way we planned it: First we release 3 tracks and then, one month later the remixes. In the first EP, I produced a track with Tommy Lee, Aero and Sue Cho called Ding Dong. Two weeks ago, we released the remix package with BassJackers, Stefano Pain vs Marcel, Hypster and Coucheron. The next 2 EP's will include collaborations with Roger Sanchez, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Spencer & Hill, Wynter Gordon, Tocadisco, Ultra Nate and Jes.”
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1973, you bought two turntables and taught yourself to DJ. Can you remember how much you paid for them?
“Yes! I could not afford the Technics brand so I got the Numark decks for 150 dollars back when I was 13 years old (that was a while ago).”
What music where you into back in the day that got you loving house music?
“I was into British bands such as New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds. I also got into early dance tracks by Little Louie Vega, David Morales, Erick Morillo, Armand Van Helden and, later, Daft Punk.”
Moving to Florida, you studied at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale studying music production. What were the most important parts of your education there that you learnt?
“I was taught to use Protools and Studio Vision from Opcode. Protools had just been released and it was the year of introduction of digital audio workstations (1992). Producers have it easy now! Back in the day, it was a lot of work to get tracks sounding the way they sound now. Using MIDI and a computer to sync up was a pain in the ass sometimes. I also learned automation using SSL mixing boards. Can you imagine doing a house tune with an SSL mixing board with 100 channels?! That wouldn't even fit in my room!”
You have homes in Miami and Ibiza. Surely being in a different environment sees a different sound being created from your studio in each place?
“I have noticed that I tend to make banging, harder sounds in Miami and more proggy happy tunes in Ibiza. Ibiza is very calm and laid-back. Miami/USA environment makes you wanna work hard and be the best, that is why I live here most of the year. I like Ibiza to unwind, relax and play.”
What are the big 10 tunes you are spinning right now?
1. Robbie Rivera, Tommy Lee, Aero - Ding Dong (Stefano Pain vs Marcel mix)
2. Robbie Rivera-flying eggs-Dub of doom, Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso - The Calling
3. CirezD - Mokba
4. The Cube Guys - Torero
5. Dero - De Puta Madre
6. Nervo - We Are All One
7. David Guetta & Afrojack - Lunar
8. Laidback Luke vs Example - Natural Disaster
9. Robbie Rivera feat. Wynter Gordon - In The Morning
10.Rune RK - Animal
Best festival of 2011?
“Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Electric Zoo in NYC.”
Can you remember when was the first time in your career that you thought, hey Robbie, you may have something going on here!
“Yes, it is still crystal clear in my mind when, in 1998, Erick Morillo called me and told me that he wanted to pick up my filtered-disco-sampled tune called ‘Nothing to Offer’. Also when Benny Benassi, Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso told me they got inspired to make music after they heard my tune ‘Funkatron’. I kind of figured out that, perhaps, I had some talent!”
Your discography takes an hour to read! Some of it overground, some of it underground. How difficult is it to keep that balance that still sees you in demand in both markets?
“This is hard! You need that song on the he radio as it gets you more gigs and more money but you also want the purists happy with the underground sounds. Right now I just do whatever I want at the moment. I am currently producing more underground tracks.”
What has been your anthem of the summer?
“Sander Van Doorn – ‘KOKO’.
Your Juicy Music brand that you set up with your wife Monica is a very important part of your life. I have lost my marbles many a year on Nikki Beach in Miami. We hear expansion plans are in place for the Juicy party 2012?
“Yes! We are working on a killer line up for next year and, perhaps, a very good surprise guest! We have had everybody but the kitchen sink play in the last five years from SHM (before they were called that), Deadmau5 (before he started wearing the mouse head), Dirty South, Bob Sinclar (the year of his worldwide hit ‘World Hold On’), Benni Benassi, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero, Stonebridge to mention but a few. It's a great event and it's actually a lot of fun to produce as well!”
What was the vibe behind the Juicy Ibiza 2011 compilation?
“Every year I release a summer compilation. I like to combine all the great sounds of EDM so it is sometimes challenging. This year I got the best comments from fans about the tracklist and also it was top 20 on many countries on iTunes which makes me very happy.”
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
“My Dad always told me to say "yes" to your wife for everything because a "Happy wife equals Happy Life". It's true. It's a good thing that my wife never makes it difficult to say yes to her.”
You are also back in The Buzz Chart with the mix of Guru Josh's 'Infinity' - have you ever met this absolute madman? I have some great stories about Mr Josh…
“Yeah we hung out one day this summer in Ibiza. He was pretty normal to me! A bit out there but a cool guy!”
So we rock on back to yours after a club, what 10 Back To Mine tunes do you spin to chill us out?
1. Shakedown - At Night
2. Moby- Porcelain
3. Bob Marley-Could You Be Loved?
4. Empire of the Sun - We Are The People
5. The Doors - Riders On The Storm
6. KOT - Finally
7. The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil
8. The Cure - Lovesong
9. Bob Sinclar - Love Generation
10. Metallica - Nothing Else Matters
'Bang' was a No. 1 hit in 2000 hitting No 1. in the UK dance charts, got you on Top of The Pops, MTV and was even featured at the Sydney Olympics. Did you know the tune was going to be so big when you made it?
“I had no IDEA! I knew it was a happy piano anthem and the crowds loved it when I played it. You just never know what the radio is going to support.”
What has been the best club you have ever played at?
“I can never narrow it down to one club but I love Pacha in NY, Space in Miami, Amnesia Ibiza, Space Ibiza, Guvernment Toronto and Avalon, L.A. Impossible for me to pick one.”
Have you ever been arrested?
Which DJs do you really enjoy spinning alongside?
“Roger Sanchez, Tiesto and Benny Benassi.”
What is your greatest weakness?
“Ice cream and my dog(s). I used to have two dogs but now it's just Roxy. Archie was with us for 13 years and passed away last January. I miss him every day. Roxy is the loveliest dog and I cannot resist her face. I spoil dogs too much, I truly become weak. My wife is the one that trains them and is always telling me to stop spoiling them. Otherwise, if it were for me, we would have little Tasmanian devils instead of dogs.”
You have remixed some huge names; Madonna, Kylie, David Guetta, Pink, Basement Jaxx and Steve Angello to name but a few. Who did you have most fun remixing and what do you think has been your finest re-work?
“I had a lot of fun remixing Basement Jaxx's ‘Raindrops’ and ‘Do Your Thing’. I love their work and my style works perfect with their own. I am very proud of a remix I did years ago for Santana called ‘Dirty Dancing’. Recently, I remixed Mory Kante's ‘Yeke Yeke’. I was very pleased with the results and people go nuts whenever I play it be it from my generation or younger. It's a great remix!”
Did you get a lot of opportunity to chill in Ibiza this long, hot summer?
“Yes, big time. I took a break from touring so I had 60 days of beach, pool, boating and partying! My highlight, besides the never-gets-old watching the sunset from my friend's boat, was having dinner at LIO with Monica, Roger Sanchez and Jermaine and then partying to Luciano's beats at L'Elephant. It's always a good time whenever Roger and Jermaine are around.”
When are where have you been happiest?
“In my pool in Ibiza with Monica and my dogs swimming, tanning and cooking some good BBQ.”
What one song can't you get out of your head at the moment?
What's your vice?
Again, ice cream.”
What one artist out there you haven't got your hands on yet would you like to work with in the studio?
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs/producers out there reading this?
“Be original, stop copying others. It's hard I know, but one day someone important will appreciate it.”
What is your perfect Sunday?
“When I get to wake up at home and not in a hotel.”
Who have been your biggest influences in your life, musically and personally?
“Life: My father. Personally: My wife. Musically: Armand Van Helden.”
And finally - what have you got studio wise in 2012 for us Rivera fans?
“We will be releasing ‘Dance Or Die’ parts 3 & 4, producing Juicy Beach 2012 and then some.”