Five Questions With Rodriguez Jr.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with mobilee and how it started—I hear there’s a good story behind it.

I first met Anja and Ralf quite some time ago when I was touring with my other project The Youngsters. We went to Anja’s radio show „Dance Under the Blue Moon“ for an interview and a live mix session. After that we did a couple gigs together with Anja and had a lot of fun touring around Germany and ended up doing a remix for Anja’s very first EP. Germany actually still remains my favorite place to play at the moment—the scene is definitely the most exciting and I love the vibes in all the different clubs…Watergate, Berghain, Weekend…I could play there every week (laughs).

Definitely. Can you talk a little bit more about why you decided to start working under the Rodriguez Jr. moniker and how it differs from your previous project, The Youngsters?

Well, you know, when you're in a band you always have to compromise and Rodriguez Jr. is a way to escape this and work within my own universe, with my own recipes and my own influences. I think the sound of Rodriguez Jr. is quite introverted, intimate and personal whereas The Youngsters are much more extroverted and audience-oriented. I mean, in a way both draw on similar influences—particularly those from Detroit—but I use them in a very different way for each project.

Speaking of influences, who would you say are your big ones?

I love a messy mix of things: Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson and the melancholic sounds of Detroit but also a lot of the sexier flavors from Chicago and the early house music scene. In terms of more contemporary stuff, I find myself fascinated by artists like Villalobos and Luciano. I’m also a big fan of the early stuff on Warp—Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, etc.—from a melodic perspective.

Going back to the idea of this Rodriguez Jr. moniker, is there a particular relationship between the name and the music you create?

Well, in a way the main idea behind the project was produce music in a fresh and personal way and the name kind of reflects that. My father is Spanish and I knew I wanted to integrate a Spanish name—Luciano and Martinez were already taken (laughs). And the “Jr.” part is a nod to The Youngsters. So I think the name definitely reflects my history, both personally as well as musically.

Where are you from originally by the way?

Well, I’m currently located in Belgium but am originally from the south of France in Montpellier. I moved here because someone told me that a lot of rain every day is good for producing music, so I thought I’d give it a try (laughs). But seriously, I moved here a couple of years ago because of a girl and ended up staying here and starting a family which ended up being a great decision—I now have a two year old daughter who is absolutely amazing and who is definitely one of my main inspirations.

Growing up in France did you find yourself involved with the electronic music scene there at the time?

I discovered my first electronic sounds with Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode in the 80s and eventually stumbled upon the early acid house scene, LFO, Warp and all that crazy shit…it was a revolution! Then I began to discover the night; my first rave was in ‘95 in Nimes—it was called Borealis—and I realized it was what I wanted to do.

Yeah--I think for a lot of people that first rave experience always has a big impact. So when did you begin creating music?

My first contact with a keyboard was at the age of six when I started to learn the piano. Then I had my first experience working with computers and synthesizers when I was at school…I just remember this absolutely huge mess in my room! It became serious around ’93-’94 when I got my first decent synth: a Roland JD 800 which I was using with an Atari ST. Then I met Gil (the other Youngster) in ‘98 and we developed really quickly, partially I think because we shared so many influences—we eventually signed to F Communications in 2000. Officially, I started this moniker in 2006 with my first EP on F Comm…then Anja had told me about her Leena project so I sent her a couple of tracks and eventually released “Soledad” which is, in a way, the real beginning of Rodriguez Jr. as well as of a relationship with mobilee—which I’m really proud of and excited to be a part of the mobilee family.

What do you expect to follow as a result of focusing more on your Rodriguez Jr. project and becoming part of the mobilee roster?

Well I’m going to keep on looking for and developing my own sound and musical recipes; this moniker has given me a new wave of energy and freedom to produce anything I want. I’m going to keep producing heavily and releasing and trying to build something that perhaps reflects a wider spectrum of influences. I’ve got a couple of nice parties in July planned that I’m looking forward to—Resolute in New York and Rex Club in Paris—where I’ll be playing live; I’ve been playing primarily live with this moniker because that’s my background--I’m a musician who became a DJ so that’s my preference.

What are you currently listening to? Any recent acts that you are particularly digging?

I think Holger Zilske is currently one the best producers, so I’ve been listening to his new album at a lot at home. I also love Harmonic 313 on Warp...a mix of old school computer sounds, hip hop, retro futurism. Absolutely great.

One final question—what’s your favorite, funniest or craziest moment as an artist?

The most amazing moment for me was the Skol Beats festival in Sao Paulo where we played after Jeff Mills during sunrise in front of 35,000 crazy Brazilian people…in terms of funny or crazy stories there are too many for me to choose just one! You know when you travel and play in clubs…anything can happen.

Posted on July 1st, 2009
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