Born and raised in Puerto Rico and now a Miami resident who travels all over, DJ/producer Robbie Rivera is known for his tribal, housey sounds. He’s collaborated with artists like Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Deadmau5, Tiesto, Kaskade, and Pink, and has been recognized as one of DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs. We caught up with him at Candibar in Boston over the weekend and found out his track selection process and thoughts on the future house trend, which degrees he graduated with, and if there will be a “One Eye Shut” 2015 remix.
Describe your sound with three words.
►Tough, sexy, house music.
What was your first time playing out?
►My first time ever DJ’ing in front of people… you really want to know?
►I was in sixth grade; it was a party for my school. It was a long time ago, and I was playing with one turntable and one cassette player. The mixer had batteries.
And what about your real gig?
►It was a four-day tour in Brazil.
What’s your current setup?
►No laptop, all USBs.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
►When I started DJ’ing, I was told not only to be original, but try to stay true to the sound I wanted people to listen to. That can be hard sometimes.
Which artists would you love to play with?
►Danny Tenaglia, back-to-back.
What’s the biggest difference between track selection for your podcast versus that of a live set?
►For the The Juicy Show, I go through all the promos on Mondays I get from labels and just select tracks you’ll be enjoying while you’re driving or chilling at your house.
Do you have a “One Eye Shut” 2015 remix in the works?
►No, but a few people have asked me that.
EVERYONE is asking.
►That’s such a great vocal song. I’ll do one this week.
What do you think about the future house trend?
►You know, I was thinking about that today as I went through a few hours of promos and I got a new promo from Paul Oakenfold that said “Paul Oakenfold Future House Mix.” For me, [future house] is what electro house was back in 2003-2006. But it’s still house.
Of all the venues you’ve played, whether once or many times, which is your favorite? Why?
►I love playing Pacha in Ibiza. I’ve played there so many times; back in 2001 was the first time. Then I didn’t play there for five years and when I came back, the magical vibe was still there. I love playing that place. It puts me in a good mood.
Whether a festival or venue, where have you been dying to play?
►I want to play more in the UK, as I haven’t played there in a while. I used to play a lot in Europe, but recently has been all the US. Im focusing in Europe now.
What do you look for in a track?
►It has to have energy, a groove, and no cheese in it.
Do you have a preference between vocal or nonvocal?
►I like to balance it out. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of vocals. I’ve recently gone back to my roots of house and tribal, and play a lot of my own vocal tracks.
What percentage of a live set is your work?
►Probably 80%. I play a lot of my own edits and have been remixing a lot of classic records. I just did this remix of CJ Bolden’s “Sugar Is Sweeter,” of the Armand Van Helden remix.. I added a new kick to it and new mastering, and it sounds amazing. I didn’t do much to it, just spiced it up.
At what point in time did you realize this would be your career?
►When I graduated from college, I was running my label, Juicy Music, out of my room and didn’t want to do anything else and had to figure out how to make money. I started selling records and tracks to record labels. After a few records started blowing up overseas, I realized I could make money DJ’ing.
What did you go to college for?
►I have two degrees: an Associate’s in music production and a business administration degree.
What would you be doing, if not this?
►I have no idea, this is all I’ve done.