Phil Weeks and his Robsoul imprint are two of the most recognisable names in house music. The proud Parisian has forged a 20-year career as a DJ, producer and label owner, well-known for his love of hip-hop and penchant for sampling.
His latest creation and fifth studio album titled ‘Raw Instrumental Volume 2’ is the follow up to his inspiring 2012 album of the same name. It’s eight heavily groove-oriented tracks that don’t just run deep but focus squarely on the dancefloor too. We were lucky enough to grab some time with Phil who gave us a special insight into this latest collection of music on Volume 2.
‘Volume 2’ is a great listen, but feels very different to Vol 1, more akin to the club/dancefloor. Do you agree or disagree and can you shed light on your ethos for this latest volume?
“You’re totally right. I didn’t really plan this volume as an album to be honest. These are tracks that I made on a daily basis. But ya know, I make so much music and I didn’t want to release it all in few EPs or a maxi. There’s a lot of work involved in creating a series of individual releases and my schedule wasn’t gonna allow for it at this point. That’s why I see this ‘album’ as more of an EP double-pack. ‘Volume 1’ was totally created as an album, this is a collection of serious dancefloor weapons.”
“I look at the label more as a whole. As a house music label making history”
Volume 2 is shorter, almost by half, and there’s no hip hop or broken-beat styles on this volume. What are your reasons behind this, if any?
“Vol. 2 was never seen as or meant to be a themed release as such. More a home for these dancefloor tracks that just kept coming out of me. Trust me, it could have been way longer, but 8 tracks are always perfect for a double pack vinyl.” [Laughs]
Can you talk me through the equipment you used in the creation of this album? Also if any particular track resulted from using a different setup or method?
“My main machine is the Akai MPC3000. I use it to sample, sequence and filter. It’s my creative box, my toy. While some like to watch movies or enjoy other hobbies, I spend most of my spare time on my MPC. Then I use also the [Roland] TR909 for some drums and the TB303 for bass and acid. I mix everything on the Yamaha 03D. On the song ‘Oh Baby’ I used the computer to record my vocals and then treated it to the effect I wanted. That’s the only thing I’ve actually used the computer for.”
Robsoul breached 150 releases in 2015 and at the time of writing this, you’re on 172. Did you ever imagine Robsoul to make it this far and what was the original intention for the label?
“When you add everything, across all of the family of labels, it’s over 250 releases. This is pretty crazy I agree. When I first started the label it was more to release my own music without going thru the normal circuit. Back at that time there was no internet and we had to send demos DAT/CD by post & wait for a possible reply… It was boring to go through all that.
“I was confident about my music and so I started Robsoul. I never thought about the future actually…but I knew I would dedicate my life to House Music. Now we’ve been lucky enough to release music from many of the artists that I’ve looked up to and to do that has been a honour. ”
Do you have a favourite release?
“I don’t actually. I like them all. I look at the label more as a whole. As a house music label making history.”
Can you tell me about what lies ahead for the label this year, any exciting plans for events, special releases or collaborations, anything at all?
“More of the same ☺ Releasing the best House Music. Our 2017 schedule is almost set, with Ep’s from Around7, Minimono, D’Julz, Vicari Jnr, Steve Lawler, DJ W!ld, Javi Bora & IAAM, Joss Moog, Suburb Beats, Cockney Lama & of course myself . We also have three Robsoul parties this coming month (Melbourne, Paris, Zurich). Now to you.”
Have you got any exciting plans to reveal for the year ahead, any releases or performances you’re hyped about?
“About the music, I have some new releases in the pipeline. No new plan about another album. I’m gonna keep on working on my video series, ‘Underground Chronicles’ – check it out on my Facebook page.”
Where have you come from?
“It’s Monday, I’m just back from a nice week end. Friday I was in Mainz in Germany for my album release party and Saturday I was in Amsterdam for a sick party – Bam Boe fourth birthday.
What are you preparing for?
“This Thursday I’m leaving to Australia with Joss Moog, then back to Paris on Tuesday. Thursday is the Live @ Rex Club. I have the new episode of Underground Chronicles S04EP02 coming up in the next few days.
“Unfortunately I have no time to chill. I’ve got a lot of interviews and features to complete for the album release and finish work on the live performance. This is all on top of the daily work of running Robsoul. I won’t have time to make new music for the next 10 days!”
What’s your favourite record at the moment?
At the moment, I’m listening to Ahmad Jamal ‘Jamalka’ and ‘The Complete MCA Records Disco Singles’. And always some J Dilla beats here and there. ”