Rodriguez Jr. has been on our playlists for a while. The French deep house producer keeps pushing the boundaries of his sound and live show with high acclaim from fans and peers. He’s doing it again with a series of remixes of his latest and finest LP. ‘Baobab: The Remixes’ is out this Friday and features some of biggest in the game and across the board, like Claude VonStroke, Audiofly and Tim Green. We had a chat with him ahead of the release for a little taster of what to expect.
It’s not the first time you’ve done a remixed album – you did it for ‘Bittersweet’ a few years back. What pushes you to do this? Is it just another way to get your mates involved?
What a good question – haha! It’s obviously not about getting my mates involved – I have never met Tim Green for instance. I love my tracks being remixed because it basically gives a different perspective on an already existing piece. I could compare it to architecture, as it’s like walking around a building: same construction, but different angles and lights.
Do you pick the tracks each artist will remix or do they get to chose? Is there any fighting between people who may want to remix the same track?
They actually get to choose whatever they like from the album. We provided the same package of files to every artists, without any wish list nor advice. They could choose the same track or even merge different ones together if they were up to. No fight. And no remixer injured in the process.
Do they get total creative freedom?
Of course! I wouldn’t even ask for a single change. That would kill the interest of being remixed. That’s their distinctive sound signatures I was looking for, not mine. And I think you can really hear that freedom in the three remixes.
Is there someone who you would love to remix a track for that you never managed to get involved?
Carl Craig, Kenny Larkin – legends of Detroit. They have a perfect balance between groove and emotions. I never tried to get them involved though. Would love to have some of my very early influences involved too. Any artist from WARP records for instance. Who knows what can happen in the future?
You’ve been all over the place this year. Especially the Americas. What draws you to this part of the world?
I basically love the crowd, and there’s a strong demand over there. The music scene has been evolving fast during the last past 10 years in both North and South America. Regarding the US, I think the kids are stepping away from the EDM scene and are looking for something fresh and real. This generated a strong momentum for the whole electronic music scene.
What’s the best new thing in your life right now?
After living abroad for more than 12 years in a city I never really liked, I moved back to France a couple of months ago. New city, new life. Paris is filled with a fantastic creative energy. We have two large music studios in the apartment: one is dedicated to electronic stuff and music production, the other one is dedicated to song writing and acoustic recordings. We can press the record button at any time of the day. Really inspiring!
Last time we hung out was in January for a DJ Mag Panel, you had just received a huge new keyboard. You had that Christmas look on your face! Have you been making good use of it? I imagine it’s a hard one to take on the road. Have you managed?
I love receiving new toys! We received this large 88 notes keyboard from Arturia – a French brand I really like. I have been using it in the studio a lot because I can express a much wider spectrum of emotions with these piano-like weighted keys. Totally different feeling than a regular keyboard. It’s a hard one to take on the road, but we managed to use it during our performance on the French cliffs for Le Cercle, together with Nouvelle Vague’s singer Liset Alea. My tour manager had to carry it while climbing these huge cliffs for more than two miles. It was definitely worth his effort though!
Can you let us in on some of your plans for 2018?
I am intensely working on new material in the studio, aiming to extend my sonic palette to new territories. Having a fresh blank canvas again after the release of my album ‘Baobab’ is a fantastic feeling. It’s a relief. I am also working on a new live setup for 2018. Looking for more interaction with the crowd, more improvisation, more life, more intensity – that’s a never ending process. We are also preparing a new show with Liset, following the great feedback we received after our performance for Le Cercle. The future looks bright.