Montreal based DJ and producer Robotaki talks URL to IRL, current jams, touring and his forthcoming EP
Preston, thanks so much for the interview! Here are some questions for our listeners at PRIME.
PRIME: 2016-2017 have been massive for you - how has it been transitioning from producing frequently to touring? Do you take the time to stop and work on tracks when you have a spare moment?
ROBOTAKI: It's been a fast paced year for sure! Transitioning from producing to touring has been a really new experience for me. I think the most drastic change for me is how touring has changed how I've made music. Since I'm on the road more often now, I've had to move from a stationary studio setup to one that's mobile. Everything I've made up to this point in time has been on my baby E-Machines desktop running Windows XP - and to have to migrate everything over to a laptop (that's from this decade too), I've had to update everything from my DAW version to the plugins I've been running. All this stuff is really exciting to me though - new sounds, new studio setting, new day-to-day pace - because I feel like my music really thrives and changes when I'm put into new situations. I definitely take as much time as I can during my downtime to work on music now.
PRIME: Tell us a little bit about joining forces with Manila Killa - how did you two initially meet?
ROBOTAKI: Way before we even thought of collaborating or having an EP together, I was just a big fan of Chris's (Manila Killa's) music. He did really magical remix of "Let Go" by Math's Time Joy that put me on to his music and I've been listening to his stuff ever since. When the opportunity to work on some music together came up, it just made sense to give something a shot and we shared some demos with one another. Chris luckily ended up digging the demo I had made for "I Want You" so I sent over stems and then he really brought the mix to a new level. It's really awesome to see how this tour came together after our our track. A true URL to IRL story, haha.
PRIME: What's been in heavy rotation for you lately?
ROBOTAKI: Damn, that's tough since I rinse through a ton of music on the regular. I've been listening to that whole Oliver album, "Full Circle," a ton. They need to work with Chromeo on a full package because "Go With It" is the funkiest thing I've heard all 2017. Daniel Caesar's album, "Freudian," is just a piece of art and packs a ton of soul. "Get You" is such an amazing song. The entirety of ODESZA's new album "A Moment Apart" has been getting me through all the long plane/train rides. I really want to check out Siriusmo's new album but I haven't had a chance yet.
PRIME: What can we expect from you for the remainder of 2017? Do you plan on releasing more with Manila Killa or are there any other collabs you can tell us about?
ROBOTAKI: Chris and I don't currently have anything planned together after I Want You, but this won't prevent us from making music together while we're on the road. For myself, aside from this tour, I'm putting all my time into finishing up an EP. I'm extremely excited to see how everything is coming together and I've had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented people on many of the tracks. I've been sneaking in some of the tracks in my sets during this tour and it's always great to see how they're received as tracks people haven't heard yet. I don't want to give away too much about the EP yet - there are going to be a brutally honest couple of tracks - music that's been made at very different times in my life.
PRIME: How does the music scene in Canada differ from that of the states?
ROBOTAKI: I feel like the music scene in Canada tends to be a bit more under the radar than that in the US, but there's definitely not a lack of love for music or talent up here in the north. There are a ton of underground scenes here that celebrate hugely diverse types of music (and other creative media) and I love that. I really encourage anyone who hasn't gone to a festival in Montreal to visit with a couple of friends whenever they can.
PRIME: Did you have the opportunity to perform local shows in Montreal (or Toronto) initially?
ROBOTAKI: I did! Some of my first shows ever were at Le Belmont on St. Laurent, and the Drake Hotel in Toronto. If we're really digging deep, though, I spun at a couple of college house parties before even doing proper shows. Those were some of the best times.
PRIME: If you could be inside the mind of any producer in the game right now - big or small - who would it be and why?
ROBOTAKI: I would love to tear apart the mind of Jeremy, a.k.a. Chrome Sparks. I've always been fascinated by his production and how fluidly creative he seems to be. His music always pushes slightly outside of the box but manages to stay unmistakably his own. I aspire to get to that point myself as a producer.
PRIME: Lastly - what's the most important thing you could convey to aspiring DJ's/producers?
ROBOTAKI: I think the only useful advice I could offer is to never be too satisfied with your own work, but remember to celebrate it when it's done and released. Be respectful to everyone you surround yourself with or are working with. The music industry can seem like a ridiculous competition for the top, but it honestly isn't one when you find the right people who are making music because they simply love music.