Even though Robin Ordell has based himself in Berlin, he owes a lot to London's clubbing community for providing him a space to develop his craft as the resident DJ at local party collective Half Baked. Priding himself on sourcing sounds off the beaten track, Ordell's DJ sets draw on his early funk and jazz influences, mixing up the house template in a wholly fun and driving way. Plus, with productions coming on his close circle's record labels, he has been testing out some off kilter percussions of his own to good effect. With his next visit to EC1 slated for Saturday coming, we took the opportunity to secure a mix that demonstrates the rising DJ talent's aesthetic while we also tapped him up for a chat to get to know his influences and plans a little better.
Your year started in one of the best ways possible - alongside some incredible artists including Ricardo Villalobos in Berlin. How was that?
Robin Ordell: It's been a great experience on so many levels. First, it feels good to be trusted to warm up for for a night like that one, the support coming from other artists really has helped securing this spot for me. I could definitely feel the pressure, but in the end, I've been warming up so much until now that I just had to tell myself that it's what I know how to do.
What DJs would you say you look up to and inspire you?
A lot of different things characterise a good artist for me. Of course track selection and mixing are beyond important, but I feel very attached to the vibe I'll feel coming out of someone. I like talented and humble people, and when a DJ nails both, I give them all my support. I've been very impressed by Vera on a few occasions this year and of course Zip has always been a personal favourite!
You’re most closely linked to what’s going on in London – how did you first become involved the scene here as a DJ?
Everything started with Half Baked for me, I was most definitely a beginner before starting this venture and can safely say that I've learnt most of what I know from playing for this party. I have always felt very lucky being part of this great team of people!
You’re now resident of course of the Half Baked parties – what’s your take on the role?
I have always taken this opportunity very seriously and the advantage of a residency for me is that it pushes you to bring something interesting and different every time. You also get to know a specific crowd and feeling comfortable facing it is key to a good DJ set I reckon. On the other hand, my involvement with Half Baked always has been limited to the music side of things. I love helping out with the label and with throwing ideas in for lineups, but I have the worse business mind ever so never took part in that side of things.
Your production is often built on acoustic percussive elements that sound anything but electronic how do you go about sourcing these sounds for your tracks?
Ever since I started making music, I've always been into sampling. I find this form of production beautiful and advantageous on so many levels. It won't only provide you sounds that would be impossible to recreate with machines, it also sends you digging deep into the history of music, through so many periods and styles. I am really into jazz, funk and electro-acoustic music and use a lot of sounds I find in these styles, from drum loops to single shots and harmonies.
What are you working on at the moment? Any new releases in the works?
I have a few things coming this year. I almost exclusively work with friends and people who are closely related to me and am not used to sending my music out. I feel comfortable doing things this way. I have a lot of very talented people who run great projects around me that I want to be part of it. As a result of this idea, I'll be doing an EP for my dear friend Lamache's Discobar this year as well as a record for my home label Eklo, owned by my friend Seuil who I look up to so much. Add to that a various artist for Sensual, a label from Frankfurt and a little bonus I can't speak of right now.
How do you go about digging for records? Any secret spots you head to? The crate you draw from is anything but obvious...
I will definitely take this question as a compliment since that's what I've always tried to do: get far from the obvious! Living in Berlin there are so many amazing record shops to choose from and I'm pretty lucky for that. I love going to Spacehall and Record Loft, but also am a fervent user of Discogs, on top of sharing a lot of music with my crew of talented friends.
And finally could you introduce the mix you’ve recorded for us – how did you go about the track selection and record it?
I have recorded this mix coming back from my sunny holiday break, so I'm struggling to understand why it is so dark. But it was a one shot thing and it simply features tracks that are dear to me (some of them from friends). It has a pretty nightmarish vibe to me and I like it this way. I've tried to keep that going for the full length of it and I think it's pretty representative of the music I like and play.