Robert James’ introduction to dance music was in some ways, slightly unconventional. Having previously straddled the frontline as a soldier at the service of our majesty The Queen, James’ very first step towards electronic music was sparked after a touch of Tiesto whilst stationed in Iraq before going on to bear witness to an inspirational Andrew Weatherall session back in 2005. Since he saw out his duties in the forces the avid selector went onto explore his newfound passion, working closely with the likes of Jamie Jones and releasing on lauded imprints like Crosstown Rebels and 2020 Vision, whilst relentlessly spanning the Ibiza circuit for his DC10 residency.
Boasting a simple but delectable groove he plans to shift between the studio and the shores of Ibiza this summer, we quickly got in touch with Rob post Sonar to grab an exclusive mix and officially introduce him the best way we know how ahead of his Room One set next weekend…
Where are you right now and how has your day been for you?
I’ve just got back from Sonar, which was amazing. I currently live in Kings Cross, so I’m working from home today. I Had quite a bizarre morning so far; round the corner from my house they're filming a Hellmans mayonnaise advert, so my girlfriend and I managed to appear as a couple of extras! I’m spending the rest of my day building a new desk in my studio then cracking on with some new tracks.
So for anyone that might not have heard of you, can you briefly describe your sound and what you do?
Someone recently labelled me as a 'groove merchant', which I thought was quite amusing! I DJ alongside the other Paradise and Hot Creations crew and have released on labels such as Strictly Rhythm, Crosstown Rebels, Culprit and 2020. My sound varies from house, to techno and sometimes even disco, as long as it’s got groove!
What are your plans over the summer?
In comparison to the last couple of years, this season is going to be more chilled. The last two summers have been non-stop with gigs and the Ibiza season, so I'm getting my head down and back into the studio again to focus on making music. I’ll be in Ibiza over the summer for my residency at DC10 for Paradise, other gigs and festivals dotted around the globe.
How would you describe the aesthetics and vibe of Ibiza compared to the Summer season elsewhere? Well I've not really done seasons anywhere else (unless you count Iraq, Leeds and Blackpool!). I’ve never visited or played anywhere in the world that compares to Ibiza. It's a place where you have both ends of the scale. On one end there's the partying in some of the world’s best clubs, staying out for days, amazing villa parties, just having the best and most unforgettable time of your life. Then there's the other side to Ibiza, a softer, calmer side with peaceful, secret beaches, yoga retreats, unreal restaurants, sunrises and sunsets. It’s possible to go to the island not see a clubber for weeks. You will have to go to another planet to find somewhere like Ibiza.
How has Ibiza changed since you first started DJing? It was Sankey's in Manchester where I saw this amazing chap who blew my mind in '05. I didn’t start my love affair with the island until a couple more years after that. People always mention that Ibiza has changed, or that it's like it used to be, but you can say that about anywhere! It will always be a place where you can listen to the best music on earth, go and meet your future best mates, girlfriends/ boyfriends and just have the most mind blowing time of your life.
In terms of releases then, what do you have coming up and out this year?
I've sent a load of tracks to Jamie Jones for the new EP, which is near completion. This week I've just had a remix come out on Zappruder records of up and coming new band Nudes. Plus I’ve been in the studio with Burnski, Mikey from Pillowtalk and Greg Pidcock recently. Some other big collaborations coming soon, but I'm keeping them on the down low for now.
What are your favourite records to pull out at the moment?
Well I'm not giving out any secret weapons but really feeling new material from Dale Howard, the Mekanism, Okain, Audiojack, DJ Wild and loads of others.
We are very much looking forward to your set here next month, what does playing at fabric mean to you?
I've been collecting fabric CD's since '05 when I got into Electronic music. I think the first one I got was Jacque Le Cont and since then they have been an inspiration to me and still are now. I said to my friend’s years ago one of my aims is to get fabric 100, I think it’s on 76 so there’s still time! fabric is one of the best clubs in the world; I'm always honoured to play there, especially in room one. I can't wait to play on that sound system again.
And finally, you’ve just delivered a new exclusive mix to our doors. Can you talk us through it?
With just an hour it's quite hard to pick what goes in, but there's a bit of everything in there for everyone so I hope you take a listen and enjoy!