CoolJunkie Interview's Robbie Rivera

CoolJunkie Interview's Robbie Rivera

by Marcos Colón

One of the biggest names to come out of Miami in the electronic dance music world is Robbie Rivera. Getting his big start in 2000 with his hit “Bang,” Rivera is now one of the bigger names in the genre, playing some of the biggest EDM hotbeds around the world, as well as producing one of the most popular events during Miami’s annual Winter Music Conference, Juicy Beach. As one of the most talked about and fastest selling tickets during WMC, this year Juicy Beach is set to break records once again, as they’ve already begun to sell hundreds of tickets as early as last month.

CoolJunkie recently caught up with Robbie Rivera and chatted about his plans for the new year, what he has in store for Juicy Beach for this year’s Winter Music Conference, and how Juicy Beach may actually make a move out west this year.

CoolJunkie: How did 2009 treat you?

Robbie Rivera: Last year was interesting for me. I released an album, Closer To The Sun, which I worked on for about a year and a half. The tours were great, and I also had my first Juicy Ibiza Party at Privilege. We used to do it at Amnesia for years, but we started doing it at Privilege last summer. It was a year of new things, but with the recession I was busy with gigs but some of them in Europe were a bit slow.

CJ: Winter Music Conference is just around the corner, which I’m sure you’re well aware of seeing as you produce one of the biggest and most popular parties of that week. You’ve already released the lineup for it, but in your opinion how is this year’s party going to be different from previous years’?

Robbie Rivera: Music wise I am bringing in a few new names that I like doing every year, like Koen Groeneveld from Holland and Riva Starr from the UK. Those are two new kids that have grown up with me in the Beatport world, like I like to call it. I think there will be more people than last year. Last year we had 7,000 people throughout 1 p.m. and 5 a.m. and we’ve sold more tickets in December and January than we’ve ever sold. We’ve never sold tickets in those months. I think this is really going to be a big one for us. The brand is really taking off.

CJ: When you put together a lineup like this what’s your goal as far as sound goes? This year you have some big names like Joachim Garraud and Funkagenda, but you also have some really great local talent like Lazaro Casanova and Edgar V.

Robbie Rivera: Like every year I always like to have the usual Juicy sound, guys that have worked with the label like Alex Gaudino, they’ve worked with the label for the past two years doing remixes for us. But I also like to bring in a few names that are off the wall and just have nothing to do with Juicy Music. Two years ago I brought in Deadmau5 when he was starting, last year we brought in James Zabiela and it worked really great. Before I always brought in some local guys, but this year I really wanted to bring in guys like my buddy Oscar G. and Edgar and Lazaro. They are always at the parties and always have a great time and they’re my buddies so I wanted to hook them up.

CJ: In your opinion who are some up and coming producers out there that you think people should keep their ears tuned to?

Robbie Rivera: I definitely like Maurizio Gubellini, he’s a new producer from Italy that’s doing really well and he just remixed a track that I did on Juicy Music with my buddy Diego from Buenos Aires. It’s called 1980 and it’s top ten on Beatport right now. Diego’s another producer that’s been in the industry for like 12 years. Back in 1995 he had a track called Batucada that he said sold one million copies and I believe him because I remember that I was a kid and I had it. We actually re-released it last year and its done great. He’s fresh again in the music scene because he disappeared for a few years. Also Riva Starr from the U.K. and Steve Aoki from LA.

CJ: I wanted to ask you a little bit about your single Closer To The Sun because it has such a great melody. Where did the inspiration from that track come from?

Robbie Rivera: Well I put together that track in my studio in Ibiza. I remember composing it there and sending it to my songwriter in Holland and he wrote the lyrics right away. It’s a beautiful song but when I finished it up in Miami, and I was with Monica, my wife, and we were listening to a lot of The Killers, their latest album. I always wanted to put together a track similar to theirs and I put together that melody and it just went perfectly with it.


CJ: What’s your schedule like throughout the year? Do you usually spend your summer in Europe?

Robbie Rivera: I usually spin in Miami or North America from January to late May and then from June to mid-September I’m in Europe. In Miami I try to play at least four times a year.

CJ: What are your thoughts on the development of electronic music in the U.S.?

Robbie Rivera: I’ll be honest with you, my favorite place to play right now is in the U.S. I’ve seen electronic music in the U.S. go from not getting much airplay to what it is now. I play every weekend in the states now two to three shows. I’ve noticed with Sirius and XM supporting electronic music so much, the fan base has really grown.

CJ: What are your thoughts on the nightlife scene in Miami?

Robbie Rivera: Miami has always had a great nightlife scene. I’ve always enjoyed going out clubbing here. Currently its great. There are so many clubs in South Beach that are bringing talent out. Mansion just has a huge headlining DJ every single Saturday from Europe or wherever. Space still continues to bring in their more underground DJs and packing the club every Saturday. I think that Miami is one of the club capitals of the world.

CJ: Is there anything about music that bothers you today?

Robbie Rivera: Good question. (laughs) I’ve noticed that a lot of young producers are copying older more established producers…and I mean to the max. It seems as though they’re desperate to become superstar DJs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to want to have that drive and that feeling. But sometimes they miss the originality factor. Back in the day, when I started to blow up, I did a track called Funkatron and it was really hard to get that track to get picked up. Everyone just passed on it. But it’s very hard to find tracks with originality like that now. Some people I’ve mentioned, like Deadmau5, he’s brought some originality in that he’s taken progressive rhythms and blended it with electro. That’s the only way you’re going to break out into the industry. I don’t like copycats, that’s all. (laughs)

CJ: What can we expect from you for this new year?

Robbie Rivera: This year we’re going to be releasing the new single from my album called, Let Me Sip My Drink, which has vocals from Fast Eddie, which if you’re an old-school house fan you’ll definitely know who that is. Juicy Beach is also coming up as well as Juicy Ibiza that’s returning. We’re also doing Juicy Beach in Las Vegas. I can’t say which venue, but we’ll say that Juicy Beach will be in the West Coast for the whole summer.

Click here to hear more from Robbie Rivera.

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