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Q&A with Marc Romboy, Playing the One Year Anniversary Block Party at Electric Pickle on Friday

Q&A with Marc Romboy, Playing the One Year Anniversary Block Party at Electric Pickle on Friday

For going on two decades, German DJ/producer Marc Romboy has established himself as one of the preeminent figures of electronic dance music through a rare combination of innovative vision and heartfelt reverence for the classic forms. A childhood fascination with synthesized sounds, via the likes of Kraftwerk, got Romboy hooked on electronic music, and with the advent of house and techno in the '80s he delved head-on into original production work, employing classic early tools like an Akai sampler and Roland TB-303 synthesizer to develop his own sounds.

By the mid '90s Romboy and partner Klaus Derichs were heading Le Petit Prince, one of Germany's foremost techno imprints in its heyday, and championing the sounds of artists like Phuture, Microwave Prince, Emmanuel Top, and Thomas P. Heckmann until the label's demise in 2000. The following decade saw a bout of intensive international touring during which Romboy cemented his reputation as a world-class DJ, and by 2004 he returned to A&R work with the launch of new label Systematic, marked by the release of debut single "Every Day In My Life" produced in collaboration with Booka Shade.

Two artist albums and further collaborative work with American house/techno legends Robert Owens and Blake Baxter, along with more contemporary cutting-edge artists like Gui Boratto, Stephan Bodzin, and Spirit Catcher, have demonstrated Romboy's creative fluidity and broad perspective as a producer, embracing the future while paying homage to the past. Marc Romboy will be headlining an all-star lineup at the One Year Anniversary Block Party at Electric Pickle on Friday, one of only two exclusive North American dates for his "5 Years of Systematic" tour, and we couldn't pass up an opportunity to pick the man's brain on the cusp of his Miami performance.  

Read the full Q&A after the jump.


New Times: Legend has it you started DJing at age 8 after

hearing Kraftwerk for the first time. How did you first into get music

production and what can you tell us about your early musical

development?

Marc Romboy: Well, it´s true. I went to

a record store to buy "The Robots" by Kraftwerk when I was only ten

years old. For all who don´t know this tune, please listen to it and

bear in mind that this song came out in the late '70s. Crazy how

visionary these guys were. I dived through any and all styles of music

like breakdance, Italo disco, new wave, acid house and finally techno

during the '80s. Especially acid house totally blew my mind away. It

was so different and sounded like sounds from outer space, I was

totally fascinated. At this point if time I wanted to know how guys

like Phuture and DJ Pierre could generate such incredible sounds and I

started to make music together with three friends back in the '90s. Our

first project was called Unknown Structure on Adam & Eve Records

and funny enough, you can now find these old tunes again on YouTube.

What are your ongoing musical influences? What inspires your own work as a producer?

I

think that every second and every moment influences all of us. Every

sound, even a driving car or the wind can create its own mood with a

certain musical key, which I find really fascinating. I was always

bored of polished mainstream music you can hear on the radio. Techno

and house always had a link to the real life because it has something

industrial and technoid -- sounds you can hear all day long. I found

this always very fascinating and I´m still not tired to explore new

synthesizer sounds and drum rhythms we have not heart before. The sky

is the limit...

You've collaborated with a number of

influential producers, from Chicago house and Detroit techno legends

Robert Owens and Blake Baxter to contemporary greats like Gui Boratto

and Spirit Catcher. Any projects which you are particularly proud of?  

Working

with influential legends like Robert Owens and Blake Baxter must make

everybody proud. But maybe proud is the wrong word, it´s more something

like being grateful that these fellows have shared my vibes. Without

Robert deep house would not really exist and without Blake we probably

wouldn´t talk about Detroit Techno. So, yes, I´m happy and grateful.

As

a German artist who has spent time in Berlin, what do you think are the

attributes that have made that country a leader in contemporary

electronic dance music?

I´m based in Dusseldorf, which is

the hometown of Kraftwerk by the way, and it´s a wonderful town in the

Western part of Germany, not far away from Belgium and the Netherlands.

Of course I travel a lot to Berlin and, yes, I have lived there for a

while because there are many music people and also clubs. Well, Berlin

has always been a very special and magical place, especially for

creative people. Some of you maybe don´t know that back in the '20s

Berlin was a town with a sophisticated and innovative culture,

especially when it came to architecture, literature, theatre and music.

And I have the impression that this vibe comes back and back step by

step, due to the fact that the wall is now down for more than 20 years.

But I would not say Germany is the leader of electronic music, there

are so many musicians from other countries who have influenced the

scene a lot too.

You've had a prolific career running labels,

from your successful Le Petit Prince imprint in the mid '90s to your

work with Systematic in the 2000s. What have been the advantages of

working on the business side of the music industry, compared to

focusing strictly on music-making?

Oh, it helped me very

very much to see both sides of the game called "music business" as I

have also learned all my lessons when it comes to the business point of

view. Nowadays you have to be a bit of everything, artist and

administrator. If something of these two parts is missing you cannot

survive in this circus.

You've played in countless cities

across the world. Any particular favorites? Do you find that some

crowds are more receptive than others to your sound and electronic

music in general?

People and news are always talking about

the bad things in the world and also that people cannot communicate and

live in peace together. My opinion is that the house and techno music

movement is a kind of counter example because no matter where I have

played people have always understood the universal language of, let´s

call it, our music! And I´m very very proud of being a little mosaic

stone of this entire thing. When it comes to the places where I have

played so far, I don´t want to miss any of them because I always get to

know wonderful people on any continent, in every country and this is

something which makes you rich, not the money in your pocket. To come

back to the crowds, yes, it´s different every day but as long as we can

dive into the music all together, it´s fine, isn´t it?

We're very thrilled to see you play at the Electric Pickle on February 26. Are you looking forward to this performance?

Believe

it or not, I will fly over to America for only two days, one show in

Miami and one show in Toronto. And I´m very keen to share my feelings

with the people in Miami and Electric Pickle. When I heard about the

lineup that night, I was like, oh my god, what a list of wonderful and

fantastic names! I´m really looking forward to this date, that´s out of

the question!


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