Mar 30, 2016
Robbie Rivera - 10 Years of Juicy Beach
We caught up with Robbie Rivera in Miami, where he was celebrating the 10th year of Juicy Beach at the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami. Juicy Beach is one of the longest tenured WMC/MMW events, and has seen its share of historic moments. Robbie talks about what it means to him, his Juicy label, and his radio show, and more!
10 years of Juicy Beach – what does that mean to you?
It’s been awesome, it’s been a ride. We started the party 10 years ago at Nikki Beach and we’ve had so many amazing parties. I mean, it’s been 10 years – we’ve had a lot of important names starting their careers there. People like Axwell, Steve [Angello], Kaskade, Sander van Doorn, Mark Knight…and the list goes on. It was all a friendly environment, too. I’m the promoter of the party and run the whole thing. I’m a DJ, but I also book the artists.
So you take control of the entire show?
Yeah, I put my promoter hat on and start negotiating with the agencies. Back then, it was really easy to book people. Now, it’s a whole different thing. Back in the day, for the first six or so years, there wasn’t that much competition. Juicy Beach was on a Thursday for six or seven years. On that same day, there was probably only about four more parties. Last year and the year before, there were about 45-70 parties on the same day and then all the DJs start hopping around, playing five parties, and that makes it hard. But the party’s amazing – we’ve moved to the Epic Hotel downtown. It’s a great area. We booked the hotel cause it’s on the 16th floor. You can see the whole bay – it’s a beautiful view. It makes it special. The lineup isn’t 17 DJs like before, but it’s still really special. I’m really pushing the house music brand and house music all night long, so I booked some good DJs.
Let’s Talk about Funkatron.
You know the history of that track? This generation probably doesn’t know. Funkatron was my biggest hit back in 2001. There was no side chaining back then – that was one of the first tracks that did it. That track influenced a lot of people. The first time I met Ax, Steve, and Seb, they told me that Funkatron really influenced their music. Benny Benassi, he told me that if he had never heard Funkatron, he wouldn’t have done Satisfaction. So anyways, all this time passed. And then Tom [Staar] and Kryder did a remix of it and sent it to me. And I was like, “Awesome – you know what? We should rerelease this.” So, we went back and forth and collaborated on this new mix. And Ax – I've known Axwell since 1999 – he loved it and it’s coming out on Axtone.
You like it? The melody’s addicting, right? That’s why I like Tom, cause he’s house, progressive…he’s got a cool sound going on.
Hardwell played the full song at the Revealed Party on Wednesday.
He played the full thing?! My Twitter went nuts, man. I was like, “What the hell is going on?” Hardwell – we played in Amsterdam years ago. Hardwell used to play house back in the day and he knows that track. Everyone knows this track. Armin knows it, Sander knows it, everybody plays this track. Remember, 10 years ago, there was only a handful of DJs. In three months, there were only 20 popular tracks that would last 6-8 months. A track now lasts two weeks - if you’re lucky (laughs).
What’s it like to own your own label?
It’s awesome. I can release what I want, market it the way I want. The reason I did it – when I started producing music in ’97-98, nobody liked my music. So, fuck it. It cost $890 in 1998 to make 300 vinyl. I was in college. I got a credit card and maxed it out to start my own label.
Are there any up and coming producers that we should look out for?
I’m finding a lot of artists from the Brooklyn/New York area who are doing a lot of cool things: NXNY, Paige, Just Jack, and more. Also, there’s a lot of Italian guys. Italians produce house with a little energy behind it.
Your radio show – you’re up to episode 569 – what does that feel like?
It’s really great. I was actually just talking to the guy at SiriusXM who got me the gig, and back then it wasn’t even XM, it was just Sirius. He told me that I should join this startup online station where people pay to listen, and I was like, “Fuck it, I’ll do it.” I’ve done so many shows and the shows air worldwide. You guys are really on it with the tracklists for the show!
How do you select tracks for the show?
Every week, I get about 40-100 tracks to listen to. Sometimes there’s over 100 and it drives me nuts, cause I try to go through all of them. I pick quality. I don’t pick stuff that’s trendy. I just pick stuff where it’s from a good producer, has a great sound, and I like to mix it up. I spoke to SiriusXM and they noted that I’m one of the only shows that’s still listed since day one. And it’s cause I mix it up. I try to mix in some tribal house, some deep house, some techno. I had stopped talking on it, but now I’m talking again cause I enjoy it. People like it, too.
Was there a set that you attended as a fan that made you want to get into DJing and producing?
Yes. But, nobody knows who he is. I was in 6th grade. I went to my sister’s senior prom in Puerto Rico, where I’m from. I could still tell you to this day the two tracks that the guy mixed that put me over the edge. First of all, he was mixing vinyl. I had never heard anybody mix two tracks flawlessly, beat to beat. And he was mixing Erasure with New Order – huge electronic bands. I was a young kid and I was behind him, watching him. I was just blown away. His name was Ricky – DJ Ricky (laughs). I’ve never even met him.
But, he changed your life?
Yeah, it made it very special for me. I needed to know how to do that. I got two turntables and a battery-operated mixer from RadioShack and started mixing in my house. I didn’t know how to mix. I kept on mixing two tracks and everything sounded horrible, nothing was beat matched, until I eventually learned how to do it myself. No sync button then!
Thanks to Robbie for chatting with us, and check out his latest album - This Is My Sound
short link 1001.tl/gn8ym2