Sacha Robotti Shares about Musical Intuition, Desert Hearts and More at Electric Forest [interview]
The last few months have been a wild ride for techno and house connoisseur and lover of all things sloth, Sacha Robotti. This Belgium-born producer and DJ is well-versed in the European sound and beyond, pulling from his native roots and simultaneously embracing the wildstyle of the west coast culture as a current resident of LA. Sacha made quite the statement at his Electric Forest debut, dishing out some daunting dark underground sounds and treating everyone at the Tripolee stage to a massive time.
Blood, sweat, and tears were indubitably shed during that set, mostly sweat actually, but we were fortunate enough to sit down with the man behind the madness the day before his set to discuss the festivities of Forest, the contrasts of Americanized EDM culture vs. that of Europe, club life growing up in Brussels and more.
I know that this is your first time playing Forest, but is it also your first time attending?
Sacha: Yes, first time playing and being here – it’s been great.
Any special surprises in store with the Dirtybird family?
S: Well I’m not entirely sure what others are doing, we’re a family and all but we aren’t necessarily related. But I think I heard somewhere that Barclay was going to jump out of a cake at some point. We’re doing some stuff for the Unitea group and definitely some RV sets in the mix.
Those renegade bus and RV sets have been popping off all weekend. So, you were born and raised in Belgium. How was that transition when you made your way over to LA?
S: Well between Belgium and LA it’s been about 18 years, and I lived in Berlin also before I came here. The transition was great, I came to California, and I just wanted a change from Berlin. So, it wasn’t a forced change, it was one that I wanted.
So it was still mainly a move for music though?
S: Yeah definitely. I was doing music in Berlin before, a project called Robosonic, which was myself and another guy for about 10 or 11 years, and that was great. So I had already been playing music when I came here, but I started to do my solo project, and that was a good move I think.
As far as culture for electronic music goes, especially for techno and house, what do you think is the biggest difference between Europe and the U.S?
S: The monetization of the scene. The scene is kind of like a blown-up thing here, people go all out, everything is kind of extreme. Whatever you do is full-on. There are a lot of exchanges though between Europe and here because of Twitter and artists sending things from Europe and from here to Europe also, but I would say Europe is more low key in general.
As far as some of your influences in Belgium or Berlin go, is there anything worth noting that you want to mention?
S: Well there was a great club in Brussels called Fuse, and I think they just celebrated 25 years recently, and I think it’s one of the best clubs worldwide. They brought steady, constant, amazing techno and house acts, so I sneaked in there underage when I was 15, and not many people were into this kind of music at that time. It was like me and a few other people, and we saw people like Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Green Velvet played there. I saw a lot of big names from Chicago and Detroit and places like those.
In terms of production, it seems as though you gravitate towards more techno than anything else, which isn’t exactly the norm for what people think of when they hear someone on Dirtybird.
S: When you release unto certain labels, in a way, that’s a snapshot in time. When I release music, I’m strictly going off feeling, and I then I decide where it can be released. So when the name Dirtybird is behind my name, people have a certain expectation.
There definitely is a stigma around certain labels.
S: Right, and I’m not hating on any tech house or anything like that, I just try to not do what people expect in those situations.
In recent years, you’ve played at festivals like Desert Hearts and LiB, which are relatively focused on techno and house music.
S: People had told me that when I played Desert Hearts that I really “brought techno”. I just love playing big stages, and I loved playing DH because it was gratifying to have such a great sound system. Also a lot of new friendships were made.
Let’s talk about hobbies when you’re not producing or DJ’ing – is there anything you enjoy doing in your off time?
S: I like to relax and just balance the lifestyle. Watching shows, cooking, eating, having a good time with friends.
The last thing that I have to ask you is are there any kind of pre-show rituals or things you do to get in the mindset before you go onstage?
S: I still get a little nervous beforehand..when it’s smaller gigs I’m very relaxed before, but I always like to be there roughly an hour before the show starts and focus. I used to drink shots of whiskey before but now I kind of just chill and relax.
Sacha Robotti will only continue to add fire to the flame in his next endeavors, as he just announced the introduction of his new label, Slothacid, upon which the first release will be his very own 4-track EP Welcome to Slothacid, dropping August 30th.
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