Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Groovepressure question Rob Sparx.

Groovepressure question Rob Sparx.

Q:   Your album “Trooper” was released in 2009 to great reviews and has raised your profile on the scene, tell us about your history in music up until the album? 

A:  I'm a classically trained double bass player with a bit of jazz knowledge too, as a kid I had lessons at the Royal College of Music, I started playing at 8 and by 18 I had a Grade 8 distinction and had also got quite good on the guitar and piano but by this point dance music had pretty much taken over and its been mainly synthesizers, computers and decks ever since. I've always been into lots of different genres of music, when I was very young it was live music mainly Indy/rock/metal but by the time I first started producing at 16 my main influences were dance artists like Massive Attack, Prodigy and Leftfield and labels like Metalheadz, Good Looking, Ram and Virus.
I got a lot of my production knowledge through being mates with Twisted Individual & Zen and I used to go smoke with them, Gdub, APB and Dubchild at the Formation studios, I picked up lots of techniques watching these producers at work. My first 20 or so releases were mainly drum n bass - in 2004-2005 I released a load of DNB tunes on Grid, Zombie and Up Yours and also a few tunes on Formation, Propaganda and Z-Audio. I ended up falling out with Twisted for a few years and got bored with the way the jump up DNB scene was going so I tried to get into the deeper, darker and dubbier side of DNB which originally influenced me but predictably I had difficulties with getting most of my output released so I changed direction and got into other genres of music and worked on improving my production techniques.
I used to go to college with Loefah, Mala and Coki and I knew in 2003 that they were working on a new genre that was like deep garage but the first time I actually heard it was when in 2004 Mala passed a cd to my house mate Tunnidge with all the early DMZ stuff on. I really liked the sound and I started experimenting with the genre although mixed with techniques I'd learnt from DNB so hardly purist. By 2007 Z-Audio were getting into dubstep and released the 2 Faced Rasta and Independent Life on DUBTING which both did pretty well, that’s when they asked me to do the album and dubstep, garage and breaks has been my main focus ever since then. 

Q:  How do you feel about the album now? 

A:  I actually finished the album in 2008 and it wasn't released until over a year later so I'm pretty keen to do another one to be honest, it took me ages to write some of the tunes on there and I'm happy with it and think it still sounds fresh but I'm very keen to start another one as my production has moved on a long way since then and albums are a good chance for me to write music that’s more soulful and interesting to listen to not just to dance to.

Q:  Has the release of the album changed your life in any way?

A:  In the last year or so since album promo started I've been outside of the UK a lot more times than in my whole life before. I've played gigs in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Israel, New York and Puerto Rico and I've got forthcoming in Ukraine, Budapest and a AUS / NZ tour being planned for most of September plus I've done an interview on 1xtra so yea I'm sure the album helped with that a bit.

Q:  You have carved a name for yourself as a dubstep producer but Trooper has a wide variety of influences, so can we expect to hear some different production styles in the future or are you 100% dubstep now?

A:  I might be having another crack at DNB soon because Twisted has asked me to do an album for Grid so that could be a good opportunity to return to producing and dj’ing in that style, which I've been meaning to do for a while. I'd also like to produce some house music with some of the ideas I’ve learnt from dubstep, I’m sure I’ll be doing that soon but how quickly that happens depends on what labels I get to know as I'm not interested in writing any more music that ends up sitting on my computer for years without getting a release, I've had way too much of that bullshit over the years, at the moment I’m sticking to music I can mix with so its being put to some use even if I can't get a tune signed quickly.

Q:  If you were going to have a night off and go out to a club which artist / dj would you like to hear?

A:  I've heard Mixmaster Mike is pretty good at beat juggling and scratching with dubstep that would be interesting to hear!

Q:  Do you get time to listen to other music and if so what music do you take inspiration from?

A:  I like a bit of minimal house, techno and electro or whatever you call it, the good glitchy stuff. I'm liking what Instru:mental and DBridge are doing with DNB at the moment, I still love some of the tunes on Trentemoller's first album and I've taken a lot of influence in the way I use my basses from Justice's chopped bass style. There's a pretty big dub influence from the classic producers like Lee Perry and King Tubby in my music especially the drums.

Q:  How does your production process work? 

A:  It’s different every time, I find its best to have drums first but often this gets in the way of being creative, sometimes I’m just messing about making a new preset or listening to some samples then I get an idea and that one preset or sample becomes a whole tune pretty quickly.

Q:  Do you use any hardware in your production or is it all made on computer?

A:  I've got a Moog Prodigy, a guitar and access to a pogo stick electric double bass but everything else is software

Q:  What projects and releases are you working on at the moment?

A:  I've got the 5th releases on both my labels (Sour Grapes & Migration) out next month, there’s also a Proptingz remix of Windscreen Sniper coming out on Z-Audio soon and I'm working on material for other dubstep labels and the Grid album.

Q:  What are your ambitions in music?

A:  I'd just like to get some really good vocalists and write music that’s more accessible but still with integrity, not sellout cheesy shite with no shelf life. I'd like to do a vocal project with an electro sound like The Eurythmics or New Order mixed up with all the crazy dance techniques I’ve learnt over the years but to be honest I could work with a whole range of different sounds and vocal styles, it would really depend on the vocalist.

Q:  The sales of vinyl have been dropping for years but compared to a lot of other genres dubstep has kept selling record units, as an artist do you get more sales from vinyl, cd or download?

A:  Its still vinyl despite shit sales, but digital formats are definitely catching up.

Q:  As a dj do you play records, cds or are you computer based?

A:  At the moment I’m playing 1/2 set vinyl 1/2 cdjs - I was purely cdjs for a year or two (after many years of just vinyl) but now I try to play vinyl where I can.

Q:  What makes a good party for you?

A:  A longer set on a quality sound system to a packed club who actually like dubstep and don't just want to hear spazzy filth.

Robin Ball talks Socialeyes

Hello I’m Robin Ball creator of and resident dj for the Socialeyes parties. And i thought you might like to know a little more about me and the ideas behind Socialeyes.  

I have been involved in the dance music industry since the early 90’s and have worked on all sorts of music events from small clubs to big festivals but I feel that the best surroundings to hear great dj’s in is in an intimate space with a solid sound system, a relaxed vibe and a vibrant atmosphere, so I made it my goal to start a night with that concept, and in May 2006 Socialeyes was born!

Since then there’s been many great nights, the best for me being the five boat parties, the most recent holding host to Justin Robertson who went down a storm!
Up until now the parties have been kept low key and promote on a word of mouth system but now it’s time to let more people in on the vibe, which brings us to the first party at the excellent Corsica Studios in London! Corsica was recently voted “Best Small Club” in DJ Mag and just this month was voted “41st best club in the world” in DJ Mag! It’s the perfect venue for Socialeyes for many reasons, firstly it has two rooms so we can push our eclectic music policy on lovely Funktion One sound systems, also it has good lighting, an old skool warehouse vibe, and it’s run by a forward thinking management with a good attitude to music! Come and find more reasons your self on 29th May.

The Socialeyes concept is a strong eclectic dj line up of the best underground talent playing for an alternative crowd who want to have fun and let go to a sound scape of diverse well programmed electronic dance music. I believe strongly in good music programming so the night flows well and I put a good deal of thought into that. For the opening night on 29th May in one room we will be covering techno, techouse, electro, Detroit, acid house and anything in between, played by myself alongside legends Justin Robertson and Colin Dale and one of house and technos brightest hopes Max Cooper, the other room will be a mix of dubstep, breaks, beats and bass with myself under my new alias Robin Beats alongside two of dubsteps best names, Bar9 and Rob Sparx, plus the mighty Elite Force who is on top form at the moment riding high in the Beatport charts and ripping up clubs wherever he goes. This is a line up I am very proud of and it’s going to be a treat!!!

Watch out for forthcoming interviews and mixes from the other djs playing on the 29th May.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Rob Sparx and Robin Beats mixes

Rob Sparx and Robin Beats start off a series of mixes running up to the next Socialeyes party on 29th May.   listen to the mixes here on Samurai FM  Dubstep and breaks!!!!!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Socialeyes @ Corsica Studios

On Saturday 29th May, Socialeyes gets Soceyeball again....

Join us at the fabulous Corsica Studios (previously voted best small club by DJMag, and recently at no.41 in the top 100 clubs in the world) on what will hopefully be a balmy Bank Holiday Saturday evening for some seriously good music.

We've got 2 rooms on sonic enjoyment for you, as we're joined by Justin Robertson, Max Cooper, Colin Dale and your Socialeyes honcho Robin Ball in the Groove Pleasure room.  And in the Groovepressure room we have Elite Force, Bar9, Rob Sparx and Robin Beats.

Tickets are onsale now from and if you in now they're only £8!

Corsica Studios, 4/5 Elephant Road, London SE17 1LB.
Early Bird £8 / Advance and Students £10 / MOTD

Welcome to the Socialeyes Blog

Socialeyes has just got more Soceyeball!  Its the new Socialeyes blog.  Here we'll keep you updated with future parties; interesting interviews with Socialeyes DJ's; links to mixes and general music info.  Feel free to contact us or leave comments, and join in the Socialeyes mantra..... being social.