When I moved to Toronto in the Spring of 2009, I only knew a few people so I rarely went to events. I didn’t enjoy going to them alone at all. One day that following summer, DJ JELO messaged me and asked me if I would come down to the PRIDE Toronto Dirty Disco stage, film his set, and then make him a video. I knew there would be a lot of local DJs that I could film and I figured I could use the camera practice, so I set up my gear and headed down, to Church St. It was about noon and JELO wouldn’t be starting his set until after 8PM. It was a gorgeous day, and I was pretty anxious about going by myself. That all faded as soon as I got there and heard the music.
That was the day I was introduced to the musical talents of Robb G. What first stood out about him was his energy, which was quite comparable to my own. He was yelling, bouncing, screaming, and laying down the wickedest and bounciest set I’d heard all day. The most memorable part of the set was when The Peej came on stage with Robb G to perform their song Shufflebanger. I recorded the whole song because I knew I would want to hear it again the next day. You can see my video HERE.
Robb G has been producing music for over a decade, creating music of his own along with many different remixes. He has played at venues and festivals around the world including Ultra Music Festival, Burning Man, WEMF, Shambala and more! But all of this is not why I am a big fan of Robb G. Robb G is a genuinely nice guy, and very obviously a great father as well. Since that day when I first saw him, I have gone to many of his shows, filmed several interviews with him for other online publications (see one HERE), and every time I see him he goes out of his way to say “Hello!”. You can’t even be around Robb G for more than two minutes without having a grin ear to ear.
Now for the sad part. Robb G is retiring. Yes, that’s right, this Friday at Footwork Nightclub is his last performance and I suggest you get there. This is one party that no lover of beats should miss. Click HERE for the Facebook event.
I spoke with Robb G to find out a little more, and it went down like this:
Robb, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Nova Scotia, lived in Quebec as a young child, have called Ontario home since grade 3, and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on the West coast. I love city living and moved to Toronto 13 years ago to pursue music more seriously. I’ve got two adorable, considerate, funny and loving children that I adore. I’ve made electronic music my life for over a decade and a half so I’m into everything from old Chicago house to breaks, bass music in all its forms, to rolling techno. Outside of EDM I dig it all, short of extremely aggressive heavy metal and country. On my playlists you can find Paul Simon, Metric, Public Enemy, Depeche Mode, Hopsin, and Scissor Sisters. Movie wise, I prefer indie dramas and comedies.
Can you tell me what got you into EDM, and how did you end up becoming a Producer/DJ?
My mom got me into music at a young age. She always had her favourite records on and I remember dancing around the living room to things like “Funky Town” and “Born To Be Alive”. We lived in England for a year when I was 12 and I was exposed to a lot of electronic stuff via the local teen club and radio shows. While everyone back in Canada was on a big hip-hop kick, the British were well into their love of house and techno already. I even got my first crack at DJing there. I used to go to the teen club religiously, dancing the weekends away. I always paid attention to the DJs as I noticed that sometimes it was easier to dance depending on who was DJing. I hovered in the back of the booth enough that one day they let me mix a couple tunes. By the time we came back to Canada I had already started amassing a big music collection and took over the DJ residency at the teen club in my small town by the time I was 15. Within a year some friends of mine who knew how much I loved music brought me to a rave and I never looked back. I got into producing music in the mid 90’s after buying a sampler on a high school field trip to the city.
What is the most memorable set you have ever played and why?
This is an extremely difficult question, and I spent a lot of time contemplating this answer. Shambhala Festival in British Columbia – both times I’ve played there felt like out of body experiences where absolutely nothing could go wrong. I literally fell over with happy tears after playing on both occasions. The festival is so artistic and thoughtful (yes, I’m calling a festival thoughtful!) that there’s no way to describe it. The second time I played there was on the Thursday, when only one stage is open and I had thousands and thousands of people going pogo in unison with me.
Very honourable mentions: Ultra Music Fest 2009, my first time playing Halifax at Reflections, Piknic Electronic in Montreal with the Frogland breakers, Valentine’s Day with Footwerk in Kelowna, Boa on NYE (I don’t remember the year but I stood on the booth yelling at the crowd, it was nuts), all my sets at Burning Man, notably the set in the big 90 foot Root Society Dome and on the Janky Barge Art car in 2009, the Ministry of Sound party with Mike Greffner in Whistler, the Activate 5 year Anniversary party with Bassbin Twins, the San Francisco rave where I met Will Bailey, Whorefrost NYE in Saskatoon, many of the old Breaksfest nights at the Elmo Combo in the late 90’s, Shannon Shield’s birthday party at Hush in Victoria, Syrous’ 5 year anniversary (a 15,000 person rave!), Supercharged in Brighton with the Freestylers, my first gig with Move Together at the Tunnel in Vancouver, and the Pride Dirty Disco stage every single year.
If money was no object in life, what would you be doing now?
I’d study history, philosophy, sociology and psychology more formally. I’d love self-studying those subjects.
What is your take on the current rise of EDM in North America?
It’s about time. It’s been getting love in places like Europe since the 80s. I’ve been able to play the main rooms of big clubs and see my music get a lot more radio airplay thanks to this surge. Some complain about all the obvious problems that the corporate bandwagon brings, while I don’t disagree, I tend to focus on all the positive side effects instead. If the crappy top 40 clubs are packed with people dancing to cheesy house music, then the legit venues like Footwork are full of the true music lovers. When Deadmau5 is pop music being played at noon, my music is suitable for a 10PM spin.
Why are you retiring?
I want new experiences in life. I want to focus my energy on new things. I’m extremely thankful for the last decade and a half, I honestly feel blessed, but it’s time for me to move on to a life outside of the nightclubs.
What will your Friday party at Footwork Nightclub in Toronto be like?
I’m excited about this retirement party at Footwork because it will be filled to the rafters with incredible people. There’s a shuttle bus being run from Barrie & Newmarket as well as carloads coming in from Montreal. So many of my old friends have hit me up to say they’re coming. I got to hand pick the line-up. I’m extremely happy to have long-time friend and one of my favourite DJs, Deko-ze, playing as well as super talented up and coming jocks Ticky Ty, Linguist, Dre Luca and DJ Redeyez. For the last 3 on that list this is their very first time playing at Footwork and they are overwhelmingly excited. I wanted to use this last show as an opportunity to pay it forward to some of the newer people coming up.
What are you going to do now that you have retired?
I’m writing a lot and I’m going to write a book. I’m going to spend a lot more time with my kids. I’m addicted to hot yoga and plan to focus on healthy living overall.
You can find out more about Robb G and his music through the following links (remember to follow him on twitter!), but I suggest you go to Footwork this Friday and see him live for the final show.