With new music out this week on 6913 Digital we catch up with UK artist Robbie Fithon who shares how Laurent Garnier personally introduced him to clubbing at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda.
Hi Robbie, thanks for joining us today, tell us a bit about yourself, how old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing music and DJing?
Hi, thanks for having me!
I’m from Manchester, UK and currently based between the UK and Spain. I actually started releasing music in the 90s but it’s only recently that I’ve started to take it seriously. I always treated it as a hobby in the past. Since I took the leap into professional music 12 months ago things have been moving very fast.
How did you discover electronic music and what led you down the path of wanting to be a DJ and producer? What were some of your early inspirations?
I come from a musical background. My dad was a DJ in the 70s disco era so it was normal for me to be surrounded by music from an early age.
I was always drawn to music that was deeper, more cerebral and my own musical journey started off with a lot of experimental, prog rock and modern jazz. I was a massive Pink Floyd fan and I think this is still discernible in some of my music, in both composition and production.I was fortunate enough to be a part of the original Acid House movement in the UK so DJing and producing my own music was a natural progression for me. My first influences were made up of the music I was hearing in the Hacienda in Manchester, where pioneers like Graeme Park and Mike Pickering were introducing my generation to the amazing sounds coming out of that scene at the time. But it was when I first heard Detroit Techno that I knew what I wanted to do musically. Those early Transmat and Metroplex releases and the very first tracks from Underground Resistance sounded unreal to me! They were so innovative and unique, unlike anything else that was out there. Those early days of techno lead me to discover more pioneering electronic music like Kraftwerk. I mainly work in the Deep/Progressive House style now but an appreciation of the more experimental sound has
definitely stayed with me.
The UK has some amazing clubs. Past and present. What was the first amazing moment you had in club? Something that sticks with you today. And how is the scene there now compared to years ago?
My very first clubbing experience was when I was 17. While at college I had a part time job working with Laurent Garnier and he took me to Manchester’s legendary Hacienda. It was the first time I’d ever been to a club and from that night I was there three times a week. It was an incredible time and I got to witness the evolution of electronic music and club culture. Needless to say it had a massive influence on me as a young kid. What struck me was the way the music cut straight through all differences people may have had. I sincerely believe music to be the most important thing in the world, due to its ability to unite people.
The scene today is definitely much better organised and obviously promoters can cater to individual tastes now, whereas back then DJs would be dropping tunes from all genres. The scene was much smaller and the music was at an embryonic stage. Today clubs, events and the music have evolved to a much more sophisticated level.
You’ve got a new EP out this week on your own 6913 imprint, tell us about the inspiration behind the tracks and why they work together so well as a project.
I wanted to do something more musically challenging, adding more melodic elements, along with flexing my production skills with some big studio techniques more often employed on movie soundtracks or Ambient albums, such as field recordings and 3D surround effects. I was aware this approach could be a bit risky with underground music, as a very polished, cinematic finish might be hard to pull off but I’ve never chosen the path of least resistance and I’m really happy with the result. We’re getting some fantastic feedback too so that’s quite reassuring! The release is another two track EP which is the format I’ve been following recently, with the two tracks complementing one another but being different in pace and feel. The first track, Folkvangr is the big opener with a long atmospheric build up, retro synth solos and lots of spacial effects. The second track, Increased Awareness is a more down to earth affair, employing a lot of the same production techniques but with a deeper more rhythmic vibe.
Tell us a bit about your label 6913 Digital, how long has it been running and what’s the vision behind it?
I first set up 6913 Digital in 2014. The vision was simple, to put out quality electronic music with an emphasis on originality and artistic expression. While we’re mainly working within the Progressive House and Deep House genres, the label isn’t restricted to any particular style. Running the label has been a great experience for me. I continue to learn a lot about the industry and the art form of music, and it’s put me in touch with some great artists such as Adnan Jakubovic, Stanisha and DMP aka Robert R Hardy.
What advice would you have for artists hoping to get signed to the label?
Music should always be about artistic expression. I’m looking for something unique and there has to be that sincerity in the music. The worst thing anyone can do is produce music purely because they believe a particular label will like it. If you stay true to your art it will come across in your music and it’ll touch people.
Who was the first big Dj to support your music and how important was that moment in terms of inspiration as well as being validated as an artist?
I put my first vinyl out back in 1991, it was a one off white label. We had a few hundred pressed and distributed and as far as we were concerned that was enough of an achievement in itself. Anyway a couple of months later Richie Hawtin came to Manchester, touring with his label Plus 8. When he dropped the track at the peak of his set it was a surreal experience to say the least!
Even though I’ve had tracks played all over the world since then, it still feel strange to hear DJs like Sasha or Danny Tenaglia supporting my music.
What kind of stuff have you been playing in your DJ sets recently? Who are some of your go to artists?
There is so much amazing talent out there, but my go to artists would be Guy J, Sahar Z and Guy Mantzur. I also listen to anything from Interaxxis and Sonic Union.
What release or achievement are you most proud of and why?
I’d have to say my most recent release on 6913 Digital, Sunrise Dance/Charge as it marked my turning point in taking music seriously as a life rather than just a pastime.
What five tracks are you currently loving the most at the moment?
Very difficult to pick just five, but in no particular order…
Kasper Koman – Into Little Pieces
Interaxxis’s remix of Li-Polymer’s Phoebus
Bona Fide – Amirale
Milos Ilic’s remix of Lucas Rossi’s Sonora
Interaxxis – Kicking Problems
What can we expect to hear next from you?
My music is always evolving and as I’m DJing out more my style is becoming more upbeat and dance floor friendly. My next few releases will reflect this change, as will my monthly show on Insomnia FM, where I showcase a lot of my own unreleased works. I have a release coming soon on Mystic Carousel and I’ve just done a remix for them too. There’s another EP coming on 6913 Digital and I’m writing new vocal material with The Undertakings so hopefully we’ll have chance to get in the studio
before the end of the year.
‘Folkvangr’ is out now via 6913 Digital, you can purchase the release: here