BORN in Belgium and now residing in Los Angeles, Sacha Robotti speaks four languages and has experienced the dance music industry as a clubber, a DJ, a producer and even a label-owner.
Following a run of standout releases on labels like Dirtybird and Desert Hearts which well and truly put him on the map in the US, August 31st saw him launch his own label – Slothacid – with a four-track EP and the announcement of a 25-date open-to-close North American tour in support.
The mammoth tour kicked off in Detroit and continues through to December, so when we had chance to sit down and find out more about the huge project he’s undertaking, we couldn’t say no.
You’ve just announced a new label, EP and a 25-date tour – that’s a big project! For those who don’t know, can you break it down for us and what it entails?
Hey guys, thanks for having me! Yes, I’ve been wanting to run my own label for a little while, mainly to release whenever and whatever music I want to. I’ll keep sending demos to labels I’ve worked with closely in LA in the past, like Dirtybird, DH, and so on, but it feels great to be independent and in control of your own output and schedule too.
I’ve had label experience when I was part of the Robosonic DJ team. We were based in Berlin and self-released a bunch of vinyl from 2005-2010, that’s when I got a taste of self-releasing my own music. Fast forward to now, after my move to LA focusing on my solo project. The first EP on Slothacid came out at the end of August this year, four tracks with different flavor. It made sense to pair the label launch with a US wide tour, since I’ve been living and working here for the last 3 years.
You’re billed to play open-to-close sets for most of the tour, what made you choose this format?
When I play open to close, I can create a vibe from the beginning to the end of the night. I get to spin all my favorite tracks and new things I’ve been working on!
How is the experience of an extended set different for both you as a DJ and for the clubbers?
The clubbers get more DJ for their money? Haha, jokes aside I guess that both parties, the DJ and the clubbers, are able to connect deeper over a longer period of time while sharing great music together and celebrating life. It’s a more intimate setting I think.
You lived in several countries across Europe before moving to the US – what influence do you think having that experience of European clubbing and electronic music has had on your sound and the way you approach your career in the US?
This kind of question is hard to answer for me because I feel the cultural impact that all the countries and cities you have ever lived in, or even been to, have an influence on you, your music and who you are. I think I met most of my friends through music in some type of way. My music has made me travel and experience so many things that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t chosen to dedicate myself to it. I also chose to move to this part of the world and start my solo thing, because I felt it was the right place and time for me.
Slothacid is a pretty unique name for the label, what made you choose that?
Story goes, the name Slothacid was coined because a few years ago, a friend handed out magic Sour Brite sloth candy during my set at Desert Hearts that blew everyone’s minds.
The digital age has made setting up and running a record label more accessible than it’s ever been, the tricky part is making a success of it – are there any labels who you looked to for inspiration when setting up Slothacid?
I look for inspiration in so many electronic music labels that I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just name a few that have affected me over the last ten years or so, be it by their music, their art, philosophy, or stories. Props to Dance Mania, Underground Resistance, Warp, XL, Ninja Tune, Rephlex, Hypercolour, Axis, Roule, Crydamoure, Kompakt, Clone NL, Ostgut Ton, Figures, Dirtybird, Octopus, Drumcode, Innervisions, K7, Turbo, Minus, Plus 8, Magnetic, Shaboom, Defected, Cajual, Relief, Strictly Rhythm, Nervous, Perlon, Playhouse, International Deejay Gigolo, Boys Noize Rec, BPitch, Ed Banger, Monkeytown, Pampa, Get Physical, Monaberry, Kneaded Pains, Hotflush, Naked, Om, Trax, Tresor, Djax Up Beats, Missile, Yoshitoshi, R&S, the list goes on..
Social media has put so much focus on branding and the visual aspect of music – how much does it factor into the projects you work on? Is it something you embrace throughout the process?
Yes, I embrace it – we live in an audio visual age, luckily or sadly. As a young kid I grew up with little TV, no internet, just out, playing in the woods, biking, playing the cello, playing sports, making art, painting, taking photos, listening to the radio, recording tapes. Kids today grow up with smart phones in every aspect of their lives. I’m a late adopter compared to that, so I try to explore how digital media is changing music, from the branding and visual aspect of it on the web, to the way music is released and consumed, to the way it’s performed, to new music production tools…
I had to get familiar with using social media on my smart phone constantly when I moved to LA, it was a big difference that I felt immediately: the people I’m reaching with my music use socials heavily, their phones are audio visual interfaces. So yes, it’s an important aspect because ultimately I want to connect with people online and bring them to my gigs!
At the same time, it’s essential for me to take breaks from using the internet too much because it can drain the mind when used intensively.
You’ve just released an official video for Forget Tomorrow, the track you recorded with tau0n – how would you describe the finished product and what was the recording process like?
Sacha: The finished product is a kind of dark visual interpretation of our song “Forget Tomorrow” by the director Nick / Green Ivory Films. The video is often in slow motion, and I think edited amazingly. It feels like it’s recorded in a club, but it was actually shot on a disused tennis court where we could go wild with throwing paint.
Scott / tau0n: It was definitely a new experience; we can’t say we’ve had paint repetitively thrown at us before! It looked like it was therapeutic for our friends who got to just throw paint at us – a few got pretty artistic about it and honestly by the end of it everyone and everything was covered in it. We were finding paint in odd places on ourselves for at least a week after filming. There were moments when paint, or confetti got a bit dangerous – like when Anais got confetti in her eyeball and we had to fish it out…
How would you describe the first EP – Welcome To Slothacid – to someone who hasn’t heard it?
It’s a four tracker EP, the first track “Tail Of A Siren” talks about eternal unreciprocated love with a siren, the second track “Generator” is a more grimey story without words, “Forget Tomorrow” with tau0n on the vocals and in coproduction, is a melancholic take on the ‘now’, and lastly “Miles From Home” is a tribute to the 90s, Robert Miles rip, the X-Files, aliens, and psychedelic experiences.. perhaps!?
Will your releases on the label follow a specific sound?
I’ll release only music I’m involved in, collaborations or solo, so I guess that will be the only consistency in the sound or genres: electronic music for the dance floor, techno, house, by and with yours truly, and in collaboration with my friends.
And finally, is there anything else you’ve got in the pipeline that we should keep an eye out for?
I’m looking forward to my tour, which has kicked off the 13th in Detroit, the 14th in Austin, and the 15th in California at Nocturnal Wonderland. I’ll hit the road until December in various cities across the country, open to close. I also can’t wait for one of the next releases in the pipeline, a track with vocals by Paris Sinclair called “The Kitty Track” that I’ve been playing out for a while. Stay tuned!