Belgian-born Sacha Robotti delivers this week’s Global Vibe Radio mix, fresh off the launch of his Slothacid Records imprint, and the label’s debut release aptly entitled Welcome to Slothacid.
The four-track EP is soon to be followed by an extended open-close tour concept that will see him showcase the Slothacid sound across 24+ dates all over North America during the fall. All of his upcoming tour dates can be found HERE.
Given that Sacha currently resides in LA, like us, we thought it fitting to not only invite him on our mix series, but to take the time to chat about his techno roots, his relationship with LA, the launch of the label and the open-to-close tour he is about to embark on.
Listen to the mix, and read on for our exclusive interview, as well as full Global Vibe Radio track listing at the end of the article.
Hi Sacha, thank you for chatting with us and thank you for the mix! Can you tell us a little bit about it… where did you put it together, what message you hope to convey with it and what are some of the tracks or moments we should keep an ear open for particularly?
Hey man, thanks for that chat and for inviting me to do a mix for 6am, much appreciated! I recorded about an hour for you, it features some tracks off my “Welcome To Slothacid” EP on my brand new label, Slothacid, as well as music that I’ve enjoyed playing out or wanted to put in a mix for a while, like that Kink Remix of Hot Chip, or my edit of Parris Mitchell vs. Nina Kraviz.
There was no particular intention I had when I recorded the mix, but my message is always that I hope you can get into my music, that it spices up your day or touches you emotionally in some way, wherever you’re listening to it.
The last time we chatted we were outside of COMPOUND in LA and Derrick May was giving out chocolate chip cookies to people leaving the crowd. How important is it for you to be connected to nightlife outside of your own gigs?
Yeah man that made me so happy, I’m a fan of Derrick since I bought his vinyl as a kid and saw him play at the end of the 90s somewhere in Belgium. Over 20 years!
I try to stay connected to my roots and also to balance life on the road as much as I can, even if that means sometimes to NOT go out when I’m in LA. But yes, I love to immerse myself in the kind of LA nightlife that’s outside of the regular clubs too.
The days following that moment we chatted a bit about Derrick May and his connection to your roots in electronic music and this industry. Can you take us back to those years and give us a snapshot of Sacha the “raver”? Where were you living? What kind of scene were you a part of and who were your early electronic music heroes?
I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, where I got into buying techno, house, hip hop, drum n bass vinyl all at the same time, around 1995. I hit raves and clubs underage, Belgium was a small country but it had a massive electronic music legacy with tons of clubs and industrial spots to throw parties, a vibrant breeding ground for all things “underground”.
During these years I watched some incredible DJs and became hooked. People like Jeff Mills, Green Velvet, Sven Vath, Felix Da Housecat, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Claude Young, Blake Baxter, DJ Funk, Dave Clarke, Deg, Trish and many more Belgian locals & collectives influenced my musical taste and ultimately motivated me to start DJing myself.
Did you ever see yourself “living” in Los Angeles one day, about to embark on a massive North American tour?
I didn’t see myself living in LA like this really, no. Though I always had an attraction to LA and manifested what’s happening right now – that I’d be embarking on a massive North American tour. I had come here in 2003 on an Architecture University exchange with SCIArc, based by Skid Row / Arts District. As part of our project, me and 2 friends built a “homeless shelter” out of material we found on the street, on a parking lot in Downtown LA and lived there for 3 months. Funny that now in 2019, I live in DTLA again. But this time in an apartment (laughs).
Obviously, this is not your first big North American tour, but it is special for other reasons, the first of which is the launch of your Slothacid label, which you are promoting with the tour. Why did you decide to launch your own label after releasing on a lot of widely-recognized labels such as Dirtybird, Octopus and This Ain’t Bristol?
I will still release on other labels too. Slothacid is simply a platform where I can release my music whenever I want. With your own label, you have creative control over your music and art and you can set your own schedules as an artist. It’s more work but it’s also why many labels exist, especially the ones created and run by artists!
Obviously, you are at the beginning of this label-owner journey but what would you say are the first lessons you’ve learned so far getting this project off the ground?
Actually, I ran my own vinyl label from about 2005 til 2010, when I was part of the DJ duo Robosonic (until 2017). The label was called Diskomafia and served as a stepping stone for our career. I have experience running a label and made many mistakes doing that, it was a valuable time that taught me how good it feels to release my own music, but also how easy it is to lose track of how much work it can be, and that you need a solid team to help.
I’m trying to set myself up better this time, nine years later. A lot has changed since, the digital realm is firmly here now and music has become more of a vehicle to promote yourself as an artist.
What is your ultimate goal with the label by the way?
To release music that I love and touch people’s hearts and souls with it.
How are you like a sloth and how are you not like a sloth?
I’m like a sloth in that I’m a rare specimen, I can be really lazy if I decide to, I try to smile a lot, and I believe in taking things slowly when possible. I also value sleep a lot! I’m not like a sloth in that I move around the world like crazy over periods of time. Someone once called me “hardest working sloth” or something like that..
Does acid have any part in your creative process as a producer?
The story goes, Slothacid is called Slothacid 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..
Would love to know more about the Open To Close aspect of this tour. When did you decide to play all night for this tour and why?
Ever since I moved to the USA and DJed here, I wanted to play longer sets. The only way to do that was to throw parties myself, or like now, go on a tour that makes “open to close” its’ motto.
I’m not criticizing how things are out here, I’m simply craving to test out more tracks on a big sound system with a responsive crowd, and to play longer to take people on a journey. The reason set times in clubs tend to be short, is because of the closing times and how many DJs are billed on a lineup. Festival sets are typically 1-1.5 hours, and people expect a performance. Playing “open to close” means that I can vibe out the whole night.
How many open-to-close sets have you played in your life and how did they go?
I’ve played a bunch of long sets since 2005, I think the longest around 12 hours, mainly in Berlin where I lived from 1999 until 2015. Strictly “open to close” I’ve done maybe 10 sets.
There are so many gigs on this tour, many of which are back-to-back nights. How will you keep healthy and on top of your game throughout the tour and during the gigs, given all the travel, lack of recovery time and long playing hours?
I will try to sleep as much as possible, hydrate a lot, eat as healthily as I can, protect my ears when I can, stay as sober as possible, and enjoy myself throughout the whole tour!
Musically, what can fans expect from these very long sets?
My fans can expect me to play a lot of my favorite tracks that I can’t wait for them to hear..
Are there any particular cities you’re excited to visit?
Yes, I can’t wait to play in SF again, NYC, Chicago, San Diego, Vegas, Toronto, man I’m excited about all the tour stops!! I’m also stoked about Dirtybird Campout and Nocturnal Wonderland.
Are you planning to do any particular non-music related activities, sightseeing or similar while on tour?
Yes when time and my physical state permit, I always like to check out the places I visit.. music helped me travel the world in the last ten years, I wouldn’t be here either if it wasn’t for music.
There are some un-announced dates on the tour still… might we see you make a stop in Los Angeles?
Yes definitely, watch out for this one it’s going to be special!
Do you call LA home by the way?
I do sometimes.. I don’t feel “at home” where I’m currently staying at, but I feel a strong connection to California.
What do you like about LA and what do you dislike about it?
I love the climate, I love how easygoing many of the people here are, I love how many musicians and artists live out here, I love the mix of cultures, I love the festival culture, I love that you can get weed delivered, I love how innovative the mindset can be towards new technologies and projects, and much more.
I dislike the traffic and that everything is built around the car, I dislike the way homeless people are handled. I dislike the proverbial fakeness that comes, I guess, with a large amount of people moving here trying to become famous, I dislike that money has such a role in this society.
Living in a new city and a new country definitely has had its’ challenges and I’m still trying to figure out a lot of things. LA is a one of a kind place, with all it’s good and bad sides.
What are some of your favorite places in the city?
I think my favorite thing about LA is the coastline..
Alright mate, thanks for the chat… see you soon I am sure!
GVR Track Listing:
01 Hot Chip – Hungry Child (Kink Remix)
02 Sacha Robotti – Generator
03 Sound Associates – Boombox (Len Faki Remix)
04 Claude Vonstroke – Please Oh Please Oh Please
05 Marcus Suckut – March
06 Parris Mitchell vs Nina Kraviz – Feel My Butterfly (Sacha Robotti Edit)
07 Oleg Maas – Modefonic
08 X – Whores 2020 (DJ Deeon Remix)
09 Vangelis Kostoxenakis – Get Down
10 Sacha Robotti – In The Dust
11 Raul Facio – Wondering Minds
12 Harry Romero – Say Yeah
13 Volkoder – Crow
14 Oliver Huntemann – 37 Grad (Sacha Robotti Edit)
15 Metodi Hristov, D-Unity – Transcendent Experience
16 Popof – Bowo
17 Sacha Robotti – Tail Of A Siren
18 Sacha Robotti – Miles From Home