In the world of club night promoting, New York based Robbi is a legend. Closely associated with all the hottest parties in the Big Apple, he's become a force to be reckoned with.
To find out more about the state of house music in New York, what makes a good night out, and why DJs should be idolized, DJmag.com had a chat with Robbi as he was getting ready to head out to Miami's Winter Music Conference.
1. What's the current state of deep house in NYC as recently there have been cries of the music dying?
It is good compared to a lot of places. Listenership is bigger than in the early 90s.
You don't see credible people making such laments do you? Those are just random opinions not reflective of the scene's state.
This business is just like anything else if you don't have a plan you can't survive.
There are about four consistent weekly deep house parties in New York while others happen on a bi-monthly or monthly basis and the music's dying?
2. How did you get into event promotions?
About 11 years ago, when I was still at college, my aunt's house burnt down which resulted in the loss of all my possessions and me having to drop out of college for economic reasons.
To cut a long story short, I basically had no place to live so I went to a club called Vinyl, where Underground Network (legendary party hosted by Don Welch and Barbara Tucker) were throwing parties, and asked them for a job without caring what they gave me to do.
I was given a small stack of flyers and was told to give them out. But I took it very seriously and elevated myself though that, and on the strength of working around the music I love so much.
Player: NYC's Robbi is one of the biggest promoters in the city
3. Is your reputation a key to your success?
After all this time, I would say it has become a key, because not only have I won four awards consecutively as the best promoter but just the way I promote and especially the DJs I work with draws a lot of attention to my events.
4. How did you get to work with the big names from the deep house scene?
It's a chain reaction. Louie Vega was actually the first big name I passed out on a flyer when working for Underground Network.
From that time onwards, the more I put myself out there the more attention I attracted.
5. What's the most frustrating aspect of club night promoting?
I have no frustrating aspects when promoting events simply because I see it as a passion and not a job.
6. Are flyers still good to advertise club nights compared with five years ago?
Yes they are, depending on the magnitude of the event but most parties can be pulled off with just smart Internet promoting.
7. How competitive is promoting events in Miami during the Winter Conference?
To be honest I've never paid much attention to that simply because my events are among the most featured on an annual basis.
8. Any advice for budding promoters?
1) Idolize every DJ you work with and you'll be amazed how that flows with everything else.
2) Promote to every race, creed and culture.
3) Carry an attitude where they are millions of people in this world and you only need a few hundred at your party.
9. Idolize the DJ?
When I say idolize I mean treat him like he's your hero, take interest and appreciate the records he plays as well as his style of DJing, stay in touch with him from time to time. Make it a family-oriented thing.
10. During your 11 years of promoting, you've listened to many DJs. What makes a good DJ?
I'll try to be nice… a good DJ takes chances in terms of breaking records and playing different stuff.
A bad DJ settles for assuming a crowd wants to hear the same top 20 records played hundreds of times over for the last few years. It's as simple as that.