RUN DMT, aka bass music DJ/producer John Robbins, speaks to DJ Mag USA the week he's due to perform at Electric Daisy Carnival, Chicago. Preparing himself for a very busy year, his genre blurring productions, which take in trap, dubstep, and drumstep, have been released by tastemakers such as Play Me Records, Heavy Artillery, Dim Mak and Mad Decent.
A serious contender in the American EDM arena, Mr. Robbins is no stranger to music production. “It all started in about 1999, when a close friend of mine introduced me to Aphex Twin, The Pharcyde and marijuana on the same day. I know that it sounds fundamentally strange to say that these things completely shaped who I am today, but it is true. Between Richard D James' flawless engineering and other-worldly concepts, and The Pharcyde’s chunky sampled breaks, I was enamored by the idea of making music in such a way. I was used to playing instruments, which required time and money to record, so the idea of creating music in its entirety from my bedroom was intriguing to say the least. Eventually I ended up with a copy of Fruity Loops V1 and have been at it ever since.”,
For RUN DMT, living the dream is now the reality. With his remix of Major Lazer's 'Jah No Partial' anthem smashing dancefloors everywhere, he can already see changes happening musically as he shares his predictions for bass music in America. “It is hard to say, but I think all these styles are starting to blend together. Music is like fashion, bound to rebirth itself when new concepts meet old classic staples. Most of the music out there is usually a direct reflection of the writer's tastes, and as long as tastes change, the sound will evolve. I really think I am going to redefine the sound of RUN DMT with this (next) release. I have really gone back to my roots and made a very personal release. I moved away from intense sound design and decided to create more organic bass music.”
Fan inquiries swarm his Soundcloud and Facebook looking for whats new from DMT: “I have remixes coming out for Dimitri Vegas and Fitz and the Tantrums in June and July respectively, to be followed up by a short self-titled album that I am very excited about. These days, I am doing everything on my new label, 4th Wall Records. Most record labels, one way or another, have failed to rise to the occasion over the course of the last few years so I want to take my music into my own hands and get it to the people as easily as possible on my terms. I am also a big proponent of free music, and I want to get this music to as many people as possible.” Check RUN DMT's Soundcloud for 'Union of Opposites', a full LP available for free download.
Devoted festival fans are also buzzing over his exciting involvement with mega concert series, The Van's Warped Tour. With an intensely hectic tour schedule before him, we asked Robbins how he plans to stay on top of his game the summer” “I have been on a lot of raw juices lately. I'm addicted to kale chips and pistachios. I am trying to get myself on a healthy regimen for the Warped Tour. It's going to be brutal, so I am getting my body prepared.”
While he is usually on the road, the Austin native paints a picture of his local scene. “Texas has a very healthy bass scene. Residencies such as Mad Classy and Gritsy have really created a following of both new and old dubstep fans. While there is always squabbling between the older fans of the deeper sound and younger fans of the louder sound, everyone seems to turn out for the events. We always have a lot of fun here in Texas.”
Robbin's career has really taken off and when not on the road he remains busy and motivated. “When I am home, I usually wake up early, make coffee and juice, walk my dog, and get to work in my studio. There is always something to do. I take breaks, usually to catch up on my TV shows I miss, then go back to work. Also, lots of phone meetings and talks with management about the craziness that is our career, organizing tours, organizing merchandise. It's a 24 hour a day job.”
With mainstream America just beginning to open up to electronic dance, fans quickly aspire to become producers and DJs themselves, often times desiring to mimic their favorite acts. We ask to Robbins about his thoughts on these copy cat types. “Don't be 'like' anybody. Expand the music you listen to and include as many different aspects as possible. When a producer listens to nothing but dubstep, odds are their music will sound like regurgitated dubstep. Widen your palette and see how quickly your music matures.”