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Robert Dietz: "Underground is Ruling the Island"

One of this summer’s regulars talks about leaving Cadenza, his early influences and the existence of the underground.

Robert Dietz's name is all over the island this summer, and for someone so renowned for their signature underground sound, the German-born DJ and producer is really in the Ibiza spotlight. This year Dietz has been somewhat in a state of flux, making a number of decisions that were to have a definitive effect on his musical future and his career's success level. Much to the delight of underground head honcho (and long-time supporter of Dietz) Loco Dice, we've seen him take the step from Cadenza to Artist Alife. He's also covering more ground, booked to play at venues he has yet to conquer, while continuing to develop his unique sound. Regular slots at Dice's Used & Abused parties at Ushuaïa, VIVa Warriors at Sankeys and Kehakuma at Space show that although his heart may truly belong to underground music, he's also not afraid to be part of the new wave of artists who are keen to bring their sound to more typically commercial venues. This open-mindedness and his enthusiasm are standing him in great stead as he becomes more and more successful.

I caught up with him enjoying one of the mere five days he has scheduled in to be back home in Frankfurt, before he spends the next few weeks playing festivals and parties all over Europe...

Over the course of the summer you're playing at both indoor and outdoor venues. Which do you prefer?

"I like a mix. I'm happy to be playing all these venues this summer, but in Ibiza it can be very hot during the day so it's always difficult to create a party vibe because people are more laid back. Night time is amazing! I really love Space, especially the terrace, and Sankeys is one of my favourite spots in Ibiza, because it's actually really underground."

Speaking of underground... there's a bit of a debate on the island this summer whether ‘underground' music really exists anymore. What's your opinion on that?

"I almost think this year is a bit too underground. There's too many clubs and parties for people to choose from, but I'm very happy to see that there's so much going on for our type of music. Underground is ruling the island. Of course the mainstream has always been part of it; there have always been cheesy parties, foam parties and such. I've just seen people complaining about Paris Hilton coming to the island... So what? Cheese has always been part of Ibiza! It's never harmed or affected the underground scene on the island. There's still so much space for us, so let them do their stuff and we can do ours."

You're in Ibiza a lot this summer which is really exciting. How do you find your summers compare to your winters?

"The summer I'm just never at home. So it's difficult to work on music during the summer, I did my last tracks at the beginning of June and since then I haven't been able to get back to the studio. When things calm down to regular weekend gigs then you can focus on producing music again."

Why did you go from Cadenza Booking to Artist Alife? Was it a musical, logistical or personal move?

"First of all I'm very happy with the success I had with Cadenza. I've experienced a lot, my career blew up through their name and of course I had a lot of support from them, but Cadenza went in a direction where I didn't feel so musically close to anymore. It's like with football players - they play for one team for three years and then at one point they need to change! Loco Dice was a supporter from the very first days. He was the first DJ to play my first release on a record show in 2008 and since then he has always been a friend and a supporter of my music. When I made this decision to go another direction, he said why don't you finally come to us? I made the decision last September and it's been going good for me. I'm playing more on the island this year than I played last year."

You were introduced to electronic music very young, but obviously to some extent we are all influenced by the music we're brought up around. What sort of music did you grow up with? Does that still influence your music today?

"I grew up with different styles of music. I think the first thing when I was a kid was German pop music. Then I was into heavy metal, then hip hop for a very long time, then drum and bass... Electronic music came when I was 17. Still today I listen to all genres because they give me inspiration. There's everything on my iPod from hip hop to jazz, to pop to rock. It would be stupid to just focus on one genre when there's so much variety."

You've played in both huge and intimate clubs all over the world, but speaking as a clubber rather than a DJ, do you have a favourite club you like to go to?

"For me it is and always will be Robert-Johnson in Offenbach. I've been going there since 2002 and I've been educated in this club. The main influence on me in the last 10 years is this club. It's just the perfect environment for me, it's like a club should be. It's focussed on music, it's small, you can be with friends, forget about everything around you, it's not too much design. A proper underground venue. Perfect."

Talk to me about any exciting projects you've got coming up. Anything we should be looking out for?

"Well I was in the studio before the summer and finished a couple of things which will be released over the next month. Then I'm really happy about being back on Gerd Janson's label Running Back, and I have an EP which will be released on the 26th of August. Then I have a track featured on the hundredth release of Nic Fanciulli's label Saved. And finally, by the end of the year, my debut on Desolat!"

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