First up for The Beat Ranch interviews is Hard NRG producer and DJ, Robbie Muir. After getting hooked to the electronic sounds of trance and house back in 98/99, Robbie started producing his own tracks while completing a HND in music production. Be sure to check out his awsome showcase mix, which is exclusive to The Beat Ranch.
First off thanks for taking the time out to do this with us.
No problem at all guys, what you are doing is great and I'm always happy to be a part of something like The Beat Ranch!
Where abouts do you reside?
I live in a Northern English county called Cumbria, or more commonly known as 'The Lake District'. I've lived here all my life. There isn't much here at all really, mountains, lakes and tourists!! The club scene is pretty minimal here but I dont mind travelling to events at all, it's only an hour or so drive to some of the big cities so it's not too bad.
How is the scene there at the moment? What sounds/styles are taking over the speakers?
In my opinion the scene is good at the minute. It tends to be a bit hit and miss for me sometimes and there's not always that much that I would go out and buy, but recently there's been a lot more stuff I'm really liking. There seems to be a lot more warm up stuff around at the minute and the sound definitely seems to be getting a lot more diverse which is always good.
How did you get into the hard nrg scene?
I was always a big fan of the 'Trade' sound back in the day and started buying hard house vinyl around 1998/99. I could already mix as I'd had decks for 2 or 3 years but had only really bought trance and house. I started buying as much as I could really, favourite labels included Trade, Nukleuz, Kaktai, and Tidy to name a few. It all progressed from there really, started going to a lot more clubs, listening to more and more DJ's and generally got to know the scene a lot better.
Who do you look up to in the hard nrg scene and why?
I would have to say Paul Maddox and Dom Sweeton here, for obvious reasons. By far 2 of the best producers in the scene at the minute and not only for their production skills and the quality of their sound, but also for the amount of engineering they do for other people.
What labels/artists are you doing it for you at the moment?
Vicious, Flashpoint, Toolbox, Operation 9, Contact, Nil by Mouth, Volatile, Turtle Dog, all spring to mind. Lovin Maddox's stuff as always, and Jon BW, Oz & Dom, Frank Farrell, Dave Owens all making quality stuff at the minute.
Tell us about your production experience, what kind of gear do you use and what advice would you give someone who is new to production?
I've been producing for about 7 years now. It all started when I decided I wanted to take the music further. Coming from a musical family I had lots of support and in 2003 I completed a HND in Music Production. It was a full time 2 year course and covered every aspect of music/sound/production you could think of. I started writing some stuff around the same time i started the course and as it went on and I gained knowledge the projects at home started to get better! I'm using mostly software at the minute with a midi controller keyboard but I plan to buy some hardware pretty soon. My advice to anyone starting out is be creative! Dont follow any rules just do your own thing, and if it sounds good... use it!!
Who would you like to collaborate with the most?
I guess i would have to say Dom Sweeton. I'd love to spend the day in a studio with someone as experienced as him. He's played such a big part in the scene and it'd be a very interesting and beneficial day!
What's in your production pipeline, what can we expect to hear from you in the near future?
More of everything really!! I dont like to stick to exactly the same style all the time, like to vary it a bit. More experimental stuff I would say. I've been working on a couple of house tunes as well so you might see some more house from me!
What has been your favourite or most memorable djing experience?...
I'd say this would have to be last year at a night called Delerium in Carlisle. It was the first time I'd ever played a set of all my own tunes, which was definitely a mile stone for me. The sound system was amazing and it was also the first time i'd heard my stuff on such a loud rig.
With regards to labels going to digital, what is your take on it? Will vinyl last another year?
Ah the old vinyl vs digital question!! It's definitely a hot topic at the minute. Personally I do love vinyl and always will but digital just seems to be so much easier now. I would say i play about 80% digital 20% vinyl at the minute and thats only because some stuff is still only available on vinyl. I would be quite happy to see it all turn digital, dont get me wrong I do love vinyl, but at the same time I'm fully up for embrasing new technology! My sets mainly consist of my own stuff at the minute anyway and thats all on CD.
Thanks again for your time, will hope to hear more from ya in the future.
Enjoy the mix, for info, dates and mixes see www.myspace.com/musicmuir, www.operation9.co.uk
Scott Fo Shaw
JP & Jukesy