Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.
Rrotik’s journey is one of evolution and self re-discovery. Having grown up in the Eastern state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the producer — whose real name is Eduardo — knew he was meant for music from a young age.
He originally got his start as part of Dirtyloud, an electro house outfit whose success allowed him to stake his claim in the music industry. However, the path he’d been on as a collaborative, more commercially-inclined act was not one he truly belonged in. He soon withdrew, settling into the studio and finding himself and his sonic path before re-emerging as the rrotik we know today.
The producer’s artistic renaissance has been fruitful thus far, thanks in large part to the fact his is finally able to manifest his ultimate artistic vision. His newfound field of expertise lies in the bass and tech house realm, where he joyfully conjures up sets that fit perfectly onto the dance-floor.
Music is only one piece of the puzzle that is rrotik. His home is known for its mass mining operations and bountiful fields of minerals, which has since transformed into a bonafide passion that he keeps alive outside the DJ booth. In this edition of Beyond the Booth, he offers up an in-depth look into his fascination with all things mineral-related and his current collection. He also divulges some details on his affection for incense.
Capping off the interview, rrotik also put together a rousing mix filled with different flavors of house that energizes its listeners.
Can you tell me about how you first got into minerals?
I think it started when I was very young — around 5 to 6 years old. My father owns a farmhouse about an hour away from where we used to live together. The road on the way there was unpaved at the time, and it was covered in green quartz. I thought they were emeralds! I used to pick up little pieces of quartz and fill up whole buckets with them Back then, I felt like they gave me special powers.
Minas Gerais, the state I’m from in Brazil, is also known for its mining. If you translate its name to English, it actually means “general mines;” this is because we had the biggest gold mines back then, in addition to other minerals like diamonds.The biggest mining operations used to take place here, across all cities, and so that history is also ingrained in us. I’ve simply been in touch with this side of me from a young age.
Did you study both the geological side of stones and the sacred healing properties of them?
During my school years it was just the historical aspects, but as I grew up I started reading various things on the internet. As I said earlier, I used to think the rocks gave me special powers when I was young, and this came to full circle when I started learning about New Age stuff and attending music festivals. Maybe it’s my “hippie” side talking, but I’ve always kind of felt that these stones have healing powers. Also, in general I like to collect different stones because they’re beautiful; I have a nice collection.
How long have you been building your collection?
From age 15 until about two years ago I began building it. I started with about ten different types of quartz, and also had bought some pyrite. You could find these types of stones everywhere. Last year I also went to South Africa and picked up this huge variety of stones at a shop there. I must have bought about 10-15 types of stones; malachite, azurite, flourite, opals…
What stones speak out to you the most, and what do you like about them?
My favorite ever is amethyst! I’m not sure what it is exactly, but for some reason I’m really drawn to it. Maybe it’s the color, or some kind of vibe I sense from it. I have some really cool pieces — two are from Africa, another is from Northern Brazil, and the others are from my state. Every time I see a very interesting, or dark colored one, I feel like I need to buy it.
Have you bought any amethyst recently aside from South Africa?
Yes, actually — from Zimbabwe as well.
Do you ever craft your own pieces with stones, or wear them as necklaces?
I just collect them. I do have a necklace that I like to wear at every gig, however, that is made out of small sodalite stones.
I’m looking forward to returning to South Africa soon and heading back to the shops to pick up some more cool finds!
Where are some other cool places in the world to buy different types of stones?
Los Angeles, actually! In March I went to this place while on a small production trip. It was a huge store and museum in Santa Monica called “Wonders of the World,” or something like that. I’ve never seen anything like it. Unfortunately, however, it was too expensive for me personally to buy a ton of stuff, so I just got a small citrine pendant that ended up costing $20. In the end, it was worth it because I’d wanted some for my collection.
I’m very lucky to live where I live because there are a ton of cool and affordable places close to home.
Let’s transition to your interest in incense. Can you give us a background story of your interest in it as well?
It began around a couple years ago. I hadn’t been too interested in it at first, but my girlfriend had a friend that gave her a pack of this very good citronella that kind of kicked it off.
What other scents are you fond of, and why?
There’s this manufacturer in Brazil called Inca, and they make super thick sticks of it, almost like a finger. They’re also known for infusing all of there stuff with frankincense. I’ve really grown to like burning this at home and when I’m making music. I find that it helps set the vibes I need to write, and that it’s very calming overall.
Sometimes when I come home from gigs I also feel the need to burn some sage, because it cleans the atmosphere. Sandalwood is excellent as well, as patchouli, passion fruit, and myrrh.
Wonderful! Now we’ll bring things back to the booth with some chat about things in the world of music. Are you playing any special gigs, or releasing new music that you’re excited about in the coming future?
I’m going to play Holy Ship! In January, and I’m really excited!
When working in music, you really need those signs that you’re moving forward, since the market is so crazy. There are many closed doors and people that bail on you in this business that it can get hard sometimes, you know? Small signs, like this gig, really give me hope!
I hope to play in the United States as well, potentially next summer. I’ve played there before as part of another project called Dirtyloud, where we played electro house and traveled throughout the country. Doing this once again, this time on my own, is a whole different thing.
This time it’s really your own vision.
Yes — and it makes me really excited that things are moving closer to where I want to be and beginning to materialize. This really drives me to go to the studio and work 10-12 hours a day.
Have there been any other recent big events or moments that have given you hope and reassurance of your success?
Not in particular, to be honest. Coming up though, I’m excited to return to South Africa, and later to Mozambique — they speak Portuguese there. Because of our shared language and colonizers, we consider ourselves as “sibling countries.” Ultimately, this is a very big opportunity for me to see the world and to learn about other places and cultures. At times I feel Brazil is like a bubble. It’s so divided, where the rich are very rich, and the poor are very poor. It’s nice to escape that bubble sometimes and see more outside of what I’m used to. It’s really amazing that my music is helping me get to these places, because now I can grow up and become an overall better person!
Feature photo credit: Tielly Ogura