Meet the underground talent of CRSSD Fest: Rodriguez Jr.
CRSSD‘s 7th edition is a special one —it marks the official third birthday of the festival. Hosted at its usual location at the picturesque Waterfront Park in San Diego, the semi-annual event certainly hasn’t faltered in its lineup curation, inviting the likes of Cirez D, Empire of the Sun, Henry Saiz, and Tchami onto its bill across March 3 & 4. Dancing Astronaut joins organizers in digging a little deeper into its roster to unearth its top underrated performers to find out their backstories thus far.
Rodriguez Jr. is well-loved among the underground community. His philosophy is one that speaks of true musicianship: “Good electronic music is not a jail.” Indeed, he refuses to be boxed in by any one genre, spending copious amounts of time in his studio toying around with an array of vintage and newer machines to create music across the electronica spectrum — from downtempo/ambient, to techno.
His passion and talent are truly infectious; so much so that he was picked up by the Mobilee family shortly after building a reputation for himself, and he’s since been an integral part of the family for nearly a decade. One of his more recent contributions to the label — his 10-piece sophomore album, Baobab — helped boost the label’s forward-thinking initiative through its graceful incorporation of sonic elements and genres into a cohesive, introspective body of work.
Equipped with new music and a refreshed live set, Rodriguez Jr. will be taking over the main stage at CRSSD for what is sure to be a dynamic performance. He generously sat down with Dancing Astronaut ahead of time, providing a deeper insight into who he is as an artist, his inspirations, and more.
What catalyzed your love for dance music?
My love of dance music was accelerated by dance music which was accelerated by my love for dance music which was…
What was your first label release? Would you still play it?
My first label release was from a small label from the south of France called G-Funk, which was how we were discovered by Laurent Garnier. It was pure vinyl releases and he often played these vinyls and sent us positive feedback. It was basically hard techno but with a heavy Detroit influence, lots of emotion and a sort of melancholic air to it and we were very influenced by “Underground Resistance:” Kevin Saunderson, Derick May, and the overall Detroit sound. I am not sure I could still play this music now but I am still proud of it because it had a deep meaning, it had substance and soul. A reason for existing.
Describe the moment or event that made you realize that you were meant to be a full-time DJ.
I was playing in a club in Montpellier, and Laurent Garnier was in town playing that night and he met us for a drink and he asked us to send him some music. He said it was exactly what he was looking for for his label, “F-Communications.” So I recorded 35 tracks in 2 months and sent these to him, and basically this became our first album on his label. I slept about 5 hours per night, my friends would bring me food and cigarettes and basically kept me alive and I was like a machine. One track per day. He accepted the music we sent, he kept 24 tracks of the 35.
What’s your opinion of the dance scene in the US right now?
EDM has created a huge momentum, and the kids that grow up with this movement are now looking for something more authentic that evolves alongside them. I feel very close to the ‘burners’ because they look for something that is beyond the aesthetic, it’s more a way of life, a higher standard, a kind of utopia I guess, and I feel that my music is a perfect soundtrack for this. There’s Robot Heart, Desert Hearts…all these tribes are a source of inspiration for me.
What are you looking forward to most about CRSSD Fest?
Performing in California is always a big event for me, there is a particular sense of community which is very particular to the Californian reality. The lineup and the artists that participate are varied and colorful, and I feel fortunate to add my own piece of the story to this.
Where are your favorite places to play in the world, and why?
I guess it’s South America because I feel this is the beginning of a ‘moment’ for South America, something is happening there, people are very open and receptive to all kinds of incoming movements, musically and socially.
What are the biggest things in your pipeline at the moment?
This year, we are looking forward to many things. We’re working on a new live show following the cliff side performance we did in Etretat with Liset Alea. I’m convinced that as far as electronic music we are just at the beginning of a new frontier as far as live performances are involved, audience interaction and the connection between emotion and technology.
I think we should not leave behind the human element when we are in electronic music. Right now we are searching for ways to better contain these two vital worlds; who we are and where we are going. In between these two terrains is ‘the moment’, and ‘the moment’ is what we are trying to capture, the actual creation before your eyes.
I am currently facing a very exciting blank canvas before me, I’m preparing new ideas and some fresh releases for the summer.
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Apart from the fact that there are many friends of mine such as Sasha, Nicole Moudaber, Patrice Baumel there are also a few artists which I’m a fan of….I’m looking forward to checking out Little Dragon and Empire Of The Sun, especially on this day when we all share the same stage.