Robert James has made a big impact in a short time. First surfacing amidst a new wave of house talent on Lee Foss and Jamie Jones’ label du jour, Hot Creations, he has gone on to take his infectious dancefloor sound to all corners of the globe as well as labels like LA based Culprit, Jef K’s Silver Network and the legendary Strictly Rhythm.
It was hearing Andy Weatherall at Sankeys in 2005, however, which inspired Robert to leave the army and focus on music full time: Since then he’s laid out his own nu-school sonic template with releases like “Sleep Moods”, “Malibu” (alongside Burnski) and “Big Ass Biscuit” (as Pteradactil Disco with Jamie, Lee and Fb Julian) begin championed by international spinners and respected music press alike.
“My style is all about the groove” says Robert. “I play house and techno, but always with groove.” He’s not wrong, and channelling that groove – as well as other influences like various fabric CDs, Radio 1 Essential Mixes and the work of French funksters Daft Punk, Robert has gone on to remix Hot Creations duo Clockworks, play Sonar in Barcelona, DEMF in USA and Hideout in Croatia.
If last year was the year Robert James broke through, 2012 is the year he establishes himself as an essential talent: there are remixes and solo productions coming on Saved (plus a collaboration with Simon Baker on the same label) as well as a return to his favoured Hot Creations labels for another solo EP and plenty more in the pipeline. He Also this summer starts his summer residency at Dc10 for Jamie Jone’s Paradise night on thursdays. With dates at Circoloco, Trouw Amsterdam, Panorama Bar Berlin and US tours. 2012 is going to be a another good year for Robert James.
Gavin Herlihy’s music has been a constant feature on underground house and techno’s most iconic labels since 2006. After starting this year with a bang with releases on esteemed labels Culprit, Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical and Leftroom his discography is backed up by previous outings on scene leaders like Cocoon and Buzzin Fly. As comfortable writing sublime deep house as he is at crafting no-nonsense future techno, few artists have achieved such a broad base of label support as this enigmatic Irishman.
Now based in the UK’s capital of house music, Leeds, Herlihy (pronounced Herl-i-hee) is an established feature on the global DJ circuit. He earned his place thanks to a two year stint learning his trade as an up-and-coming producer in Berlin at the end of the 2000s where he notched up gigs at the Panorama Bar, Watergate and Bar 25. In the last year his tracks have been championed by a diverse array of DJs from Seth Troxler and Ricardo Villalobos to Jamie Jones and Pete Tong. A split EP with Detroit legend Delano Smith last Summer was supported by the house and techno elite. Deep and dark bomb ‘With Me’ added fire to his ever evolving relationship with hot UK label, Leftroom while in February 2012 his Witching Hour single on Crosstown Rebel scored a Top Ten chart placing in Beatport’s Deep House Top Ten. It was closely followed by another bomb EP lead track ‘Get Loose’ which became a worldwide house anthem championed by many including Pete Tong on his Radio 1 show and iTunes in their featured tracks section.
It’s a long way from his debut single ‘Machine Ate My Homework’ in 2006, hailed by DJ Hell and Laurent Garnier as one of the tracks of the year. However, his roots in dance music lie much deeper than that. Herlihy’s teenage years were spent lost in the experimental rock of bands like Sonic Youth, Rage Against The Machine and Fugazi before uncovering electronic music during an eye opening festival pilgrimage to England at the tender age of 14. During this pivotal trip he remembers in particular hearing early drum ’n’ bass on a north London pirate radio station. “It sounded like the future being beamed down the radio waves,” he says. “And I’ve been chasing it ever since.”
The coming months will find Herlihy building on the success of his releases in 2012. With forthcoming music squared away for some of the scene’s most talked about labels, plans for his own vinyl only label in the making and his move last year to London super-agency Air London adding extra fire to his bookings, his star is set to shine even brighter than ever.