A rising star of the house and techno scene who's got a way with a deep, twisted groove
Hailing originally from Nice, French DJ/producer Robin Ordell really made his name when he moved to London and became part of the Half Baked party crew. The east London Sunday afternoon party set up by Remi Landaz and Bruno Ciaramicoli in 2009 took him on as resident and, as a result, put him firmly on the house and techno map.
He's still involved with Half Baked, but recently he's moved to Berlin, where he's concentrating on developing his production career. He's had releases to date on labels such as Leftroom, Discobar, Finest Hour and Eko as well as Half Baked's own label, while as a DJ his small hours-friendly blend of deep house, minimal and techno is increasingly in demand at some of the coolest clubs in Europe and beyond.
With a new EP on Jan Kreuger's Hello?Repeat label on the horizon, we figured now would be a good time to grab him for a quick chat…
You're from Nice, lived for a long time in London and are now based in Berlin. How would you say each of those cities has shaped the music you make (if at all)?
"All of these cities have influenced me in their own way. What I keep most from Nice is coming from the music my parents used to listen to. My father was really into jazz, and that definitely stuck.
"London and Berlin have impacted me both through their cultural heritage (on the music level), and through the people I've gotten to collaborate with. It’s a real advantage when living in big cities to get to know people from different countries, and whom themselves have been influenced through their own channels."
I see you played the Half Baked New Year's Day party in London. How was it? And is it difficult to stay involved in Half Baked when you're so far away geographically?
"It’s funny to answer this question now, because I was so pleased with the NYD event, I kept talking about it for a week! The vibe was insane - we could feel the room boiling. Number 90’s sound is now super on-point and the whole set-up works like a charm, it’s a real pleasure.
"And about my involvement in Half Baked, it hasn’t changed much. I’ve always loved being a resident for this party, and as long as I’m given slots, I’ll come and play!"
You also played at Roof Club in Italy on New Year's Eve. What are some of your favourite places and venues to play, and why?
"Roof Club for me is pretty much the perfect format. I love these intimate 250-capacity venues, who work on their sound and on the DJ's comfort behind the decks. All my favourite clubs to play are within this size and of this quality, such as Veniceberg in Verona, Closer in Kiev and Red 58 in Barcelona."
Looking at your discography… unlike a lot of producers these days, you don't seem to to go in for collaborations much. Do you prefer working alone or is it just that opportunities haven't arisen?
"I’ve done a lot of those but little of it has actually seen the light, release-wise. I’m now working on a couple of interesting projects that will both be unveiled this year, and I’m pretty excited about them."
Is there anyone you'd particularly like to work with if you had the chance?
"I feel like I already do work with pretty cool people, actually! But If I could chose anyone I probably wouldn’t choose someone I look up to too much, because I would probably freeze when I got there!"
Talk us through what's in your studio at the moment. Are you an 'in the box' kinda guy or do you prefer to work with hardware?
"I’m actually a big fan of machines! I’ve been collecting some for a while now and only use the computer to record today, which I’m pretty happy about. I like to touch and feel. It’s like comparing records to digital files for me. I like the object and the excitement build-up before acquiring it, especially when it’s rare!
"On the hardware side I have an SH-101, an Oberheim Matrix 1000 and a bit of a modular set-up, to name a few. And then I control all of that with a Cirklon sequencer.
…and if the studio was on fire and you could grab just one piece of kit, what would it be?
"My Cirklon. Then I’d run back through the flames for my Eventide!"
Finally, what else is going on with you right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"This year will be my busiest so far! On top of the Hello?Repeat release I’ll be releasing EPs on Finest Hour, Subsequent, Assemble Music, and on another, yet-to-be-born label. Plus those collaborations, so there's lots of music to come..."
Words: Russell Deeks
Robin Ordell's Dream Logic EP is out on Hello?Repeat on 19 February