Exclusive Artist Interview – Robot Jox | Tracks Including “C-Mon”, “Far & Wide” and “Try”
With little to no social media existence, it was a fluke that I stumbled upon Seattle, Washington’s own Robot Jox. Skeets and Rubicon (Robot Jox) are a real talent that everyone should hear and enjoy. After only a few listens of their tracks, I knew I HAD to snag an interview from them. And let me tell you, these guys are the real deal! True music lovers, talented artists, and 100% bro status. Check out the interview below.
(CG): So how did it all begin? What got you guys into music?
Rubicon – I guess the way it began is not exciting. Both of my parents are musicians, so I kinda didn’t have a choice to dislike music. As for getting into music, my parents encouraged me to learn how to play the piano and violin as a child, but unfortunately at the time, I didn’t take to it, so I stopped taking lessons. When I was 14, I started teaching myself how to play the guitar and began to write songs. I picked up the piano to add to my versatility as a performer. I started writing songs because I felt that I could create songs that were equal or better than what I was hearing on the radio. Everything else kind of evolved from there.
Skeets – My fascination with electronic music began around age 8 when I would travel with my parents to visit our family in Europe. Top 40 music was quite different from what it was in the US at that time, and I heard a lot of weird euro-dance and euro-pop that I never heard at home. When Napster first came out I started downloading and researching a lot of the stuff that I remembered from Europe when I was very young. Unfortunately, I had no friends who were into it, and would probably have been laughed at for listening to that kind of music, so I kept it to myself. When I graduated middle school I realized I wasn’t good enough to compete in sports anymore, so I needed to find a new hobby and a better way to pick up chicks. I was listening to lots of the pop-punk stuff that was popular at the time and I decided the rockstar route was a good way to go, so I asked my parents to buy me an electric guitar. After I started playing guitar for a while, I started getting into jazz music. After a few years, I finally got sick of jazz I re-discovered dance music and never looked back.
(CG): Who or what gave you that initial push to pursue music further?
Rubicon – I had a run performing a few years back, but nothing came of it and I stopped perusing music. I planned on only doing music as a hobby and didn’t originally plan on taking music further again. Aside from my parent’s encouragement, there were many people involved in pushing me to pursue music further. I can name four people in particular who gave me the extra confidence starting with my now partner Skeets, NISSIM Black, Kei Odate, and Kenshu Noguchi.
Skeets – It’s not really easy to pinpoint any one thing or person, because it was a several-year-long process of convincing myself that I actually had enough talent to make it more than a hobby. A big factor that played into it as well was feeling like I finally found my “wheelhouse” in terms of the style of music I wanted to make because I spent lots of time making jazz, rock, and hip-hop records before I felt like I really found my niche with dance music.
(CG): How’d you guys come up with the name ‘Robot Jox’?
Skeets – Last year when our management asked us to produce the official Seattle Seahawks playoffs anthem, we still didn’t have a production name. I had recently re-watched one of my favorite movies from when I was young, the terrible 80’s sci-fi B-movie, Robot Jox. We decided it was somehow appropriate so we stole it.
(CG): What’s your favorite track of all time? (Could be yours or another artist or group)
Rubicon – It’s tough to choose one, but Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah.
Skeets – Impossible question to answer, but right now my answer would be Aphex Twin – Windowlicker.
(CG): What’s your current favorite track? (Could be yours or another artist or group)
Skeets – Quiescence by T2Kazuya
(CG): Where do you think most of your inspiration comes from?
Rubicon – I really <3 pop music. The king of pop Michael Jackson, top 40 stuff, and pure emotion from a given moment.
Skeets – It comes from a combination of experimentation, stealing other people’s good ideas, and magic.
(CG): Do either of you play any other instruments?
Rubicon – Yes, guitar and piano
Skeets – Guitar and bass
(CG): What would be your dream collaboration?
Rubicon – Perfume, Adam Levine, Stargate
Skeets – Hayley Williams, Johnathan Mendelsohn, Bonnie McKee, Dr. Luke
(CG): If you could play anywhere in the world where would you play?
Rubicon – Tomorrowland for an official music venue and the famous cross walk in Shibuya, Tokyo for an unofficial venue.
Skeets – First band on the moon!
(CG): Well that’s not on Earth but count me in!
(CG): Any hobbies outside of music?
Rubicon – Basketball, tennis, eating, board games (not the easy stuff like monopoly or life, the good shit like Axis and Allies, War in the Age of Imperialism, Diplomacy, and Attack! to name a few). Kinda nerdy, but I know you wish you could be open about as I am.
Skeets – Beating Rubicon at tennis.
(CG): So how is the EDM scene in your eyes at the moment?
Rubicon – I think it’s doing great! Aspects of EDM are finding their way into top-40 music. When we hear Avicii on a rock radio station, I think it’s kind of crazy.
Skeets – Overall I think it’s doing great. There are tons of great new artists emerging daily, and tons of healthy competition between producers. But with the incredible accessibility of music production tools and technology, there are lots of opportunities to fake your way through the industry in an attempt to cash in on the bandwagon, which sucks.
(CG): How do you see the EDM scene 5 years from now?
Skeets – It will either fade away back into relative obscurity and be overtaken by the next big thing, or it will continue evolve and be further absorbed into the collective American psyche. Either way, I think a big shift is looming on the horizon as the massive EDM bubble continues to expand. My theory is that it takes about 3-4 years of doing any one thing before you get jaded. As America’s mainstream culture is now approaching the 4th year of its EDM obsession, consumers will begin to demand new and different things from their music and events, and if musicians and the powers that be don’t react appropriately, they run the risk of alienating their main clientele.
(CG): Any plans for the future?
We’re working on a new official anthem for the 2013-14 Seattle Seahawks and working with some very talented local songwriters and singers to put some vocals on our tunes, and hopefully with some help, pitch them to some significant artists. So keep your ears peeled.
(CG): Any shout outs you’d like to make?
Both our parents, NISSIM Black, Zaki•Rose, Wael “L” Abou-Zaki, Ricardo Frazier, Jeff Mendoza, Kei Odate, DJ Kenshu Noguchi, Jennifer Newberry, Bridget “Jett” Hermano, Josh Diem, Jake Foxcurran, and Rubicon’s siblings Natan, Benji, Mali, Naima, Emmanuel, Coby, and Ciona. #gohawks
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