Gotta Dance Dirty™: In the spirit of Gotta Dance Dirty tradition, if the first round of drinks is on me, then you’ll have…
John Roman: If I could have anything, there’s nothing better than a Carling Lager or a Lakeport Pilsner (everyone from Ontario knows what I’m talking about!), but more realistically, I’d take a gin and tonic. Thank you.
GDD: So when and how did you start producing? Name some of your major influences.
JR: I started producing hip-hop when I was in Grade 9, so 13 or 14. I was absolutely terrible. I feel sorry for any of my friends that had to nod and act like anything I was making was half-decent because, at that age, I really had no idea what I was doing. Back then I was all about DJ Shadow, RJD2, Dilla, Madlib, RZA, anything Native Tongues – that sampled sound. But about two years ago, I just went headfirst into electronic music, and man, there’s just so much out there, so many genres, you can always find something. Right now, the biggest influences on my electronic work are The Proxy, Boys Noize, Justice, SebastiAn, Mr. Oizo, Nadastrom, but there’s just so many great acts out there, and I don’t want to sound like a Facebook Favorite Music section, haha.
GDD: What have you been listening to these days?
JR: Other than the acts I mentioned above, a lot more techno and minimal artists. Oliver Huntemann, Renaissance Man, Noob, Afrojack, Popof, among others. At the same time, I’ve kind of been getting back into hip-hop. MF Doom is in SERIOUS rotation right now.
GDD: Just lurked your MySpace and was surprised to see an empty calendar. Any plans to tour in the near future? Hopefully down to the United States, land of privatized health care?
JR: Well hopefully I’ll be down there before it becomes universal, haha. I’ve just been a serious hermit in the studio this summer. A lot of people are whispering about the ‘death of the banger’, which I think is true only the sense that the ‘banger’ as we knew it before will die, but there will always some new form of fist-pumping music – we all need it. So I’ve just been trying to re-invent myself, make something more musical, original and closer to my influences. Also, at 20, I’m still in school for about 8 months of the year, so touring during the school year is a little tough, haha.
GDD: A myriad of producers tried their hand at remixing The Bloody Beetroots’ “Warp 1.9″ but nothing came close to the original. What made you instead decide to not only sample “Warp 1.9″, but A-trak and Laidback Luke’s “Shake it Down” for your smash hit, “Warp it Down”?
JR: Like you said, nothing came close to the original, and I knew that from the on-set. “Warp 1.9” works so well because it’s just that ‘Dominator’ synth and drums, adding to that would just take away from it. I just didn’t feel comfortable playing “Warp 1.9” live because EVERY DJ was doing, and I knew clubbers were getting sick of hearing it OVER and OVER again. The same goes for “Shake it Down”, so decided I’d just combine them, that way I could play two of my favorite tracks from the past year without coming off cliché.
GDD: Tell us about this remix of the Tron Legacy theme that we’re premiering here on Gotta Dance Dirty.
JR: Tron – one of my favorite movies. Daft Punk – one of my favorite artists. I had to. I thought the Legacy theme was cool; I just wanted to expand on it. It’s a bit more electronica, and slower than my usual work. I wanted to make a remix that felt just like the movie. Picture yourself standing alone on a never-ending computer grid, surrounded by nothingness, eerily quiet as though you know something is about to happen…does it sound like that? Haha.
GDD: A penny for your thoughts on the future of electro.
JR: The speed that electro is developing at is just incredible. A sound can go from praise to criticism within a matter of months, which can definitely be frustrating for a producer, but that’s the nature of the game. I think the producers that will have the greatest longevity will be those that work on being original outside of the trends rather than playing catch-up. Imitation gets noticed, originality gets remembered. As well I believe the lasting producers will be good musicians. Only those that know what they’re doing musically will be able to change with the times.
GDD: Any advice or wisdom for aspiring producers?
JR: Study your instruments and synths! The weakness I find in a lot of new producers is that there’s too much guesswork in their composition and sound design. Part of being an electronic musician is being a musician. Practice, practice, practice. And figure out what everything does in your DAW. Understanding your software doesn’t end at figuring out how to sidechain.
GDD: Anything else you’d like to say?
JR: Expect a LOT of new material in the fall, some original, some collaborations, and not all under the “John Roman” name. Gotta Dance Dirty™ is the best electro blog in the world. 704 Fuck Shack for life. Shout out to super-fan Matt Peen Prior.
GDD: Last but not least, do you absolutely have to dance dirty? Is there really any other way?
JR: There’s absolutely no other way. There’s a crazy party here in Toronto called “Dance Like You Fuck”, and I hope that’s how everyone approaches dancing to electro music.