Rodriguez Jr. Talks Road Trips, Books & Working With Mobilee

The French artist has featured his melodic sound on some of the world’s most influential house music imprints.

Rodriguez Jr. is an award-winning music producer and live performer.

Olivier Mateu aka Rodriguez Jr. is a French artist who was first mentored by Laurent Garnier before himself becoming something of an international superstar.

Along with playing sets all over the world, he is also known for his melody-rich and melodic productions on scene leading house labels such as Anjunadeep, Stil Vor Talent and Mobilee Records.

Most recently, Rodriguez Jr. returned to Mobilee for a release called Kilian that’s made in collaboration with his wife Liset Alea, who also adds exquisite vocals.

Keen to learn more about the new release and his passions outside of music, Rodriguez Jr. kindly took a moment to answer our questions…

Hi Oliver, it’s great to be talking with you today. What part of the world are you currently based in, and what’s the local lockdown situation?

Hello! I am talking with you from Miami Beach, my new home base. We moved here just a few days ago and it looks like this part of the world has never been affected by a lockdown or a pandemic, as things are pretty relaxed compared to where we were before.

I’m told you are something of a family man, and I wanted to ask how you coped with this during lockdown, as it must have been hard having limited contact with relatives?

My wife was pregnant during the full lockdown in France, so the timing was actually perfect, because we were able to stay home, and fully enjoy this moment together. Of course, for many artists it was a difficult time, but we tried to make the best of it, and redefine how we could exist as artists without being able to travel or perform, it was an interesting challenge.

I understand you also enjoy taking road trips, what do you like most about this experience, and are there any journeys you could recommend?

Yes, I love road trips, what I love is the sense of freedom and open spaces, the feeling of escape, and the constant flow of memories that you gather as you go, as if you were collecting them in a book. Recently we did the classic Route 66 trip, and just driving without any plans or hotel reservations, which was incredibly inspiring. In general, the US is a fantastic playground for road tripping, because of its landscape, size, and the characters you encounter along the way, which is real as it gets.

Do your road trips ever influence your music, and do you take a laptop to work on production ideas?

Yes, road trips have majorly influenced my music, and on my previous album Blisss. Some of the tracks even have the names of cities we crossed through, because inspirations came directly from the journeys open book of souvenirs, and the abandoned hotels we peered into. There were sometimes deserted highways and gas stations, like in a Wim Wenders film.

Talking of your music, I understand you have a new EP coming out on Mobilee. Could you talk us through the release and its concept?

Yes, I’m excited to release new material. This EP is the last recording from my Paris studio, so I wanted to encapsulate this feeling of leaving such an exceptional city like Paris, and closing this luminous chapter after 5 productive years. One track is called ‘Au Revoir Paris’ and the other, ‘Kilian’ is the name of our son, who’s possibly the most beautiful gift we received from the city.

Your new release also features Liset Alea, how do you guys know each other, and what influence did she have on the tracks?

We met many, many years ago, back in 2003 via the Fcom label. At the time, I was a part of The Youngsters. She was singing for Alexkid, and we met backstage at the Francofolies. We’ve had many projects and collaborations along the way. She had a direct influence on the tracks, obviously she co-wrote Au Revoir Paris, as she takes the narrative lead on the songwriting. She told the story in words and melodies, while I focus on framing it with production and the electronic arrangement. She is also a major influence on Kilian, as she’s his mother, so equally understands the reason behind the track’s creation.

Keeping on the subject of your music, I understand you are a collector of vintage synths. What are some of the ones you like most, and are there any unusual stories about how you came to own them?

Yes, I have a weakness for the vintage synths. It’s a never-ending quest, like any old object, they have their character. Their history and fragilities are all part of their redeeming qualities, and that is exactly what I am looking for. Beyond the sound, I seek out a relationship with my synths, and a unique interaction that comes effortlessly with vintage equipment. I particularly like the ARP2600, and of course and the ELKASynthex. Those two were childhood dreams to own, and instruments that I listened to in recordings when I was 8 years old. They both helped propel me into a lifetime journey of music production.

I’m told you are also someone who likes to read a lot of books, what have you been reading lately, and do you have any recommendations from the last few months?

Recently, I was rereading Patrick Modiano, he always had an important influence on my music. He has an interesting angle of contemplation, and a sense of time that passes slowly and heavily, along with the concept of memories that blur and disappear… these are all elements that I implement in my music.

What’s coming up next in your schedule, any new gigs or releases you can tell us about?

It’s so great to get back on tour. At the moment, I am extensively touring around Europe and North America, and I am also finalising two major projects that were begun during lockdown: a new solo album, and a full-length duo album with Liset Alea.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, do you have a message for your fans or anything you want to add before we finish?

Thank you. To my fans, I’d like to say that I’m looking forward to seeing you all, and I’m so grateful for the support you showed me during the lockdown, accompanying me on this virtual parenthesis we all experienced together.

You can buy a copy of Rodriguez Jr.’s new Kilian EP on Mobilee from HERE


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