LessThan3: We have seen that dance music has continuously evolved as more and more genres are mixed together to produce new sounds. What is your take on this phenomenon and how do you see it affecting the course of dance music in the coming years?
Bob: Nobody believed in dance music fifteen years ago, but it was really in ‘96 or ‘97 that dance music exploded all around the world. Ever since DJs became icons, we’ve found that we aren’t classical musicians, so I started to make music in samples and recycled sounds. 2005 was really key for me in making different types of dance music, especially with YouTube and the internet as music became shared all around the world. Dance music became big, and R&B and hip hop didn’t necessarily become old but it needed to find a fresh new sound. A lot of pop artists said, “why not work with DJs and see if our sound can be a little bit updated?” So now we talk about the gap. I think it is closer than ever before, and it seems like dance music may become the mainstream that we are talking about.
LessThan3: Talk to us a bit about your inspirations for your new album Made in Jamaica.
Bob: Made in Jamaica has been very special because I have been going to Jamaica every year for five years now. I worked with Gary Pine to discover the country because I didn’t want to go alone. The first time I was there, Bob Livingston and Shaggy opened their studio to me and I made a beautiful album with a bunch of warm people; I loved being there.
LessThan3: Has the album gotten good reception?
Bob: Yes, and I’m very happy because now we’re nominated for a Grammy in a category I never expected to be in (best reggae album). It’s really strange because there are five albums of huge artists in reggae in the category, and people have the choice between me and those other huge artists, so I’m not sure what to do myself. It’s something very special for a French artist and DJ to be in that category.
LessThan3: You have gained a lot of attention from other artists remixing your music. Do you ever produce tracks specifically leaving room for other artists to give their interpretation?
Bob: No, I’ve never worked for somebody else. I never produced an original track for another artist than myself. I never really asked and requested for anything, actually. I prefer not to, since I don’t want to give away my sound to somebody else. I never understood why so many DJs remixed pop artists; if I work with a pop artist, it’s a collaboration. It’s the vibe in the studio we put out for each other that makes it work.
So we all know that dance fans go crazy for live vocals during the shows. Do you plan do perform your collaborations with Sean Paul
or any other vocalist in a live setting?
Bob: The market is in the clubs and live onstage; every artist can be making money now like this. It is really interesting to work with Sean Paul because he’s big in the scene in the US and I like to work with him to bring that scene into my music. But it seems like I have become very popular now. It’s amazing how DJs, and sometimes not singers anymore, can bring 5,000 people in front of a stage.
LessThan3: Where do you see DJs being placed on the US music scene? Do you see them breaking through to the mainstream?
Bob: I don’t really know. The DJ doesn’t have any stature in the US. The American audience needs the talent who sings the song, so we DJs never have an aura there. For me, it’s still in the underground. The music is starting to have some attention but it’s not like in Europe. But I’m not the prophet so I can’t say what is going to happen. We’ll see. What I see is a lot hip hop and pop stars wanting to collaborate with European DJs, at least at the moment. I don’t know if DJs are going to be played a lot on US pop radio. I doubt it, but I want to believe it in it.
LessThan3: If the world were going to end in LessThan3 minutes, what song would you listen to?
Bob: I think Rock with You by Michael Jackson. It’s a happy track–a dance classic with the perfect vibe and vocal. It’s amazing.
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Bob: Peace, love, and house-music.