Known for his fusion of genres, Robbie Rivera's latest album showcases his multiple talents of composing electronic music. From the magical house anthem, 'When The Music Comes Around' to the underground acid house gem 'Don't Know' to progressive electronic beauty 'All I Wanted', Robbie once again delivers an impressive body of work with the ‘Changes’ LP. Below, he takes us into his headspace during the creation of the album for a behind-the-scenes look via a new installment of our series The Director's Cut.
How to listen: There are a couple of ways to proceed. First, you can listen to the whole album, which you will find below, and then read the notes. Or, read the notes as you listen to each track. This will completely change your perspective on the whole release itself and bring you closer to the artist and their work.
Words by Robbie Rivera
When I wrote the music, especially the chords, I was in a depressed mood. As I added the beats and the bassline, I realized that the cleaner the arrangement was the better it sounded. The chords spoke to me and I was in a trance with the melody! I used a retro synth from Logic Pro because I wanted that late 90’s sound with some progressive house tones. What gave me goosebumps was when Georgia Train sent me the lyrics and vocals. I think she felt what I was feeling when I wrote the music as the lyrics she wrote brought the song home. Legendary DJ/producer David Morales did a huge remix that will be released a week after the album.
Latin beats come naturally to me and I wanted to merge a trumpet melody with a hypnotic bassline with shaking Latin beats. I originally produced this demo for Pitbull for a possible collaboration but that did not happen, so I sent it to a few songwriters and again Georgia Train delivered the lyrics, whilst She Koro worked on the vocals. I tested it at a club in Miami and the reaction was huge. It’s one of those tracks that has an underground feel with a bit of commercial appeal.
3. Sun is Shining
I went back to basics with this track and got Benny Camaro to play some chords whilst a friend of his played some live bass. The first version I did was good, but it was not making me smile. I did 4 different versions until I tried something unique. I exported the midi files to audio files (chords, guitar, strings, bass) then sampled them as if I was sampling a music section from an old disco record. I then chopped it and created a new track that has that disco filtered vibe that I used to do. (To give you a reference of what I mean, listen to Spiller’s Groove jet. The super cool song was written by Ned Bigham which has written many songs for me and performed by Rikette from the UK).
4. Don’t Know
This one is for those who love a straight-up acid house groove that’s loaded with percussion and a haunting voice loop. Steve Burton did the voice. He’s also done another single with me called “Tribalman”, which was great for me, so hopefully, house music lovers and tech house DJs will support this one. It’s a hypnotic drive for the clubs and your lockdown living room party.
5. When the music comes around
This song has been with me for a while. I did the music inspired by Pete Heller “Big Love” and then took the vocals to another level. There is a hint of country music on the vocals but not everybody will notice it. I remember showing this song to Roger Sanchez and he liked it but suggested to use another singer. Then I sent it to A-Trak and he also liked it. I never usually send my tunes to other producers, but I was a little hesitant about this one. It needed a little something so I added some extra drum loops and once it has been properly mixed and mastered, I was happy with it.
Another track that I produced thinking of the big rooms and also inspired by music from the early 2000s. I took a slap bass sound and played two keys and looped it. After adding the drums, I was hypnotized and then added an acid synth sound with some filtering of the frequencies. It’s made for clubs and festivals with a long piano breakdown and some uplifting vocals.
7. All I Wanted
Many people don’t know but I love melancholy electronic music and listen to a lot of trance. This is my best attempt to bridge the gap between house music and trance chords. I needed an extra piano and guitar melody to make the chords brighter, so after adding all this and the vocal I was really into it. The vocals have a dark but uplifting vibe to them, I think!
8. That’s Grooving
This tune is for the deep tech house fans. Tommy Capretto laid down the drums and arrangement and I added the bassline. OSB added the lyrics and vocals. We all need to groove whilst we’re at home or *hopefully soon* back in a club and this track does this. I produce all my music with Logic Pro and their synth module Alchemy has amazing bass sounds that you can manipulate very easily. Producers out there you should check it out.
I was in the studio and had a kick, clap and snare arrangement looping at 124 BPM. I started playing the piano and this Latin riff came to me that made me dance. I am not a good dancer! l I decided to add tons of percussion loops together so it would sound overproduced. This is how I got the dirty feel of the drums. I needed a vocal, so I searched online for free vocals and I found one that worked perfectly. I did recognize the vocal hook from another track from other artists, but it is free for anybody to use! This is a Latin house banger period.
10. The Slammer
I believe in taking risks when creating music. I like to sound like nobody else and stand out. This could be bad or good, but it has worked for me and I have the big tunes that show this. This track is me using sounds and techniques to create a sonic groove that you cannot tell what genre it falls under. Some people think this is house, others think electro house, tech house or its bass house! Well, l it’s just a killer crowd-pleaser that I created for fun and a DJ weapon. You do need a packed house to play this in order to get the best reaction because it can get loud and might drive you wild!
Grab your copy of Robbie Rivera's Changes here.