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Rodriguez Jr.: “My music becomes a vibration that people can appropriate for creating their own stories”

Some follow trends, others set them. Award-winning music producer & live performer Rodriguez Jr., also known as Olivier Mateu, has spent 25 years in the industry. His vast experience in all genres of electronic music makes him the visionary of melodic house and techno that he is today.

Photo Credit: Rodriguez Jr. – Official

 Over the years he has gradually honed his style into the dynamic, colorful sound of beauty that can now be regularly found on Mobilee, Anjunadeep, Systematic, and Armada, and has been demanded for remixes of Stephan Bodzin, Booka Shade, Eli & Fur, Röyksopp, NTO, Timo Maas and more.

EG caught up with Rodriguez Jr. to learn more about the drop of his new ‘Feathers & Bones’ album, his move to Miami, future endeavors, and more.

EG: Hi Olivier! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. It’s been almost two years since we last caught up. How have you been? Where are you based right now?

Rodriguez Jr.: Hello! Always a pleasure talking with you guys. Many things happened since we last caught up a couple of years ago. I have been mostly busy working on my new album from my new home base, Miami, and touring between Europe, South, and North America. It’s been quite a ride.

EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your new studio album ‘Feathers & Bones’? What has the initial reception been like? How was the crowd responded to these?

Rodriguez Jr.: Thanks! Feedback has been great so far. I must confess I had lost a little bit of self-confidence after a break of two years without releasing any original material. It takes time and effort to get used to a new environment, a new recording studio. So, I am relieved to receive early positive feedback.

EG: So, what’s ‘Feathers & Bones’ about? What’s the inspiration here? What can your fans expect to find on this album?

Rodriguez Jr.: ‘Feathers & Bones’ is about freedom. The “feathers” represents the dreamy aspect of my music, while “bones” represents its structure, foundation, and solidity. For more than 25 years now my music oscillates between these poles, and it is such an important statement in my career that I decided to create my own label with the same name.

EG: How has your sound and process evolved since the release of ‘Blisss’?

Rodriguez Jr.: The process is still the same. I start jamming and experimenting looking for melodies, chords, and cool textures and I eventually build things up adding layers with synths and effects until the ensemble is stable enough. I envision my music in terms of architecture, colors, and shapes. I’ve developed my own vocabulary in the studio over the years. So, the only difference since the release of ‘Blisss’ is my environment: every day I go by the ocean to listen to my demos and mixes. It’s a kind of meditation and it gives me a lot of energy and fresh inspiration. This album is infused with Florida Sun.

“The “feathers” represents the dreamy aspect of my music, while “bones” represents its structure, foundation, and solidity”

EG: This new record also features collaborations with Liset, Stereo MCs, and Giorgia Angiuli as well. How did these come to be? What was the recording process for these like?

Rodriguez Jr.: I’ve been working with Liset for so many years that we don’t even have to talk anymore. The creative process is incredibly smooth. In this album, we just went with the flow and spontaneously wrote ‘Amplify’ and ‘Visions’, two tracks about the almost transcendental intensity of love. Giorgia Angiuli and I started working on ‘Tuning The Moon’ during the COVID years sending files back and forth. We have many similar influences and the same kind of experimental approach in the studio. I really enjoyed processing all the sounds she produced with a variety of toys and gadgets.

For ‘Turn The Light On’, I was initially working on a beat on my old MPC (a sampler I used a lot back in the days) and floppy drives I found in my basement with sounds I sampled in the mid-90s. I thought it would be such a perfect match to get Stereo MCs, my teenage years’ heroes, on board. Legends.

EG: Last time we spoke, your son Kilian had just been born. How has fatherhood impacted your life as an artist?

Rodriguez Jr.: It’s an everlasting wave of love. Welcoming a newborn and raising a child comes with many life-changing challenges, but it also forces you to become a better person, to be better organized, and focused, and also to open your heart. It’s inspiring and healing.

My life had already been impacted 16 years ago when my daughter Lila (you might remember the track I released in 2007 named after her name) had been born, and it’s such a blessing being able to experience this moment of bliss again.

EG: How do you keep entertained when not in the studio? Have you checked out any good movies, series, books, or albums you’d recommend?

Rodriguez Jr.: I mostly spend my free time with family exploring Florida and the rest of the US. We’re big fans of road trips. They’re an infinite source of inspiration. So, we just drive around without anything prepared, stop in creepy motels, meet weird people, and make memories, all together.

For the rest, I try to keep away from TV screens. My eyes are already well damaged by the intense studio time spent in front of computers and displays. I prefer books: many old classics, but also Patrick Modiano who is a huge source of inspiration, Houellebecq, and synthesizer manuals until I know them inside out.

EG: Can you share something about yourself with us that only a few people know about?

Rodriguez Jr.: I cook awesome shrimp flambé with pastis. French touch.

“You never know how a certain audience will react to a new track in different environments. So there’s quite a lot of fresh adrenalin involved. And then my music is not mine anymore”

EG: We gotta try those then! What’s next for Rodriguez Jr.? What particular milestones are you looking forwards to this 2023? Where can your fans catch you next?

Rodriguez Jr.: The next chapter is about touring and performing this new material in clubs and festivals all around the world. That’s an exciting moment. You never know how a certain audience will react to a new track in different environments. So there’s quite a lot of fresh adrenalin involved. And then my music is not mine anymore. It becomes a vibration that people can appropriate for creating their own stories and memories. Here is the magic.

Lots of cool shows ahead including Cityfox in Brooklyn, The Soundgarden and Shen Presents in Ibiza, Fusion Festival in Germany … I highly encourage people to check my website or Bandcamp for updates.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Olivier! We wish you all the best for the future.

Rodriguez Jr.: Thanks for the great talk guys!

Rodriguez Jr.’s ‘Feathers & Bones’ LP is out via his own Feathers & Bones imprint.  Purchase your copy here.

Follow Rodriguez Jr.: Spotify | Instagram | Bandcamp | Website

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