Q&A - Jerome Robins

We sit down with Jerome Robins for The Comfort Zone’s Q&A.

Oct 13 2020
How were you first inspired to DJ and/or make music?

Living in London, UK throughout the 90's, I was a regular at world famous venues like Ministry Of Sound, Turnmills, The Cross, Cream (Liverpool) and so on. At the time I was a personal trainer having just finished my university degree in kinesiology. I quickly realized it wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to get involved with this industry in some way, shape or form so I started buying vinyl and began playing at small London venues. I came back to Canada in 2000 and co-opened Release Records, one of the top tastemaker record shops on the planet. From there things sorta evolved into touring the world as a DJ and diving into music production.

How did you first get involved with The Comfort Zone?

After returning from living in Vancouver from 2008-2010, I teamed up with long time friend (and former Release Records employee) Deko-ze to form Jungle Funk Recordings. The idea behind us teaming was him helping me re-integrate into the local Toronto scene (as I had departed for a while) while I helped him get his name out on an international scale. Within a year or so, we started holding residencies at loads of clubs within Ontario, one of which was the amazing Morning Mass Comfort Zone Sunday shows which were always slammed.

What's your favourite aspect of The Comfort Zone?

The people without a doubt. They're not there to trainspot, or any other pretentious reason. They're there for the music and to have an amazing night out.

How would you define your sound?

It's always evolving, but my roots are house and progressive house. Nowadays I'd say I'm a cross between house, prog and tech. Somewhere in the middle of the 3 genres.

Which DJs and/or producers have influenced you?

Producers I look up to from a technical (studio ability) point of view include Funkagenda (who has helped me a lot), BT, D. Ramirez, Maceo Plex, Adam K, Harry Romero & Gorgon City.

As for DJ's I admire, I'm gonna stay local: Mark OIiver, Deko-ze and Evil P (RIP). Those are and always will be my top 3.

What's the biggest event you've ever played?

I've played loads of amazing shows and festivals, but the best venues I've played are Centro-Fly (NYC), Vertigo (Costa Rica) and Skizzo (Monterrey).

What's the highlight of your music career to date?

Collaborating with Fatboy Slim and Idris Elba for Sony Music and remixing Chris Brown for Atlantic Records. Other highlights definitely include remixing Danny Tenaglia, Chus & Ceballos as well as a host of other artists I respect in the industry.

What do you think the electronic music scene could do with or without right now to help push it forward?

As I mentioned above, pretension. I've always stated that music snobs bore the living shit out of me. Good music is good music, regardless of genre. If we got rid of the snobs the scene would be a lot healthier, more inclusive, and bigger overall. This kind of small-minded approach hurts everyone.

What's your strangest experience while DJing?

In Reynosa, Mexico (border town with Mission, TX, USA). I played some nightclub (don't remember the name), we all head to an after party at a house somewhere in the city. I'm standing outside speaking with some people, about to play for an hour or so when a huge fist fight breaks out, 1 against 5. Next thing I know, the 1 guy who got beat up, gets in his car and runs over 2 of the 5 guys that gave him an ass whooping. All the guys left standing pull out hand guns and start firing at the car as it drives off (I believe they missed with every shot). This is all within 5-10 feet of me. They pick up their run over friends from the ground, guns in hand, jump in their own car and drive off to essentially chase him down, find him and kill him (this was according to the promoters who brought me to Mexico). Needless to say, I wanted the hell out of there and demanded they get me back to the hotel ASAP despite them pleading for me to stay, DJ and party with them. Thanks but i'll pass. I'd rather not get shot.

Which tracks never leave your record box?

Frankie Knuckles - Your Love
Trancesetters - Roaches (Peace Division Remix)
Rachael Starr - Till There Was You (Jerome Robins Groove Edit)
Mark Knight - Your Love
iIO - Rapture (John Creamer & Stephane K Remix)
Paranoid Jack - Slavedriver

What's next for you in the near future?

Loads of new production bits and collaborations. I'll also be launching my own sample pack artist series with Abletunes and Loopmasters. In addition, i'll be teaching Ableton workshops in the near future. Watch this space.

What are your hidden talents that most people don't know about?

I used to play professional basketball while living in England before my university years. Unfortunately, I tore my ACL within 2 years of playing and that was that...but I'll still bust your ass with ease.

What will you do after answering these questions?

Finish up a new remix for DJ Dan and watch 90 Day Fiance with my girlfriend.

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