The Parisian label Robsoul has been releasing seminal house music for the best part of 16 years. We caught up with the man behind the imprint, Phil Weeks, to discuss music, the label, fashion and his plans for the future. Robsoul recently announced a limited edition t-shirt collaboration with Everpress which is available for a short time - here...
It’s all started with my passion I had for House Music. Since 1996 I knew I would do music & only music. I knew I would make it happen...How did you first get into making music and DJing?
It’s all started with my passion I had for House Music. Since 1996 I knew I would do music and only music. I knew I would make it happen. After that it’s all about dedication and talent.
How has Paris influenced you and your music?
I love Paris, it’s my favorite city in the world, though I have a lot of love for other cities. It’s my country and my culture, so of course it’s influenced me at some point. I can’t really define it but its there, mostly about our way of life and the freedom of French people. I would say it’s a very artistic city, with a lot of talent across the arts.
You’re a huge hip-hop head. Who are your all-time greats? And how does hip-hop shape your music production?
I love the Hip Hop from the 90’s. This sound makes me move, gives me goose bumps. J Dilla is number one; I love his understanding of sampling. DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, Wu Tang, Madlib, 9th Wonder. Sometimes listening to all these Hip Hop classics, you can hear some dope ass samples, I feel I can redo in my own way for House Music.
I take influences from everywhere, from anything I see that I like. It’s almost a daily thing. It’s exactly the same with my artistic inspiration...I can adapt all my dancefloor and club experience and turn this sample into perfect House Music. I also listen to a lot of the old original soul, funk, and disco.
Here and there I can find a sample that had been already used in Hip Hop and try to reinterpret it.
Paris is the centre of the fashion world. Have you always had an interest in fashion? What influences your style?
I can’t really say that. When I was younger I didn’t really care but in the last 10 years for sure.I take influences from everywhere, from anything I see that I like. It’s almost a daily thing. It’s exactly the same with my artistic inspiration.
How did the t-shirt collaboration with Everpress come about?
I’ve always been interested in doing T-Shirts. I already made a few nice models with the ‘Robsoul Clothing’ brand but I have way more ideas and never had enough time to make it happen. So when Dan Sparkes contacted me and told me about their concept, I thought it was just perfect. They will handle all the logistic and I will just focus on the brand and the designs. The plan is to make one new model every month which I’m very excited about. We started with a classic Robsoul design and the second model will be in campaign by Friday 18 Nov. It’s a super sick one, the ‘King’ T-shirt, so watch out!
Around 1998, some friends of mine (Highlight Tribes) came back from India & they gave me some stickers from there. The Robsoul logo was born... Tell us about the label design. Why the Hindu God Hanuman?
Yeah, that’s a funny story. Around 1998, some friends of mine (Highlight Tribes) came back from India and they gave me some stickers from there. The Robsoul logo was born.
I just asked my graphic guy to vector it. I was a crazy kid at that time and did things without thinking but now I can see the whole picture.
Your label Robsoul is now 16 years old and has over 150 releases under its belt. Do you have any personal favorites from the back catalogue or that stand out for you?
We have about 300 releases all together, it’s crazy I know but I want to double that at least. As I was saying before, I can see the whole picture now. I’m very proud of that. All this music will stay forever. Robsoul is part of House Music history.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
I have a new album, more a double pack as I like to call it, ’Raw Instrumental 2’, coming out January 27th 2017 (on PW12) featuring 8 dancefloor tracks, simple, effective and still full of soul. With Robsoul, we have at least 2 releases each month. Coming up we have: Sebo K, Chris Carrier, DJ Q, Around7, Minimono, Alci, D’julz, Tommy Vicari Jnr, Chris Stussy & Bas Roos, DJ W!ld and much more.