JM#188 – Robomatic

As Kraftwerk put it; “we are the robots” and none represent those words more accurately than DJ, producer, club promoter, Robomatic. Converging on that lineage of Karftwerk, Drexciya and Warp, today, Robomatic pulses with the rhythms of computer music and talks in the bleep-bloob-blobs of incandescent synthesiser tones.

And if there has ever been a byword for all things Electro in Oslo, Elektro Romantikk would be it. Robin Crafoord, aka the Robin of Truls and Robin, aka Ksmisk, aka Robomatic has been a vital proponent of the Electro genre in Oslo and Norway for as long as he’s been involved in Electronic music on the scene. As Robomatic he’s been blowing the clarion call for the genre, in its various stages and through various guises, from Drexciya to Electroclash.

Whether playing live or DJing, Robomatic has been steadfast in his approach with his Elektro Romantikk nights showcasing the genre with almost dogmatic approach. Who won’t hear anything like 4/4 creep in during one of his sets at Elektro Romantikk and from the sci-fi connotations to the it’s Detroit origins, Robomatic has been a dedicated statesman for the Electro genre as an artist, DJ and facilitator.

His Elektro Ramntikk nights have been an uncompromising platform for new and existing artists and DJs like Digitizer. It was in fact Robomatic that brought Digitizer to the sauna last month for the Jaeger mix, and while he claims that Digitizer “saved” the session, you’d be hard-pressed finding a better selection of music representing the past, present and future of this futuristic music. Strap your shiny metallic ass into your seat as Robomatic takes you through the sounds of a Japanese sci-fi dystopia.

*The Jaeger Mix returns this Wednesday.

Hey Robin. I think we should start with Elektro Romantikk. Can you tell the people how it started and what the concept is all about? 

Elektro Romantik started when I got back from Barcelona about 10 years ago but we also did electro partys before I moved to Barcelona called Månefisken Electro. I always wanted to make events with only Elektro and it was no-one, other than us doing it in Oslo (Sannergata sound system and Asterio) Ot’s also been difficult to mix electro with different genres of music people would suddenly stop dancing if the 4/4 kick would stop. This is not the case anymore, the rave kids love it and so do I.

So now days, Elektro Romantik mixes up acid, Breakbeat electro and all the styles that lean to the darker and dirtier corners.

What is it about Electro that appeals to you, personally?

It makes me feel like I’m a robot living in side a Japanese sci fi movie . I think it has more attitude and personality then most techno in general. But I love faceless techno aswell.

What was your introduction to the genre, and what were the tracks and/or artists that were central to the genre’s sound according to you? 

Direct beat / Aux 88 I bought the first releases on that label and it was life changing. for me it was pure love and I still have crush. From there I discovered juan atkins. Jedi knights Andrea Parker kraftwerk and to many to mention. Also that a few friends from Gothenburg found the same love for the snare made the electro fantasy even stronger. 

So Luke Eargoggle and artists on stilleben records Are always an inspiration. 

 What were you trying to encapsulate in terms of Electro for this mix? Nothing though trough.  but listening back to it. I think I tried to mix up as many styles of Elektro as possible in two hours so there you go. :) even got some direct beat in the end. 

I hear a lot of different eras and different takes on the Electro genre throughout this mix. What do you believe is central to all the tracks, the red thread that ties Electro as a genre together?

The snare the robotic vibe and the dirt.

It’s timeless music, and much of what we listen to today, sounds like a direct descendent of the music that first broke through in the late eighties with people like Egyptian lover and Mantronix. Why has it stood the test of time, and why has it remained largely unchanged?

We all share the same urge for the robotic future ever since Kraftwerk started experimenting with there synthetic sounds creating the future soundtrack of our lives. We want to stay in that time capsule for all eternity. 

What were some of the highlights for you in this Jaeger mix? 

Digitizer, my mix was a bit wack so he saved it.  

You were instrumental in getting Digitizer to the Jaeger mix too. What is it about the artist and his music that sets him apart?

Him and his brother have always supported Elektro romantik and månefisken elektro from day one, always showing up, always happy to hear, proper electro, and now he’s releasing great music on international labels and that makes me very happy . every time he plays live he delivers 100% pure Elektro. 

While it seems there are a lot of people doing Electro in Oslo, it still seems like we’re missing a proper scene for the genre. Why do you think that is?

Oslo is to small it’s like that for drum&bass , dub techno and so on. but now and then the circle loops and then we can ride the wave for a moment.

I feel the last couple of years people are more responsive to Elektro than they’ve been before which is super cool. 

Do you see a time when Electro will be at the forefront of club music again?

No. But maybe Electroclash.

I hold out hope each year that this will be Electro’s year. Who are some of the newer artists, here and abroad who we should watch out for  and who might help that happen in 2023?

From Oslo Sagittarii acid, Digitizer, Kim Durbeck, and probably other producers I haven’t met but would love to know, all electro artist should come together,

 I’m not good with names, but I feel like there’s a lot of interesting Elektro coming out of the UK there’s client 3 that I really like and DeFekt. Plant 43 , Morphology, great new Swedish electro from Funx  obergman, and so many more. 

I hope I’ll finish an EP or more with Robomatic. 

Look out for Elektro Romantik events and join the group on fb to keep up to date on what’s going on here in Oslo .