DMCWORLD checks in with the burgeoning L.A based DJ, producer and musician as he drops two stunning new tracks. Rob elicits his own intoxicating strain of deep house by incorporating indie-electronic and pop influences alongside his own vocals and instruments. Time to dive in…
Hey Rob, welcome to DMC World Mag! Thanks for chatting with us today. For those of our readers who don’t yet know you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes! So, my artist name is Rob Tirea, not too far off my actual name which is Robert Tirea. Since nobody else had the name I figured that I’d stick to it rather than coming up with some alias. I was born in Huntington Beach, California, which is where I grew up. Both of my parents are Romanian, born in Bucharest, so I feel like my house music love came from their experience with it. It seemed for a while that it was bigger in Europe than America even though it initially started here, but that’s how I got into it, they were definitely an influence. I’ve been making music for quite a few years now. I started playing around with production in 2014 but didn’t actually release anything until 2018. For the last year or two it’s been pretty serious and I’ve been lucky enough to receive good acclaim and attention from DJs and other professionals in the industry.
At what age did you first get into music and how did you make the transition to producing your own tracks?
I got a drum set in 5th grade and just annoyed the shit out of everyone in my neighbourhood for a couple of years, which I guess was my first jump into music. My brother always had a really cool and eclectic taste in music so introduced me to a lot of alternative rock bands that I still hold dear to my heart today, like the Editors, Interpol, Depeche mode. He really heavily influenced me with them and also introduced me to a band called The Faint. At the time, in the early 2000s, the type of wild synth work they were doing with some indie rock feel was something I’d never heard before and I’m really shocked they’re not bigger than they are. I transitioned to producing my tracks at around the age of 18/19. I was playing guitar and wanted to turn those guitar riffs and melodies in my head into an actual song so it seemed like FL studio was the obvious choice to make that a reality. So I dove into it, sucked for a very long time and then things started to come together and I started to refine my sound and still am to this day.
Your recent release ‘The Storm Front and The Sea’ was inspired by a particular concept – tell us about that?
It’s inspired by the idea of contrast and how darkness can coexist with light and how beauty can be surrounded by darkness and a lot of ugliness. I was driving down Pacific Highway and I could see the grey dark clouds right next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean which just seemed totally illuminated in contrast and I thought it was so interesting how the ugliness of the weather made the ocean look that much more beautiful and how they could exist in the same picture. I wanted to write a song about that because it reminded me of the current times we’re living in with the pandemic. Although a lot of bad things have happened I do feel that amazing art and creativity will come out of this tumultuous time.
This is the first single you’ve release with you own vocals, why did you decide to do this now? Have you always enjoyed singing?
I’ve used to be a great shower performer, as most of us probably are haha. I’ve always wanted to sing and wanted to get into it more, because although a lot of people are doing it more now in electronic music, there’s not too many house DJs that also sing on their own tracks, apart from the likes of Disclosure and Rüfüs Du Sol. I love the idea of being able to have sort of a hybrid mix of performances where you can do more of a live show at festivals, in theatres etc whilst still doing a classic DJ set in places like Ibiza – I wanted to know that I had the capability and freedom of doing both. I always wanted to sing, I grew up on alt rock music so the live performance aspect always intrigued me and I wanted to do that. Also, with house music getting quite saturated at the moment, I figured I could build a sonic identity with my voice so that people can recognise my productions. I’m trying to figure out a way to distinguish myself and singing for me was the first step to doing that.
The L.A music scene is a competitive one, do you think living there has been beneficial for your career and what is it about the local culture that inspires your music?
It’s definitely a competitive one and quite cut-throat, as the music industry is in general, but I’d say L.A. is particularly ruthless. There’s a lot of talent and being in Hollywood, one of the entertainment capitals of the world, it’s even more cut-throat but I think it’s been beneficial as I’ve been able to get in the studio with lots of talented people. There’s so much access to vocalists, recording studios, seminars to learn about the industry. So many artists, management, generally lots of people who can help to guide you, so in that respect I think it’s been beneficial. It’s funny though, that the most important things that have happened to me in my career have always come to me via email or DM, I guess it’s the time we live in, whereas in the past it was probably more face-to-face interactions that preceded. The local culture definitely inspires you because there’s so much talent in L.A. and so many amazing musicians but I think you still need to find your own lane, listen to yourself and make music that’s relevant to you and not just play into a fad or trend.
You’ve just released another new single, ‘Hypnotize’. What inspired you to make the track and how the was the production process?
‘Hypnotize’ was sort of the beginning of my road to clarity, which is when I started becoming more aware of who I wanted to be. Both my parents immigrated from Romania and they obviously sought for me to have a better life, so of course they pushed for me to have a more traditional career, for example a doctor or a lawyer. It came from good intentions as they just wanted to for me to be safe and financially comfortable in life but I always aspired to do something a little bit different, more adventurous. That’s kind of what inspired ‘Hypnotize’, because I grew up with a lot of friends who went into the corporate world and I’ve also worked in the corporate world myself; it’s this whole idea of being hypnotized – you have to follow this traditional plan of going to college, getting a good job, getting married, buying a house and having children etc so I think the hypnosis part of it comes from trying to break that mould and find my own lane, even if it was going to be a lot slower and more painful, it’s having the gratification of succeeding in something that’s a passion, that’s why the song is very hazy and slow and kind of moody, because it’s me finally coming out of the fog and getting this clarity.
Do you have any other future release plans?
Yes actually I’m planning to put out another single next month and then I’m planning my debut EP release for mid-summer. I don’t 100% know yet whether it’ll come off like this as some of the stuff is tentative and you never know what obstacles you might hit but that’s the goal.
How have you been spending your time during lockdown?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio. As a music producer, I feel I’ve been in quarantine my whole life (or at least the entire time I’ve been producing music). If you can’t learn to enjoy being by yourself then you’re probably not going to like being a producer. I like reading as well, I’m currently reading a really good book about Jeff Buckley, the singer, and it’s written from the perspective of his manager. I’m finding it so fascinating, but also tragic. It’s interesting to see how the music industry was back in the 90s, without any kind of online presence, and interesting how everything was strictly from a live basis.
What are your main goals for the rest of the year?
I want to put out music that I really like and the EP I think is some of the best work I’ve done. I’d like to get on a touring schedule and hopefully be with a booking agent, and just keep on growing and growing. I would love to get on a support slot or some type of tour by 2021 – that’s my tentative goal. But we’ll see how it goes – time will tell.
Any final words for our readers?
Just stay safe! It’s a pretty crazy time so hopefully everyone is staying mentally sane and spending time with loved ones and hopefully this is a learning lesson that we shouldn’t take things for granted going forward and to really enjoy the personal relationships with our friends and family. I hope we can come back soon to live music and really enjoying that. I think live music is one of the best things in the world and it would be a shame to delay it any further than it needs to be. And with that said, it’s been great chatting – talk soon!