By Cédric Finkbeiner
The pillar of minimal techno has a colorful message to deliver, firstly enriched by his gargantuan experience behind the decks and secondly by the notorious spirituality which animates his Gospel soul. Robert Hood has much more to offer than his technique : his message is deep and caring, and as if it wasn't enough, it can potentially inspire many of us, especially in our relationship with fear and stress.
Could the link you make between religion and music, and the way you transform the energy of music into love be your solution against the negative thoughts, such as the fright?
Yes, absolutely. You know, there is a passage in the Bible that says : « God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind ». When you say "power", it's under the noble meaning: it means to be blessed and to be empowered. When you know God : God is love and everything about God is the spirit of love. There is also "the power of the sound mind", representing the self control to be anchored and grounded into the world of God. The more you practice, the most efficient is the self control. Having a "sound mind" is nothing greater than having a spirit of peace, peace of my life, peace of my family, and then peace of my community and peace of the world. That's so needed.
It's not always easy to apply wise spiritual thoughts: do you always mix in peace thanks to the power of love or do you still experience the fright sometimes, before a gig for instance?
Well you know what, fear and doubt, they will always try to make their way to our minds and to our hearts. But all these negative emotions are like "birds" which fly around your head and try to build a nest into your mind. The thing is: it's up to us, not to allow those "birds" - those negative emotions - to come in. The way we push them away is with the words of God: we have to pray and meditate when the fear tries to come in. Knowing what the words of God say is critical to combat any negative emotion. We all have them; fear, anger, spiritual anxieties but we also have the power to fight against them.
Modeselektor, mentioned that you are one of the rare icons of those years who never stopped renewing themselves. Do you think we need to live with our time and evolve in order to be at ease as time goes by?
It's very intentional in my approach to be a new creature every day. Again, to quote another passage from the Bible: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"… That's what I pray and meditate every day. It's important to me to also evolve and change, but not to change broadly, not to change suddenly, not to change for example my Hip-Hop with the new artists and DJs that are coming up. I'm constantly examining and comparing the music to make sure that the new sounds, the new eras are not changing me. You know, the music itself is always very interesting and very inspiring, but I believe that once you've found your sound, it's essential not to be caught up on the latest hype. If I change my foundations, then I won't know who I am. When you don't know who you are musically as an artist, then you also don't know where you are going.
Your wife and daughter follow you in your professional travels. Is your family a part of you confidence?
We love to stick together, you know : a family that prays together stays together and that's why… My daughter, she takes me to another level. She has injected a new energy, a youth into my sound and she makes me better, in the meaning that she causes me to take myself apart. I'm also examining myself in a way that if it doesn't move her, it can't move people her age. It's very important for me to make music that pleases my family : they’re like a litmus test to what I'm doing. They’re my guide, so to speak. And they keep me young…
Your daughter and you mixed for Boiler Room three years ago. Was she nervous? How did you drive her?
Yes, she was very nervous. You know, when we got to the Boiler Room stage, she came into my arms to express her nervousness. I just said to her: "It's okay, you know, it's okay to be nervous, I'm nervous for you, but it's a good nervousness, it's a good energy: people just want to hear the music and you do what you do. Just try to imagine yourself in your own room, that you got some friends over, listening to you, with who you've been hanging out." I also added: "Don't worry so much about being technically correct and just focus on having a good time and just have fun…" And that's the main thing, and that's what I try for myself: it's not always about being so technically correct, just having a good time and enjoying yourself and not get caught by the hype of what people expect from you.
I wanted it to be unique; I didn't want something that's so typical to my normal sets but I wanted to perform it at least in a way that people know how I play. So I wanted the performance to be very much in that vein of how I normally perform, but with a slight different set of sounds and tracks. And so, as I begun to pick up these tracks, I wanted them, not just to represent the current music, but my music from the last - I would say - seven or eight years: it's the period where I had a spiritual transformation, living in Alabama and getting closer to God. My mix sort of reflected that time. Then, the process was in what order should I put these tracks together and what is going to implement the next track, in order to create a build up until a certain climax. So it started with very minimalistic and dark vibes and gradually built up in a way that it symbolized my spiritual transformation.
Yes, I'm looking forward for the whole new year. I'm just being excited about things to come with Floorplan; we've got many new ideas, we are pushing the Gospel further, expanding it on our ministry and spreading God's love. I've also so many musical projects in the pipeline, already finished and waiting to come out. It's almost too crowded with so many new tracks and new sonorities, which I can't wait to release. I wish they could all have come out at the same time, but we have to be strategic in how we execute all these ideas and concepts together, so I'm just looking forward for their release this year.