10 Questions with ... Throttle
July 5, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) Did you come up with the name Throttle yourself or did someone give you that name?
I came up with it myself. I was name hunting for a month or two, and I was on a holiday with my family in Italy, and I saw it written somewhere and thought that is awesome! And then, two years later I was like f*%k, that name sucks, but now it's grown on me. I see the name now as less of me, and more as a brand and a business in the image that I have been able to create. Which is nice that I'm not too attached to being Throttle. It's nice that I can be Robbie and then when I need to be, be Throttle. I can step into those boots, but I'm not too caught up in the name now. It's more of a brand.
2) You mentioned that in school, your teachers called you Throttle, so you must've had the Throttle nickname for a long time, when your friends see you, do they call you Throttle?
LOL No! Always Robbie to them. There have been some other nicknames for me, but it's pretty much Robbie for everyone. There were some kids at school that thought Throttle was pretty funny ... Full Throttle ... but, I'm just Robbie to everyone. I started the Throttle brand when I was 14. That was to just put stuff out; mash-ups, edits and some bootlegs that I was doing, I would put them online and not have my own name on it. Just so there was no great judgment from anyone around me. I could start from scratch and create a brand in the exact way that I wanted to. But naturally everyone found out in a couple of days that it was me doing it, so everyone knew at school but it was cool, it wasn't like a big deal. It was just, that's Robbie doing his thing.
3) You have a sound that's known as Dirty Disco, but you are only 19 years old, so Disco was popular way before you were born.
Yeah, yeah, yeah! There was a girl I liked when I was maybe 14, who was a massive Michael Jackson fan, so naturally I had never heard of him, I wasn't a big MJ fan, so I went and checked out his stuff and fell in love with his Disco sound. And then of course, when I discovered Dance music, I discovered Daft Punk and looked back at all their influences, which was Disco, as well as George Duke and started listening to some of the smaller Disco guys who actually shaped some of the sounds that we associate with Disco today and Funk. And then I got into Earth, Wind & Fire. I was in love with Disco from the ages 14-15, and then tried to work out as many ways as I could to incorporate Disco with the Electro music I was making at the time. From then, Dirty Disco sort of emerged from a Disco Electro to Electro Progressive House to just Disco House, at the moment.
4) One of the first things I heard from you was a remix you did of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September." How did that come about?
I literally started that for fun during my high school exams. It was basically one-hour study, one hour of remixing, so it was fun and it took me a couple of months. Around Christmas time I finished it. All the family naturally loved it, and all the oldies loved it. My manager loved it and he just finished working at Sony, so he took it to Sony, Columbia, and the band. It was approved to be released on Ultra a month or so later. Which is not something I can really comprehend, yet. I go on Spotify and I see Throttle x Earth Wind & Fire, which is just ... for an Earth Wind & Fire fan or any Disco fan, that's a dream come true.
5) The first single you had, about a year ago was a song called "Together" on PRMD, it did pretty well for you.
It did okay. At the time, it was not the right single for me, perhaps. It was a little more on the Progressive EDM side of things when most of the music I was making was House. But then, six months later, [first female U.S. Presidential Candidate] Hillary Clinton decided, and her team decided, to use it when she was walking out at her rallies which became the biggest game changer for me, ever. Despite all the hype you get naturally, anything political-related generates interest. A lot of the Australian media actually wanted to claim me as the Australian kid who's being used as Hillary's boy or whatever! Anyway, that was about the time that "September" came out. Every chance I got I would just plug "September" instead of "Together" my single. So they would ask, what's next for you? And I would find a way to slide in "September" because of that. It hit Top 50 on iTunes in Australia, and everyone was playing it in Australia. That was a massive boost for me. It was an unexpected boost for me.
6) Was it surreal when you got the call from Hillary's campaign people, and how much thought did you have to give to it?
It was surreal. Well, my manager said, I think at the time I was out with friends and got this e-mail from my manager saying we made it with a screenshot of this e-mail saying, "Hello we'd like to use Throttle's song 'Together'" and neither of us really believed it. And then, we posted the shot of the e-mail on Facebook and it went nuts from there. We confirmed it was true in the next couple of days. It's not something that you can really process, the potential next [historic] President of the United States is using your song!
7) So that became either the game changer or shall we say, the money maker! Is that a good segue to your current single now on Spinnin' Records called "Money Maker." What can you tell us about the song?
It is definitely the funkiest thing I've done to date. It's a real Disco House song. It started out as a two-bar piano with a head going on and at the time I was listening to tons of James Brown, and found the "Shake Your Money Maker" sample from "Sex Machine" as I'm sure you know. Once I had this vocal and the piano going on it just flowed really quickly. It flowed in a couple of days. I showed Spinnin', who at time I wasn't working with, but they picked it out of like a 20-demo playlist. They said, "We love this and we really want to work with you." It seems to be the one that's going to change every thing for me which is cool.
8) You also did a remix for Aluna George, "I'm In Control."
That was actually a super-last-minute thing. I was talking to my manager and we said, "'Money Maker' is not quite ready yet. It's been a couple of months since the last track, so let's try to do a remix." We went on a hunt, and found the Aluna vocal, which I was absolutely in love with. He hooked it up and we were like, yup, but, you've only got a week to do it. At the time, I was on a bus touring with Oliver Heldens. So I would literally, after my show, after my set, I would work on it for half-hour, go up on stage, come back and work on it for another hour and just try to work on it as much as I could. In the space of a week, every one was hating me because all throughout the bus, I was working on my Aluna remix non-stop. That's been insane and I'm a huge Aluna George fan as is everyone, at the moment.
9) How did you first meet Oliver Heldens? I've read that sometimes he considers you like his protégé?
The media loves to say that. LOL We met online about three years ago. When he released "Gecko" and I released Avicii's "You Make Me." We are fans of each other's work. We've been in contact ever since. But never had an idea that really worked for us. Then, I got this idea that was pretty much the piano chords, but more in the style of how "Money Maker" is now, and he was like, "I love this but maybe you could change this." In a couple of days we had a really good scratch of what was waiting. I've more considered him like a brother. We bounce back all the time our ideas. They like to say I'm more of his protégé. I've watched him grow and we're sort of the same size as an artist. We're still really close today. He's someone I look up to a lot, but also I can treat him like a brother, as a friend that I can just go back and forth with everything with him. We recently started a Disco Techno idea in his hotel room. So yea, he's a lot of fun, and I've learned tons from him!
10) Did you have any inspirations growing up?
Justin Timberlake ... he was the very first person I saw live. First singer I fell in love with. He was the reason that I got into DJ-ing, he was the reason I got into music and thought this is what I want to do when I grow up. He's the reason that I pretty much play live guitar and incorporate as much live stuff as I can into my performance and can be as engaging as possible. If you've never seen him, he's one of the most engaging performers you'll ever want to see.
You have come an incredibly long way in a relatively short period of time. If you had to give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming producer, DJ/artist, what would it be?
Learn an instrument. I feel like when I was first making music, I started out pretty much like all these young kids start ... I was sitting at my laptop pressing buttons trying to make music come out, and then a couple of years later, I dropped the guitar when I started making music, then I got back into the guitar, and since then, I feel that I've been able to make my music so much more unique. It's a hard thing to explain, when you can sit down and have a jam on an instrument, and find the little ways to make the song unique, once you have that making music is so much more unique. Once you have that edge to your music, it's good enough that no one can say no. You can send it around to every one. You just need to get it to a point where the blogs, the promoters and the labels can't turn it down.
What do you do when you have some down time? Do you play video games? What do you do in your spare time?
I don't. I'm probably the only producer in the whole world that doesn't play video games. I like watching movies. My favorite current movie is Deadpool! Favorite movie ever is Ace Ventura. Right now, there's not much down time. Whenever I can, I'm making as much music as possible.
If we were back home in Melbourne, and we were driving in a car, what would your fans be surprised to hear you listening to in your car?
Every thing I listen to they'd probably be surprised! I don't listen to much Dance music at all. I listen to a lot of Disco. Most of the stuff I listen to is really chill out, or Taylor Swift sort of music. Most people will be surprised to find out that I'm a massive Pop fan. But if you listen to my music you can kind of get that there's a massive Pop influence. But yeah, Taylor Swift, "Bad Blood" is probably what you'd be most surprised to hear I'm listening to.
Favorite Disco song?
"September" is my favorite Disco song, one that not many people know, would be George Duke "Reach Out" That's amazing.
But my favorite song of all time is "September"
Where would we get something good to eat back in Melbourne, where are we going?
Anywhere! Melbourne has the best food ever!
What are they known for?
Breakfast is probably the best. The breakfast in Melbourne is my favorite. There's this place called Pillar of Salt that does poached eggs, bit of bacon, bit of smoked salmon, and then peas and Hollandaise sauce, that kind of describes it.
When you're going from New York to Australia, a 20-something hour plane ride, what are you doing on the plane ... you creating music? You watching movies?
Yeah, making music, watching movies, coming up with crazy ideas that I can send to my management when I land, stress him out. LOL Yea that's about it.
Still working on the Dirty Disco podcast?
No, but that's something I plan to bring back. I just want to get my music to a stage where I'm in a really strong position and things are really hard to manage, but I will bring that back for sure.