Sober Rob has been on the move recently, gaining attention from bigger and better names with every release. His newest effort, a debut EP titled Enlighten, is no different, made available yesterday via DJ Craze’s Slow Roast Records. Combining numerous influences and production techniques, Sober Rob has shown us that, even in the saturated underground-bass scene, it’s still possible to impart your own personal style into fresh and unique tracks. From the dirty trap vibes of “EMP” to the softer melodies of “Blue,” Sober Rob shows how contrasting sounds can still work together to form a cohesive EP.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sober Rob about Enlighten, and he was able to share some pretty awesome details about the EP. Touching on his move to LA, the creative process behind Enlighten, and a few surprises, Sober Rob really gives us the full story behind his EP and his mentality as a producer.
Check out the interview below and stream the rest of the EP at the bottom of the page!
You recently moved to LA from Boston, how has the West Coast been treating you? The number of like-minded rising artists in the area has to be inspiring to say the least.
It’s definitely inspiring to see so many people on the same page; coming from music school in Boston it’s a big change from the structured “this is what you should do” to the more open minded LA vibes. I’ve always felt a bit out of place because I just have different goals then most people around me, but in LA everyone is out of place so it makes it more comfortable haha. Most people in Boston have trouble believing in a vision enough to put in the work and execute it, so it’s nice to be around people who are also dreaming big and doing what they love.
Can you describe the production process? I’m sure it’s not easy finalizing and releasing an EP, were there any hiccups that delayed its release?
This was the first project I had ever done that wasn’t just a single, so it was overwhelming at first but I knew I wanted to do something more meaningful then a single. Craze hit me up on soundcloud in March to work with Slow Roast on a release, and he asked if I had an EP ready or wanted to do a single. For some reason I told him I had an EP ready, but needed to adjust some things, but in reality I had nothing started haha. I knew I wanted to do an EP and then this opportunity came about, so it was perfect. I worked harder than ever the next month or two (like staying up for two days straight a few times a week type of work) and slowly compiled a lot of W.I.P. stuff I had been making and throwing together playlists to see how it would all fit; re adjusting the order countless times and swapping out tracks etc. In mid-May I settled on a tracklist, but I still continued adjusting all of the songs until I was content with them individually, and then on a bigger project scale making them all flow and make sense as a whole.
Was it hard to curate a cohesive sound on the EP? There are a few styles contained within the track-list, but the entire EP as a whole seems to flow together very nicely.
It actually came together really naturally, I think due to the way I produce. I like to get a picture of a place in my head and build a song around whatever vibe that setting would create, and since I have fairly unconventional production/ composition techniques, my sound is always clear in each track without having to really think about how I’ll incorporate it; I think whatever sound “sober rob” is, is literally just what happens when I use a DAW, I couldn’t really explain how to do it, and for this project I just used that on a bigger scale, and extended an overall feeling throughout 6 songs instead of one. All of those songs were started within the same 2-week span besides Coil with lux, and finished over the next month and a half among other projects I’m working on, and I was trying to create a certain “aesthetic” with the EP. I never consider tempo or style when I start a track, I usually just feel it out and do what I think is right. I’ve been influenced by all types of electronic music for the past 6 years, gone through many phases, from the beginnings of dubstep to all these new experimental beats on Soundcloud and I think I’m finally capable of expressing my version of all this.
What does Enlighten mean to you? Is there any story behind the title?
After the entire EP had some structure I came up with the name Enlighten, because it really encompassed everything I wanted to get across with my first release. I want to teach people about music and all the possibilities with the technology we have today; for example a lot of my buddies from home are into more mainstream edm, they love Marshmello of course and all that. I’m not into it but I understand it and appreciate it. With this EP I wanted to give my version of electronic music, which is always evolving. I think over time people will get a better sense for good production/ composition and true innovation. Everything is so saturated now, and I just do my own thing without trying to copy anyone because if you sound like someone else you won’t last, in my opinion. Enlighten means “to give someone greater knowledge and understanding about a situation” or “to give spiritual knowledge or insight”. I think this EP is something new, but not unrecognizable. I have a certain way of composing and arranging that will always stick with me throughout my productions, and years of viola will always be at the core of my musical knowledge. That combined with listening to electronic music evolve over the last 6 years is the basis of my sound.
Do you have a favorite track from the EP? Why?
I couldn’t pick a favorite, I think they all serve different purposes and cater to different feelings. I have a different favorite depending what time of day it is haha.
Where do you see the scene in 5 years? Where do you see Sober Rob in 5 years?
That’s a tough one. I have no idea where the scene will be but I plan on touring with a live show on big scale by that time. Multiple instruments involved, and as the producer I’d almost be conducting some kind of electronic orchestra of random midi instruments and real instrumentalists; and I’d be playing viola and whatever else plus “DJing” or controlling Ableton or whatever future program well have in 5 years haha. I’m sure that vision will change as tech progresses, but one step at a time for now. Once I’ve made a name for myself I plan on taking a break from shows to learn as much as I can instrumentally and theory / production wise + make an album or bigger project.
Any future collabs/tracks you can leak details on? Any tracks that didn’t make it to the EP that will still be released?
I’m working on stuff with my homie Rage Logic, more with manitee as well. Holly and I also got something cookin’ and many more, some that I don’t wanna talk about quite yet, soon though. After the EP releases I’m gonna continue the flow of regular releases for the next 6 months or so, then we have some special plans that are top secret as of now haha.