The Caribbean coast of Mexico have hosted their fair share of influential electronic events over the past decade and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The pristine coastline and abundance of tourist-focused hospitality out weight the rougher edges of local heat. Local DJs often fly under the radar while hosting the biggest names in the game. Robbie Akbal has been dishing house to the Rivera Maya scene for over two decades and he’s just getting started.
As a rising star in the global underground market, Robbie does much more that spin wax on the beach. Releases on Get Physical, Culprit, Kindisch, No.19 have brought his records to the clubs around the world. The prime example of how a local name can rise in the ranks, Robbie is an inspiration for aspiring dance-heads everywhere. See what Robbie has to say about vinyl culture, Djing in a tourist hotspot, and making your dreams become records.
How did it all begin for you? What was the first thing that sparked your love affair with vinyl collecting and DJing on wax?
I was very luck to grow up in the early 80´s in the Cancun area in Mexico where my father used to have 3 clubs in that time, So my brother and I began to breathe records at a very early age, we were very young. And since that the love to mixed and collect them became a passion.
How has the scene in Riviera Maya (and all of Mexico) influenced your journey as a DJ and producer?
It has always been very inspirational this magical place that is Riviera Maya. Since the late 90’s Playa del Carmen has hosted a lot of dj’s from around the world. So for me it was a great place to make a lot of network and connections.
You’re a label owner and on the roster of 3 top house imprints (Get Physical, No. 19, and Culprit). What role do you see the label playing it today’s dance record distribution process?
We are very happy with the progress of the label in this 10 years, always working with great talented people from around the world. Its a amazing to see how this days big djs are playing the releases and supporting the project.
What active labels and artists are always found in your sets? Who’s putting out the hottest records these days?
So much great music this days and labels, so hard to name a few , but I’m really enjoying what Dance Spirit, Vid, Diego Krause, Doubtingthomas, Mano, Azteca and Bolivar are doing. Labels like Rebellion, EastEnderz, and Kindisch are releasing some of the best records these days.
How do you prep your crate for going on the road? What’s your process when gathering records for a gig?
I’ve always prepare a special folder for each gig, and then always combine with my previous set depending the crowd, venue and momentum.
What’s your approach for finding new records? Do you head to shops? Online? DJ promos? What tips do you have for our readers when on the hunt for wax?
Yes i always try to got to different shops twice a week now that I’m living in Berlin, also go to online record shops (always looking for vinyl only content) also i get a lot of digital promos from various labels, and at the end always get a lot of interesting music thru Beatport (you just need to know how to find it 🙂
Record stores are the cornerstone of taste in any scene. Any local shops you suggest for people in and travelling Mexico?
Yes I’m in Playa del Carmen and they just opened a nice cozy little record store called Spinny Grooves. I definitely recommend you´re in the area.
What’s next on the production front? You’ve don’t always release records, but when you they’re massive. Any tracks coming down the pipeline?
Yes i have 2 collaboration with Dance Spirit out on Kindisch also i have a single on Akbal Music with remixes by Swayzak and Jay Tripwire coming out early on the summer and working in a lot of solo material at the moment in Berlin.
Do you have any parting tips for kids just getting into DJing? How do DJs remain authentic in an over commercialized dance music industry?
Only advice i can share is to follow your passion & dreams and don’t stop if people try to get you down!