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Robert Clivilles Interview

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Robert Clivilles

Robert Clivilles

Robert Clivilles is truly a dance music legend. Together with his late partner David Cole, C&C Music Factory redefined dance music as a producer-driven artist medium and successfully brought their international smash hits “Gonna Make You Sweat,” “Things That Make You Go Hmm,” and “Here We Go,” to the people through clubs, video and touring. As a remix team, their work on Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and many others introduced many to the concept of remixing. With the state of dance music in the United States, it seems like the perfect time to look back to a legend to help us focus on the future.

Lainie Copicotto: I’m here with The Infamous; One of The Founders of House Music in the United States, Robert Clivilles, and I am deeply honored to be sitting here because you’re a huge influence on my live as the lives of many other people.
Robert Clivilles: I hope it’s a good one.

Lainie: Yes, actually, yes, I was a straight-edge little club kid, you know, I believed in the music and the love.
Clivilles: Alright.

Lainie: So, I mean when you began, when you started with C&C Music Factory and DJing and everything, it was a different world.
Clivilles: Absolutely.

Lainie: Now, DJs are rock stars.
Clivilles: Alright.

Lainie: You have a top one hundred hit; you have music videos that absolutely have no dancers, no choreography, with a guy jumping around on the stage. From where you began to where you are now, what do you think the differences are?
Clivilles: I just think the differences are more that the DJs have to be more of entertainers now, where before they were just hidden behind a DJ booth and that was it, playing records. I think it’s good in some aspects and bad in some others, because everybody’s gone to the forefront and nobody is left in the back of the booth playing their music. *laughs*

Lainie: And what do you consider good music?
Clivilles: I consider good music a variety, I mean I just want the music all night long for a crowd. When I grew up with the Paradise Garage and Larry Levan, he played a variety, he was never really stuck on just house music, which is disco music. If there was a hot Mick Jagger record he would play it, Grace Jones, you know, there was downtempo that were good as well that were classics, and these days when you go into clubs all you hear is bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, no musicality, no lyrics to sing along to, no mood change, you know, as far as tempo. So you really can’t take anybody on a journey, it’s kind of really pretty much one thing, you really go into a sample, club, or you go into all European house, but there’s not a mixture. I mean, when I was DJing I used to play a lot of club music, but then I used to break it down to half an hour hip-hop, half an hour reggae, and that was back in ’87 and, to me, I felt that the crowd enjoyed that a lot more. You could take them all along a ride.

Lainie: I know it’s I remember nights at Palladium and you would have playing together on the main floor Charlie Cavallo, Hex Hector and Funk Master Flex, and they would really be broken up into different parts. Do you think that the people that are out now, that are going to clubs, do they seem to be really about the idea of the underground but not really understanding the underground. Do you think that underground could still be vocal, it could still be, you know, comfortable for somebody to sing along?
Clivilles: Absolutely. It just takes, you see when I was growing up, you had your Michael Brodys which were the owners of the Paradise Garage, and it’s up to the owners and that’s pretty much what you lack now, you lack a music lover that has the money to open up the proper club with the proper patience and not worried about making quick money. We have owners now that they’re worried about the bar, you know, they’re worried about, you know, getting people in, cattle. I call it cattle packing, instead of developing a club from the ground up, and that’s why places like the Paradise Garage or Bonds International or the Infernos were pretty big clubs and famous, well-known. This is because the people that ran those ran them with quality, they watched, they did the door right, they just didn’t let anybody in and they let a little bit of everything in, gay, bisexual, young kids. You know, when you went to the Garage it was twenty-two and over, but I was sixteen, you know, so once in a blue moon they let a little pack of people in there and they kind of educated those people. You know, you can educate a crowd, and I still think you can educate a crowd but, if you have everybody busy on how much they're getting paid for the three hours they're spending and not creating a movement, they’re going to continue to have the same thing they're having now, this ‘just pay me, I’m coming in three hours and I might play the same records I always play, I might play my own records that no one’s ever heard.’

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