Robert Dietz is fearless. As America collectively muddles through another record-cold winter, the German DJ/producer decided to stare down all of the snowpocalypses and snowmageddons that were in the forecast for the month of March and book a U.S. tour. How hardcore is that? With temperatures cold and snow falling daily, thank goodness he’s made the pilgrimage with his warm, techy, and housey vibes in tow.
It’s no wonder Dietz is feeling motivated and ambitious. Known for releasing top-quality tracks on Desolate, Cecile and Cadenza, he just presented the world with his phenomenal Radio Raheem EP on his newly launched Berlin-based imprint, Truth Be Told.
We caught up with the globetrotting jock and asked him about the impetus behind launching TBT — take note: his Radio Raheem debut EP features a stellar collaboration with Detroit legend Eddie Fowlkes — and what influenced him to use the name of a character in Spike Lee’s classic 1989 movie Do The Right Thing as the EP’s title.
As a bonus, Dietz also shares a slightly embarrassing story about meeting Josh Wink at a wedding in Norway.
Robert Dietz’s Radio Raheem EP is out now on Truth Be Told. Catch Dietz with Josh Wink at Verboten in Brooklyn on March 6. His additional U.S. tour dates can be found here.
Welcome back to America. How’s your U.S. tour going so far?
Robert Dietz: Pretty good! Started in Boston last Friday with my man Martin Buttrich at Bijou and then to Washington, D.C. to play Flash, one of my favorites.
The first cut on your new EP shares a name with a character in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing,” who wears two rings that read LOVE and HATE across his knuckles. Are you a fan of this movie and Raheem’s fashion sense? What’s the backstory about how the track got its name?
I was actually watching the movie the night before I made that track and the fly character of Radio Raheem with his big ghetto blaster and his tragic ending just stuck in my head. I really like Spike Lee’s work but hadn’t seen this one at this point so I was all over it.
Radio Raheem always has Public Enemy‘s “Fight the Power” blasting from his boom box. Were you ever a fan of Public Enemy?
Yo! Bum Rush The Show was one of the first hip-hop albums I bought a couple of years after its original release, but then quickly moved me on to other acts which caught my attention. Too many other hip-hop acts in the ’90s were exciting at this time, and I was young.
Speaking of you latest EP, the legendary Eddie Fowlkes appears on “7 Turn Arounds,” a really nice track. How did you connect with Eddie? Did you work together in the studio or remotely?
We met the first time in 2013 at a Used and Abused event in London were we played together and connected well. He invited me a couple of months later to his place in Detroit where we hung out for a week. At this time we didn’t even think about going to the studio together. But when he came to Berlin last summer we spontaneously met for a session and recorded “7 Turn Arounds.”
The EP is released on your new label, Truth Be Told. What prompted you to launch the imprint? Will you be releasing music by other artists, or will you keep it as a platform for your own material?
I’m running the label with one of my oldest and best friends I grew up with. The idea of having something on my own was in my head for a while and last year we finally worked it out. The label will be an open platform for everyone, not only myself. But, of course, the main idea behind it was to have something where you can just experiment with, especially when it comes to your own music and taste for design and artwork.
You’re playing Verboten here in Brooklyn. What are your experiences like DJing in NYC? What can fans expect from your set?
It’s going to be the first time for me at Verboten, and I’m quite excited about it as I heard a lot of good things. I have been coming to NYC since 2009 and played a lot of different clubs and locations since then. I’ve never been disappointed so far as I think that people here are pretty open-minded. In general, it is really good to see how the club scene evolved again during the last five years.
Josh Wink is also on the bill. Do you know each other?
Of course. I’ve been a big fan of Josh and his work since the ’90s, and I remember being fascinated watching his music video of “Are You There” on TV when I was a teen. Finally we personally met only a couple of years ago at a mutual friend’s wedding in Norway, and I think I annoyed the shit out of him trying totally drunk to convince him to re-release an old Ovum record of DJ Dozia I’ve been trying to find for ages. But we are cool.
Which New York labels or producers who’ve influenced your music over the years?
There are so many big influences coming over from this great city. DJ Qu is one of them for sure. But as well Masters At Work or Todd Terry have been on my plate for years. Inmotion is a label run by my friend Kareem which is doing great too.
What are your plans for WMC/Music Music Week or whatever it’s being called now? Now that you’re a label owner, do you plan on doing any business in Miami?
Not more than the usual business. Playing a couple of nice gigs, hanging out with friends, getting wasted and sunburned.