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Award-winning music producer and live performer Rodriquez Jr.

details the keys to staying on top in a firsthand interview. 

Whilst some follow trends, others set them. Award-winning music producer and live performer Rodriquez Jr. also known as Olivier Mateu has spent 20 years in the industry, with his vast experience of all genres of electronic music making him the visionary of melodic house and techno he is today.


Initially, Mateu made his name under the mentorship of the legendary Laurent Garnier, releasing music on the revered F-Communications label as one half of French electro act The Youngsters. Following this he gradually honed his style into the dynamic, colourful sound of beauty that can now be regularly found on Mobilee, Anjunadeep and demanded for on remixes of Stephan Bodzin, Booka Shade, Eli & Fur, Steve Bug, Timo Maas and more….

Hi Olivier, at last, the long awaited moment has arrived, to inform our readers about everything new.

1.- IBR.- In these more than 20 years of career, you will have innumerable anecdotes, but we are curious, how was your first time, what was the determining factor for you to want to dedicate yourself to music?


Rodriguez Jr.- I was 9 years old when I heard Jean Michel Jarre on the radio. It was the mid-80s. Everything about this music was fascinating, the sound, the structure, the vibe. Since that moment, I haven’t ceased to be obsessed with synthesizers and electronic music. In more than 20 years of career I could talk about many people I met, opportunities, travels and experiences but this was definitely the first spark and the thing that makes me the person that I am today. 


2.-BR.- What message do you want to transmit to the public through your creations?


Rodriguez Jr.- I don’t want to sound so clichéd, but the truth is I hope to bring people together through my music. I believe music has a strong healing power. It unites people regardless of who they are. This is also why I always stay away from politics. 


3.-IBR.- Where do you look for motivation when you create, in artists of the 80's-90's or do you take inspiration from the current market?


Rodriguez Jr.- I take inspiration everywhere. Of course the music I listened to in the 80s-90s had a strong influence on my sound, but music is an ever-changing art and I am very impressed about what the new generation of young producers are delivering nowadays. It looks like they don’t have the same boundaries as we had. They just listen to whatever pops up in their playlists, digest it, and create something new without questioning themselves too much. 

Rodriguez Jr. D1-photo by PAUL NORMANN.j

4.-IBR.- What are your 10 essential pieces of equipment to be able to work in the studio?


Rodriguez Jr.- I am not even sure you need 10 pieces in order to create something exciting. You need a computer, a DAW you feel comfortable with, a sound card, a pair of monitors, plus a decent acoustic and the world is yours. 


5.- IBR. Your A side melodic house and techno, your B side what would it be?


Rodriguez Jr.- I don’t think too much about genre while working on a project, I see it as a whole so anything that completes or complements the vision of the project, it could be another melodic house or an ambient piece, it all depends on what the sonic story of the EP is. 


6.-IBR.- From your perspective, the current producers provide more musical quality than those of years ago, or do you think that on the contrary those of before had a more elaborated sound ?


Rodriguez Jr.- Whatever happens, I refuse nostalgia. Next, I would say that artists had more freedom before because everything was being invented. The limitation of technology pushed artists to be hyper-creative and take decisions as they paved new roads into the territories we are still exploring today. 


7.-IBR: For you, what has been the best experience you have had at a festival, and which festival?


Rodriguez Jr.- First one that comes to mind is The Social Festival in Guadalajara where everything was very improvised last minute because of cancelations due to weather so I had to jump onstage last minute in front of 10,000 people who were extremely enthusiastic and Liset Alea who was pregnant at the time was also onstage with me and basically did a sound check during the first song and it was an unforgettable moment. 


8- IBR - In South America, which club has been the one that has excited you the most, what would you like to come back and why?

Rodriguez Jr.- I love South America so much that it is hard to select one single place. Tough question! I have awesome memories in Warung. The connection with the crowd, the temperature, the tropical vibe, the sound, … I keep those nights deep in my heart. But the list is so long: Crobar, D-Edge … 


9.-IBR - We know that you are preparing new things, tell us a little bit and when can we hear them?


Rodriguez Jr.- I am preparing a lot of things because I am planning to move my studio soon and I must finalize all pending projects before packing my equipment and that’s an exciting process. I’m working on new tracks, a full album with Liset Alea, I’m creating a sound library for a well known company and we are currently filming a master class on music production with AULART.


10.-IBR.- With all that we are living, do you think that we will enjoy again big festivals or do you think that this format will be part of the past?


Rodriguez Jr.- Big festivals will come back at some point. This human instinct of gathering en masse, celebrating, dancing  and listening to music all together is vital. It’s in our DNA. 

11.-IBR.- What would you like to share with the new generation of producers, so that they can reach your high level?


Rodriguez Jr.- They will have to figure out how to be themselves. It might sound like an obvious answer, but it’s actually not so easy. Things tend to be very formatted nowadays and trends are strong so it’s harder than ever to figure out what you really want to do. Also, if you want to stay high, stay sober! A little lesson learned the hard way. 

Olivier thank you very much for sharing with us and our readers your dedication, persistence, love for the electronics music and for being a great reference to follow!

Interviewed by Paul Ross

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