Club + Bars

Robbie Rivera

Dance-music lovers don’t have to wait for the weekend to party this week – they can work off some calories the night before the big Thanksgiving feast, as house-music pioneer Robbie Rivera steps behind the decks at Space in downtown Miami Wednesday night, Nov. 25. The Juicy Records founder and South Florida resident (he and wife Monica also have a home in the nightlife mecca Ibiza) is touring in support of his new artist album for Ultra Records, “Closer to the Sun,” which features radio-friendly pop tunes rather than Rivera’s usual underground tribal beats. He talked to about what to expect from his set at Space, plus some of his favorite South Florida hangouts.


Your new album is a pretty big departure for you. What inspired this direction?

I’ve done so many tracks and so much music – what I tried to do with this album is go into the studio in Miami and see what came out, and some of the tunes came out more commercial with more melody, and some more progressive, and some harder more full-on club tunes. But it’s a combination of a lot of styles, some even with hip-hop, a little rapping.


How was the recording experience?

It was great, but a little bit difficult, because what I do is, I do the music and send it off to my songwriters in the U.K. and Holland. And then I get it back and start to make it sound better. Sometimes I get confused whether to make them for radio tracks or club tracks, because I like both styles. Also selecting what tracks go on the record is hard, because I had like 20 tracks.


Will we hear a lot of the new album in your live mix at Space?

Yes, sir, because that’s what I decided to do on my new tour, to take every track on my new album and make a club mix with a different arrangement.


You went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Did you grow up in South Florida?

I grew up in Puerto Rico till I was 18, and then I went to the Art Institute to get my Music Production degree. And then I went to Nova Southeastern. But I’ve been in South Florida for a long time, since 1992.


Any favorite hangouts?

Oh yeah, man – I love Houston’s in Coral Gables. I go there at least once a week. And there’s a place to get chicken wings in South Miami – the Sports Grill. I love that.


What would you say the dance-music industry needs the most today?

In America, we need more radio support. It’s so difficult to get a dance song on the radio. In the rest of the world, it’s so easy, but here… Thank God we have companies like Sirius and XM – we get all the love from them. But when it comes to regular radio, it’s too corporate now. They can only play the things that they’re told. It’s annoying and frustrating.