Brothers ‘Vibe aka Tony Rodriguez, is a staunch member of the old-school. His is a sound that’s thus well versed in such sounds and attitudes, but his latest work proves he’s lost none of his zest in recent times. The latest such release is Black Ops Volume 1, a full-on collaboration with Dave Ellesmere that owes as much to techno as it does the Brothers’ house inclinations. We decided to catch up with the New Jersey native recently to find out what else has been going on in his world recently…

How are you recently, Tony? Nice summer? You been keeping busy?
All good, thanks. Summer was great; wasn’t too hot. I spent a lot of time to myself. I haven’t been too busy on the music side, but I needed the time off.

Black Ops Volume 1 is your first release in a while. Have you been taking an extended break from production? Or what else has been keeping you busy of late?
Yeah, it’s been over 2 years since I have released anything original. I took the break to gather myself. I got caught up in the madness of traveling and chasing the next gig. Plus, I just needed a break!

The EP is a pretty dark one in places. Are you going back to the music you used to make in a way?
The BV Black imprint is meant to be more “electronic” than any of the releases I do on my other labels. I have projects in the works that are more early Brothers’ Vibe. The BV sound originated in more loopy disco, jazzy and tribal house. I’ve got some bangers coming on the other labels for sure.

Is there any reason why you released it under your own name and not as Brothers Vibe? Can we attach any significance to it?
The name thing was more to keep the BV audience from being turned off if they were not receptive to the BV Black sound. People can be fickle. I can get as experimental as I want now; so more creative freedom…

Do you still get to DJ much these days? How’s the year been on that front?
Honestly, I haven’t travelled much at all. However, You can hear me on my monthly show on myhouseyourhouse.net. I recently changed agents. As I mentioned, I took a break and now I’m looking forward to touring again.

You’re often talked of as a really inspirational figure to DJs and producers on the west coast of US especially. How does that feel when you get those accolades?
For sure it’s uplifting to feel appreciated, to know that I have inspired others. Undoubtedly there are many that have inspired me in the past and for certain those I have inspired will one day inspire me. That’s the way it should be. It drives me; more now than ever. At one point I was so disgusted with the way the scene was running; I was going to just drop out. In the end, it’s the music that drives me, those who follow me and I follow as well. So, I will continue to create…period!

Are you conscious, for example, when playing abroad that you’re repping where you’re from then? Or is that something that you think of at all?
It doesn’t really come to mind. I just do the best I can and represent the true sound I believe in. I will only play music that represents me; nothing less, nothing false!

I notice that you check a lot of promos that you get sent. Do you genuinely check them all? How often are you impressed these days by what you hear?
Man, this is something I make a priority. I try and listen to as much as possible; time permitting. I have been criticized for leaving positive feedback or supporting music not to be as “popular’ or made by the usual suspects. To those with these criticisms I say FUCK OFF! It really pisses me off how some don’t take these opportunities to inspire others, but rather shatter dreams. It takes a lot to put yourself out there as an artist. They at least deserve a little respect. If you don’t like the music just pass and graciously say thank you; don’t be an asshole! We all know the biz is made up mostly egotistical jerk offs, don’t we? You can see this is a touchy topic for me. Anyhow, the answer is yes. I am impressed by what I hear these days. There is a lot of talent out here for sure….

Are you always on the lookout for new music to sign too? How’s the label going actually?
For now I will concentrate on my own productions. I have so much unfinished music on file; it’s time to get it all done. The label has been quiet as far as new releases, but it’s all about to change. Luckily, my back catalog has kept people interested.

What are the biggest challenges facing the label these days? Do you still release your music on vinyl for instance?
Well, the biggest challenge is trying to keep the label profitable; in the least, paying for itself. A good balance of releases between digital only and vinyl only will do that; in my experience. In the end, keeping a steady flow and some diversity in sound should result in positive sales. I will never stop pressing vinyl as long as there are plants in business!

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Do modern advancements in technology make it easier or difficult to shift units and gain awareness? Are you pro or anti-Internet when it comes to the electronic music scene?
I feel both technology and Internet are a plus, period! Whatever spreads the word, by any means necessary; it’s all-good! There’s not really much for me to say on this.

Your latest EP is set to drop soon. Can you talk us through that one a bit?
The Black OPs EP drops as a vinyl only release at the end of September. I will have a reworked version of the project coming soon for digital release as well. These mixes will not be available on vinyl. This project was more of me feeling my way back to the masses in an all-original release. I have done remixes in the past 2 years, but nothing original for over 2 years. It took me over a year to make a decision, as I wasn’t feeling motivated or positive on the music coming out of me. Your mind can really put a damper on shit. You know what I mean? I had Dave Ellesmere remix one of the earlier BV Black tracks for this release; it helped my mood for sure. Dave’s contribution is priceless. Dave’s a dear friend and an amazing talent! I feel it’s a solid project; I’m happy with it!!

Do you feel at your most comfortable stage as a producer right now? How do you keep yourself motivated?
I am absolutely at a comfortable stage; things have never been clearer for me. Again, that 2-year break did wonders. I feel empowered by taking back my life and doing things on my own terms. Getting out of the hustle and bustle; the chase the industry can have you on. I’ve got my studio organized better than ever. My primary ware is Reason; which I have loved from day 1!! The new version coming, 8; is a monster…I look forward to it. I took my Kawaii K3 and Moog out of storage. I also have a few Roland Keyboards, some Native Instruments sound packages, including Maschine on hand; dude so much at my disposal in a way I haven’t been able to organise in years…..def amped! For me having my work area on check is priority! My motivation is keeping in mind what my passion has been and is throughout the years. I am happiest when I am creating!

Finally, what’s next for you that you’re really looking forward to?
My releases for certain! I’ll be starting off with a few singles and EPs here and there and eventually a solo album. Honestly, I just want to keep creating steady for the next year. If I get a few good parties in the meantime; of course I am in. My goal for the year as well is to open a studio in the mountains of Upstate NY or Pennsylvania. Def looking forward to getting things done this year! Here’s my schedule of releases so far:

Bvb-03 Tony Rodriguez, Dave Ellesmere “Black OPs#1” (BV Black)
September 23, 2014 (Vinyl Only)

SOM-1275 Brothers’ Vibe “Rebirth EP” (SOM Underground)
October 27, 2014 (Digi Only)

Mxw-04 Various Artists “Winter Sampler EP 2014” (MixxRecords)
November 18, 2014 (Vinyl Only)

SOM-1276 Brothers’ Vibe “Primers EP” (SOM Underground)
December 9, 2014 (Vinyl Only) 

I appreciate your time and thanks for allowing me to share a bit…God bless!

Brothers’ Vibe and Dave Ellesmere’s Black Ops Volume 1 is out now on BV Black, pick it up here

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About The Author

Marcus Barnes is a renowned music journalist based in London. As well as manning the good ship Deep House London he contributes to Mixmag, The Independent, Resident Advisor, i-D and many more music outlets.

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