In a world full of “Instagram stars”, in which improvised DJs are on the agenda, Slovak-born and Berlin-based Robin Virag aka Just_Me seems to come from another planet. His relentless dedication in the studio led him to release his tracks on labels such as EWax, FA>|E and Floorpiece, also bringing his vibes into famous clubs such as Tresor and Watergate in Berlin and Space Ibiza. Just_Me also runs numerous labels like Druzhba and the recent-born Synkronized and Retrospect.
Last year he also launched RV Audio, affirming himself as an audio engineer and making him a point of reference not just for Europe but the worldwide electronic music scene, confirming the undoubted skills he has.
You come from Slovakia, which is a relatively unknown place in the house & techno scene. Do you want to introduce us to any label/artist/party that needs attention?
Indeed I was born in Bratislava, however, my family moved when I was 3 years old. After that, I lived in Bulgaria, UK and Austria for a short period of time so I haven’t really been in touch with the scene in my home country. The last time I performed in Bratislava was over 3 years ago.
Having said that, do you think that moving to Berlin was the right decision? Are there any people that help you out to settle down in such a diverse city and reality?
When I moved to Berlin 5 years ago, I had no contacts whatsoever in the city. Amongst some of the first people I met here was Simon who now owns EWax. He had moved to Berlin around the same time as me. We started to make our way in the city’s scene and continue to work together to this day. Moving to Berlin has without a doubt been one of my best decisions so far.
Tell us more about your next step: RV Audio. How did it come to your mind and what are your next steps.
During 2013 I completed an electronic music production course at the SAE Institute in London. A few of my friends who studied audio engineering at the time gave me some tips regarding mastering my own music. I have since been exploring that aspect and as time went by, label friends asked me to master their releases, which worked out well. It wasn’t until 2018 when I decided to get a diploma and take up an audio mixing & mastering course at Point Blank Music School. Following my studies and some changes in my employment status at the beginning of 2019, I felt confident enough to start a company and took up studio work as a full-time occupation.
Check out https://www.rvaudioltd.com/
First Dhruzba, now also Retrospect and Synkronized. Are you going to stop now? Which are the main differences from the labels in terms of sound?
It’s true, we have been keeping quite busy on the label front. Druzhba is a project that I co-manage with my friend Nikolay who is currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria, although the label originated in Berlin. With regards to Retrospect, it is a project I started with Chad Andrew. We both have a strong and genuine love for 80’s music especially the nu-wave/synth-pop genres. The idea came about very organically during one of our studio sessions. As a matter of fact, Retrospect was never meant as a label, however, following a great reception of the first release, we decided to turn it into one.
And last but not least – Synkronized! I decided to take the experience I have gained with my previous projects and made my own label. That way I can have full control and freedom over all musical/visual aspects. Another thing worth mentioning is that the first release was produced, mastered, pressed and distributed 100% in Berlin with Joe from black.round.twelve.
You’ve collaborated with some Vatos Locos’ members lately. Is there a particular affinity with these guys? Will you work on more collabs in the future with them?
The cool thing about it is that I have met most of the guys from Vatos Locos separately at different times. It wasn’t for a few years since I first met Chad and David that we became friends. Once again everything happened very organically and we first became friends before considering going into the studio together. Thanks to that, all our sessions were extremely productive, which led to starting Retrospect with Chad and doing the first release on Synkronized with David. We are working on a number of projects together right now and I’m sure we’ll continue doing so in the future.
We (or me at least ) know you as a pretty “studio nerd” – in the best positive sense of this word! Tell us your top 3 studio tips that could work both for beginners and relative-pro persons.
I consider myself a very curious person in general. The more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know. My 3 tips would not be on the technical side but they worked well for me. For number one I would say keep your mind and ears open as there are always things to be learned, I myself regularly ask producer and audio engineer friends for feedback and suggestions as I consider them to be very knowledgeable in different areas. Such communication helps me consistently improve and develop my workflow. Number two would be not to rush your music and releases, it takes time to get to a certain level. The final one would be discipline and work ethic. In my opinion, regular practice is the way forward and a producer’s focus belongs in the studio before anything else.
Despite being relatively young, you’ve accomplished many goals during the last couple of years. Name some young DJs and new labels that will rock 2020 or during the next few years.
There are a lot of good things happening in the scene at the moment, so it’s very hard for me to point out specific artists & labels. It makes me very happy to see my clients at RV Audio growing, selling out their releases and occupying regular spots on many different charts. With regards to artists, we have been signing music from producers we consider to be very talented (actually 80% of this mix consists of music from producer friends and labels). Keep an eye on Synkronized, Retrospect and Druzhba as all of those will be coming out during the course of this year.
What’s the next goal, considering that you have many different pursuits every day, that you’d like to accomplish this year? And what would be your biggest achievement by far?
My next goal is to maintain my focus, continue growing and developing RV Audio along with my labels in order to have an even busier and more productive year ahead. What I consider as my biggest achievements, are starting my own company as well as having a great circle of people in both personal and professional aspects of my life.
Any particular shout-out or final thanks?
First of all, I would like to stress the fact that I appreciate all the support for my own and my label’s music in the currently dynamic electronic music scene. It is the people who buy our music and attend events that allow us to continue pursuing our passion. I would also like to thank my clients at RV Audio who greatly contributed to the growth of the company, as well as everyone who reads this interview and listened to the podcast.
Words by Francesco Quieti