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Interview with Jerome Robins, an electronic dance music producer & DJ

Jerome Robins – Learning and Unlearning

The first Unlearn release of the year enters in spectacular fashion, with a massive collaboration between Toronto heavyweight Jerome Robins and label head Doc Brown.

Jerome Robins is an electronic dance music producer & DJ hailing from Toronto, Canada. Although raised in Washington DC, his music career actually started while living and DJing in London’s burgeoning dance scene of the 1990s.

Jerome has released consistently on the world’s top labels & has collaborated with –  and been remixed by – the biggest artists in the industry. The new single “Double Drop” is a chuggy monster of a tune, with intricate melodic synth layers & accented with spaced-out vocal samples. 

We caught up with him to discuss why he misses record store culture and why the pandemic was a learning experience. 

Connect with Jerome Robins on Soundcloud | Facebook

Thanks for speaking with us Jerome. If you could sum up 2021 in a single sentence, how was it for you?

Learning. As most venues were closed in Toronto for large periods of time, the longest stretch in North America, I spent a lot of time making music and tightening my production/mastering skills. I also recently started a mastering service and Ableton Live tutorials which can be booked at

You lived in London in the 90s, which artists were you listening to then and where were you partying?

DJs like Tong, Oakey, Seb Fontaine, Jules etc. As I started shifting to a proggier sound, I started listening to Sasha, Digweed, Seaman, Warren and a lot of the Renaissance DJs/shows. As for my main stomping grounds, I’d say Ministry Of Sound, Turnmills and The Cross.

Coming from Toronto, how much of a culture shock was it for you going to the UK, and one of the central hubs on dance music?

Moving to London from North America at 21 was like moving to the moon. Everything was different. Every day I would learn more and immerse myself in the culture, including musically. I was introduced to all kinds of new music from the DJs/producers mentioned above to bands like the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Was some of the best years of my life.

How much did those early days inform the direction of your career?

Massively. I graduated with a British kinesiology degree but knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was clubbing, buying records, playing out and knew I wanted to do something in the dance industry, I just didn’t know in what capacity. Essentially London changed what I wanted to do with my life moving forward.

You co-founded Release Records – what are some of your memories of owning a record shop?

The release was a copy of the amazing Plastic Fantastic in Covent Garden. Plastic was my London music hub. Enzo, Johnny, Ollie, Luis (Lee Burridge from time to time) and the rest of the crew were always so gracious with me even when I was a nobody in terms of the scene. It gave me a small glimpse into how the record industry worked. When I returned to Toronto in 2000 after almost a decade abroad, I teamed up with 2 childhood friends, opened the shop and things took off. We essentially became the ‘Plastic’ of North America servicing almost every club resident in North, Central and South America, as well as ‘A listers’ like Oakey, Tiesto, etc. on a weekly basis.

I would say the greatest memory (or aspect) of the shop was how we helped shape dance music on this side of the pond. We were a major influence on the progressive house culture in North, Central and South America. The work we did changed the scene and that’s something I’m most proud of.

Although record shops still exist, it’s probably fair to say there’s not quite the same culture around them as there was 20 years ago. Do you miss those days?

I’d say anyone who was involved misses those days. Shops were more than music hubs, they were mini-communities. It’s a shame new DJs never got to experience it.

Shops were more than music hubs, they were mini-communities.

How did you hook up with Doc Brown and Unlearn on Double Drop?

We’ve known one another for ages but never really collaborated. I think it was me who hit him up and asked why we haven’t worked together. So this is hopefully the first of many projects. Nowadays, I really only want to work with people I know and respect…people like Doc.

Can we ask what the title refers to??

You’ll have to ask him. 

As a former editor for DJ Magazine, how would you sum up the state of dance music journalism at the moment? Do you think it still carries the same weight that it used to? 

It’s not the same as it used to be. Back then, people flocked to grab the latest copy of DJ Mag, Mixmag, etc. Along with ‘key’ record shops, magazines were the ’tastemakers’ of the scene.

Nowadays, the music retail portals dictate what’s hot with paid and politically pushed ads so it doesn’t seem to be as organic as it used to be.

Nowadays, the music retail portals dictate what’s hot with paid and politically pushed ads so it doesn’t seem to be as organic as it used to be. I’m mailed loads of solid promos every week that will no doubt fall through the cracks for the above-mentioned reasons.

What are your plans for 2022? 

I’m only working on projects I want to be part of and with people, I want to work with. I’m not interested in pumping out tracks like I used to. Instead, I’m focusing more on teaching and pushing my new online tutorials as I’m constantly asked for production help.

Finally, what for you was the most underrated record of last year? 

Hard to say, but there was definitely a lot of overrated tracks.

Thank you.

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