From the little mountain towns of Romania, they've made it across Europe and through the states and provinces of the Americas. Livio and Roby have been gaining a worldwide reputation for their unique spin on house and techno for the past decade. As their Romanian culture made the biggest impact on their sound, we took the time to discuss such roots with the duo at the end of their set at Montreal's infamous StereoBar.
With their background of cultural influences, Livio and Roby have learned to appreciate countries and venues for their quirky differences. They consider their "sound" to be comprised of a wide range of external influences, whether it be German, English, Romanian or anything else they've listened to and appreciated. Still, they find themselves using a range of unique Romanian tribal rhythms and organic instrumentation paired with deep and minimal techno and the added touch of house.
For those who don't know, Romania went through a political turmoil during the late 80's-early 90's. The Communist regime came down in '89, causing difficulties for artists to "access anything outside of Romania" as Livio puts it. Prior to gaining the momentum that they did, there was nothing coming in or going out of the city. "Until around '96-'97, the scene within Romania remained very quiet," he continued. Searching for music was more difficult than just the quick engine search that we have today; travelling across borders to access new sounds and influences was a usual practice for the artists.
After a difficult 10 years of post-Communism, Romanians were finally able to access the necessary gear, information and music to be able to produce and mix. Years later, in 2004, Livio & Roby met through mutual acquaintances and by then, their local scene had taken a big step and evolved beyond it's initial capacity. "We had more access to things; we started building a studio and buying some gear," explained Roby.
"In the 80's, there was nothing in Romania. It's nothing that it is now," claims Livio. Upon further questions, we've come to understand that the Romanian scene has an extremely underground feel. "The people going out know how to listen to the music, the DJ and the sound. We're made of more music heads -- more educated," he explained. Still based in Bucharest, Romania, Livio & Roby have become international artists within their field. Touring across Europe and around the Americas, the duo have built a reputation for their Romanian roots, influences and style. No matter where they go, Livio & Roby keep home close to their hearts.
It was intriguing, to say the least, what their views on our scene could possibly be. "We had a short history in North America in 2006-2007," Livio explained. Though they have much respect for the way our cultural differences have built our scenes, they're sad to admit "We know a lot about your scene, but people need to know more about us. It would be a nice impact for us and for the crowd." Roby remarked that "There's too much branding and advertising. I respect that culture but in Romania, it's more underground. We let our music speak for itself."
Bonheur Présente Shlomi Aber, Onur Ozer, Livio & Roby at Rockstore Montpellier 2014 © Miglen Belev
Needless to say, they were thoroughly impressed by what they witnessed that special Friday night at StereoBar. Four years earlier, the duo made their first debut in the city at StereoBar's original after-hours venue -- Stereo Nightclub. With much excitement, Livio explains
"I like this room [StereoBar], it's brand new. We played in the other club when the DJ booth was high up; for my personal taste, I wasn't the biggest fan of that because I couldn't connect with my audience. But it was great; the place had an amazing sound system, amazing gear and it was nice to know that everything was hand made. It was a great experience."
Thankfully, Montreal met all of their expectations. They had heard a lot about the Stereo venues and the city when travelling through Romania and have expressed their gratitude towards beings booked at a club so highly recognized by the likes of David Morales, Behrouz and Danny Tenaglia. "The sound system is amazing, and so are the people," they closed.
This experience taught us that with a big heart, open ears, determination and appreciation, dreams are achievable regardless of the obstacles in the way. If you've got a burning passion for a specific art or trade, work at it no matter how long and difficult the road is laid out to be.
Released on notable labels such as Desolat, VIVa, Saved and Fumakilla, you can preview their sounds here: