Ryan DeRobertist (a.k.a Saint Pepsi), Boston College’s very own Avicii, caught up with Culture Editor Sameet Dhillon to discuss his inspirations, advice for other musicians and future endeavors .
When did you start producing music?
I started producing music at a pretty early age because I was always sort of computer obsessive; my first songs were done when I was 13 and they're still online, although I wouldn't dare give out those links. I got more serious about music when I started high school, when I taught myself enough guitar to start writing my own songs.
What inspires your music?
I'm inspired by any and all types of music, but my first love lies in the music I was raised with—specifically the New Wave movement of the 80s. The aesthetic, the production, everything. The sound is so polished and definitely serves as inspiration for my outlook on music production techniques. I never shy away from reverb/delay/synthy sounding material!
How would you describe your style/sound?
I'm heavily influenced by disco/funk/R&B, and I like to put a warm electronic touch on everything I do. It's definitely music to enjoy summer to. Just grab a frozen lemonade and drive aimlessly around town.
What is the process of creating new tracks?
I usually shop around for an old disco or soul song that has anywhere from 3-5 seconds of sample-able material for me. I have a machine called an MPD which I use to chop up the song to make something completely different. Once I have the rearrangement of that song I'll add other instruments/drums/whatever else and tweak until I'm satisfied with the final product!
Are you involved in anything musically at BC?
WZBC saved me, joining the radio station was hands down the best decision I ever made at BC. Everybody there was super supportive of the project and it really couldn't have grown the way it did without them.
How many people are involved in SAINT PEPSI, or is it just you?
SAINT PEPSI is just me!
Were you expecting SAINT PEPSI to become so popular or was it just a hobby at first?
It was nothing more than a hobby at first. My main project at the time was called "The Cold Napoleons", and I released an album of written material under that name in November of 2012. I started SAINT PEPSI over winter break because all of my real heavy-duty music equipment was at school but I still wanted to produce. I through those tracks online in the comfort of anonymity and after a while, people started to listen.
What’s your (personal) favorite track?
My favorite song to listen to is probably "Skylar Spence" off the new album, but live it's got to be "Better" because I loved the way the crowd lit up once it started! It's definitely my most popular track and I'm honored to have a 'crowd pleaser.' I also did this mashup of Daft Punk's "One More Time" and the Harlem Shake, which I only perform live, and people go wild for it.
How did you come up with the name “SAINT PEPSI”?
SAINT PEPSI just sorta came into my head when I was discussing the name for a 'future project' with my best friend Declan. I must have been drinking a Pepsi at the time or something, but once it came out of my mouth I knew it was the one.
What’s in the future for SAINT PEPSI?
Hopefully some physical pressings are on the horizon! I'm working on a split 7" vinyl with a good friend of mine, and a new EP to hopefully serve as a breakout release. I'm so excited for people to hear what I've got coming, because I don't plan on slowing down.
Any advice for people who want to break into the industry/producing in general?
If you're working on some new music and you think it's weird, and your friends think it's weird, you've probably got something very special on your hands. There's a million people trying to be the next Michael Jackson and I wanted to be Prince. It's all about how serious you want to make music for music's sake, in my opinion. Originality conquers all! In addition, treat your fans like royalty because they're the reason that you get to where you are.