Mixing Paine + pleasure
Dj/producer Rob Paine's Rasta grooves by Bree Rolfce
THE SUN COMES up in the morning and goes down at night, and that's all you need to worry about." That may, be DJ/producer/Rastafarian Rob Paine's mantra, but with a record label to run, DJ gigs to play, and club nights to oversee, his worries lately extend far beyond the earth's daily cycles.
When he's not in the studio sorting out broken air conditioners and computer crashes, Paine is busy running the successful house label Worship Recordings with partners Zach Eberz and Dan McGehan. In addition, he has a full DJing schedule, which includes gigs at venues like London's legendary Fabric, as well as a local stop, at the Phoenix Landing on Wednesday, August 7. Paine is currently touring in support of Worship's first CD compilation, which was mixed by Paine and includes tracks produced by him and the rest of the Worship Records crew. The CD includes the label's first 10 releases, and it showcases its unique house?meets reggae sound. The label's ability to meld old and new genres, while still maintaining a forward?thinking sound, has earned it a solid reputation in the house scene. "Reggae has always been the foundation for us," Paine explains. "Even if in the '80s we were going to punk shows, there were always reggae DJs who played in between sets. Everything we did was built on that foundation. When it came to production, we just took elements from reggae. We just kind of brought it to the house music we were making."
Paine's interest in music began at a young age. In his hometown of Philadelphia, he started playing the saxophone in the fourth grade; by the age of 15, he was playing keyboards and saxophone in bands that were actually recording. After high school, he went on to college, where he continued to study jazz and the saxophone.. But in the early '90s, the young musician started attending outlaw parties, where he developed his love for house music. From then on, he divided his time between DJing and playing the saxophone until a 1995 car accident changed his course forever. Forced to give up the saxophone and his education, he began to concentrate completely on producing and DJing. "Now, I can't think of any other way it could have gone," says Paine. "I wasn't able to finish
Paine's production work includes his solo tracks as well as collaborative work with partner Zach Eberz; collectively, the duo is known as Solomonic Sound. The pair plan to release a full length album by the end of the year. Currently, Paine is hard at work building the Worship Records name; he also has five remixes in the works for other labels, including Tango, Fiji, and the UK label Shaboom Recordings. In addition, he plans to continue DJing as much as possible. After his stop in Boston, he heads up to Canada for a mini tour. In addition to the house music projects that Paine and the Worship crew are involved in, they also run a successful reggae sound system and a popular club night in Philadelphia. Paine even still plays in some live acts.
By melding the house and reggae worlds, his work is helping to slowly change the face of house music. Whether working alone or with the other artists on Worship, Paine focuses on creating house music that is more thoughtful than dance music has traditionally been by writing better lyrics and using solid vocalists found through his reggae connections. "When I was first introduced to house in the late '80s, I was working at Blockbuster video, and I had a friend who liked hip?hop who went to parties where they played house," he says. "When he would try to explain house music to me, he would just dance, no words, just dancing. We want to start to put more words and meaning into that feeling that house music gives. Right now, it's been the same words over and over again for years. We want to try and bring in original singers who sing about the more spiritual side. We want to put more goodness into the music. We feel that there needs to be more love."
Right now explaining how he's trying to fix the studio's air conditioners so that the computers don't crash from the excessive summer heat Paine may not seem spiritual. But it's clear from the hypnotic, soulful sounds he consistently creates that while his worries may extend well beyond the rising and setting sun, they never obscure his overall view of a good vibe.