WHO?MAG: Talk about your new project for 2010? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: My new project is a 23 year old Latin R&B Pop singer named Scarlet Santana aka Jasmine Mercedes (Singer, Songwriter, Spoken Word Poet, Rapper). Single should be released June/July 2010.
WHO?MAG: How did you get into music and DJing? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: I got into DJing the year Rappers delight & King Tut the third came out with their first rap singles, it was something I immediately wanted to do. I was a natural, my first mix was seamless, hahahaha….
WHO?MAG: How did you make the transition from DJing to producing music? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: It’s unexplainable I since a young age knew I would be in the entertainment business or fashion industry. It always captivated me since a young boy.
WHO?MAG: Who are some of your influences as a producer? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: All the Greats, All the songwriter greats as well…(Known & Unknown) to many to mention.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with David Cole and form C+C Music Factory? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: I met David DJing at a club called better days, we became friends from that night on, 6months later I asked him to play keyboards on a remix I was working on and continued to work together from then on.
About 5 years more or less working together I had an idea to create a DJ anthem, I went into the studio without David at first and created “Everybody dance now”, I knew it was special, so I called David in to help me finish it by adding a few final touches with some keys. I took the single to Donnie Ienner along with Larry Yasgar and it turned into an album project immediately and history was made. I named the group C&C Music Factory, it was a natural fit.
Dave originally wanted to call it Byron & Manuel but I wasn’t feeling it, so I took rank hahaha since the single was my idea and stood my ground with C&C and involved Donnie Ienner to give his opinion and he said well it’s C&C of course, so The Clivilles & Cole Music Factory was born.
WHO?MAG: How did you guys discover Freedom Williams and Zelma Davis? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Freedom use to work as an intern and then as an assistant in the studio Dave & I worked in the 80’s called Quad Mix Studios in times square, I use to talk to him in the studio during our breaks, got to be friends, I asked him if he rapped and he did a few rhymes.
Originally when I created “Gonna make you sweat”, it was going to be for a group of friends I had, called trilogy, but when I played it for them, they told me it was to poppy for them, I thought they were wrong, but went forward and asked freedom if he was interested, and of course he took the opportunity J. Zelma we met in an interview after Martha declined to be a member in C&C Music Factory.
WHO?MAG: How was it working with Martha Walsh? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Great, quick recording sessions, I just use to get quick takes and then I sampled them and created the songs as I would sing the notes, on C&C all she did was mimic my ideas one at a time and then I arranged them through a sampler and played it the way I would of sang it, she was done in 2 hours and it took me 4 hours to make the song…
WHO?MAG: Why was their so much controversy about having her in the videos? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: There never was any controversy, we had asked her from the beginning to become a member of C&C, but she said she wanted to be taken more seriously as an artist by the music industry and didn’t think C&C was that vehicle, so we started auditions for a female and found Zelma who sang 80% of the C&C album.
Then C&C became massive and she regretted it and with poor consultation from her attorney, went the dramatic route and it put a fog on our hard work vs. just calling us and letting us know that she had changed her mind and we would of brought her in with open hands. So Dave & I always wanted Martha in the Group always.
WHO?MAG: That the record label that made that decision? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: No not true, Martha did not want to be a member of C&C that simple, she didn’t know how massive is was to become, so poor decision really.
WHO?MAG: How did Just a Touch of Love come about and talk about the production process of the song? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: My cousin Ricky and I wrote it..
WHO?MAG: How did producing Emotions for Mariah Carey come about? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: From the success of C&C, Tommy Mottola approached us and asked us to begin her up-tempo career,
WHO?MAG: How was the production process and how was she in the studio? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: She was great, writes her songs off the music created by her producers, likes to bounce off ideas, a pure professional in the studio..
WHO?MAG: How was it working the late great James Brown and how was he in the studio? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: James was great, a hard worker and a great guy.
WHO?MAG: How did you end up producing “Let the Beat hit ‘Em” for Lisa Lisa? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: She was my girlfriend at the time.
WHO?MAG: How was the production process and how was she in the studio? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Lisa was very sweet, hard worker.
WHO?MAG: How did you end up producing A Deeper Love for Aretha Franklin? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Well the original by Debra Cooper that we did will always be my favorite, but when Clive asked for a song for her I knew it was a perfect fit for Aretha. So I played it for Clive and he made it the hit that Columbia didn’t
WHO?MAG: How was she in the studio? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: 2 takes and she was done, that quick.
WHO?MAG: Talk about the production process of the 2nd album Anything Goes? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Freedoms head blew out of control and went on to sell 50 records and I just wanted to have fun again, and I think we made another classic album that the politics stopped it from it being a smash album, so many great singles on the album. Boriqua Anthem, Do you Wanna Get Funky, Take a Toke, so many more…
WHO?MAG: How did Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me come about? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: In my basement having fun DJing & programming
WHO?MAG: Talk about the production process and how did the idea to sample Greg Nice’s voice occur and talk about the video shoot? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: The video Shoot was great!!! We created a club from scratch. Greg nice, I always played it in the club, so I knew it was a crowd pleaser hype man piece and it would work, that was my DJ production side…
WHO?MAG: How did Robi Rob Boriqua Anthem come about? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: This song came out of my pure Puerto Rican Heart, Mi Isla Bonita growing up, that simple..
WHO?MAG: You were ahead of curve with that song. ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: It was natural for me, this one was simple, I always wanted to make my Latin anthem, and I did hahahaha….
WHO?MAG: Being that it was a precursor to Reggaeton. How was the production process behind it and how did you hook up with El General? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: I called him, I was a fan as a DJ and just picked up the phone and said “lets make a classic, I have an idea and he was a very humble person, I had fun with him.
The production process was beautiful, I did the drums, and called in one person at a time, 911 horns first, then Bashiri Johnson, then El general, then the wepa man, then Angel Deleon and expressed to each one at a time what this song was about and made it happen, beautiful when what you create in your brain comes out smoothly and exactly the way you hear it, I created this one as well without David.
WHO?MAG: Talk about the remake of Lovely Day for the Bodyguard soundtrack? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Clive was working with us and asked for a song for the soundtrack, so we called Michele Visage originally from seduction, another group we created and form Soul System around her, pretty simple & quick.
WHO?MAG: How did that come about and the production process behind it. ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Quick as always.
WHO?MAG: How did the Take a Toke remix with Kultcha Don and Patra come about and talk about the crazy video? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Well we went to Paris with my friend, photographer Ken Nahoum and had a Party!!!!! Kulcha has always been a friend, still to this day he’s works with me, he’s on the new Scarlet Santana Club remix. Patra I was a fan as a DJ so I called her up and we made it happen. That was a great time and sad because David was sick by then.
WHO?MAG: I’ve always felt that Anything Goes was more of an intimate album. Was the direction you wanted it to go? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: It was. We did what we wanted. Bounce, Boriqua could have been huge dance pop smashes as Sweat was and there was so much more on that album that made it better than the sweat album, but Donnie Ienner wanted to destroy the group and did not work the singles, by then and David was sick so, well, sad really.
WHO?MAG: Why was the third C+C Music Factory album never released in the States? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Politics, sad, we’re in this business to sell music, but there are people in high places that if they want you to be the tax write off, that’s what you will be..
WHO?MAG: Talk about the Robi Rob Club World project that came out in 1996 and how did you hook up with Ya Kid K of Technotronic? How was she in the studio? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: David had passed and I was in a cloudy space, but I had fun with Ya Kid K, I think we made 2 great records for radio on that album, but Tommy Mottola & Donnie Ienner killed it at radio, go figure, I made Son and them 125 million dollars in 91, but because of a few misunderstandings, I got black listed.
WHO?MAG: What happened to the days of creative freedom? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: And selling the product? Hahahahaha…..
WHO?MAG: What are your thought on the whole dance music/house music culture now in 2010? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: I think people need to write good songs and pay a bit more attention to their productions, DJs need to be more in control of what they play and break more songs not just beats all night, I’m liking some things I hear, but Dance music has to go back to the high level of production.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about Reggaeton music which you helped spawn? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: You know I never thought of it that way, but I did, didn’t I, bring here to America, huh, wow, back in 94. In PR, they’re doing some real cool things with Reggaeton right now. It’s grown.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Stagga Lee and talk about your MVP group you have with him? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: I met Stagga through a friend at the time, he came in and I didn’t like any of his demos, but I liked him & his voice, so I offered him an opportunity, I had an idea for a song incorporating the lalala hook from the Rippleton classic and we made it happen.
Again the label dropped the ball, so I got frustrated and said it’s time for me to create a DJ anthem again and “Roc ya Body” came into my brain, hahahaha
I put the group together and through a loophole in Stagga’s contract he was able to be part of a group of my choice.. The record took off No.1 on KTU with Vic Latinos big help and then No.1 on Z100, it was taking off like a rocket independently, but bad decision to give it to Casablanca, what I thought was going to be another Success story became a nightmare!!!
Monte Lippman at Universal commanded the record to be dismantled at radio by the promo team and using the excuse of that it was a NY record, But being in the business 25 years all my friends at radio unofficially told me what he was doing, he even had the video which was added to MTV and doing great pulled, talk about using political power, all this and the record No.1 twice in a row in Americas biggest radio station Z100.. That’s life…
WHO?MAG: Equipment-wise what did you use for production of the 1st album and what did you use on the 2nd album? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Same 50% analog 50% digital
WHO?MAG: Did you ever have any sample clearance issues? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: No, we did things by the book, but when you have radio smashes people make up issues, hahahahaha!
WHO?MAG: Any last words? ROBERT CLIVILLÉS: Yeah I hope I can finally not be involved in any politics and just find a label that will work my record simply because it’s a smash, nothing else. I am in an Elite group, I have been making hit records straight one after the other since I have started making music 25 years ago and still not burning out in anyway, possibly the only Puerto Rican doing it at this level. Please Record Heads let me just have my fun and let me write my history, stop, stopping me from what I have been working so hard at and let my records live, hahahaha!