This year’s Desert Hearts festival is set to be the most memorable edition to date. Returning to its home on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation in California, the event has quickly become a one-of-a-kind display of music, art, and community alongside a nonstop programming of today’s most coveted underground acts. The festival has become an oasis for people of all walks of life, and its slogan – House. Techno. Love. – is a resounding mantra across the grounds. In addition to the staple Desert Hearts crew made up of Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop, this year’s lineup also features a collection of legendary and up-and-coming talent like Christian Martian, Sacha Robotti, Detlef, and more. Leading into the final days before the festival, we’ve linked up with some of our top artist picks that should not be missed at Desert Hearts this March.
If there’s anyone who knows how to throw the dance floor into complete mayhem, it’s Los Angeles-based DJ Rybo. The young, up-and-coming house prodigy has been a staple member of the Desert Hearts family for the past three years, taking part in not only the festival itself, but also a number of one-off parties, showcases, and City Hearts tour stops.
With every performance, his reputation proceeds him as he’s able to bring forth a legendary amount of energy and infectious spirit behind the decks that are primed for late-night debauchery. Just this year alone, he’s traveled and performed at Ocaso Music and Art Festival in Costa Rica, BPM Festival, and most recently during the Gari Safari party during Miami Music Week. The artist has also collaborated on a number of tracks with underground house talents Kevin Anderson and Matt Ossentjuk. With more performances and music in sight, expect to see Rybo elevating himself to new heights in the months to come.
Read our interview with Rybo below, and catch him at this year’s edition of Desert Hearts for what’s sure to be an unforgettable performance on Sunday, April 2nd at 8PM.
What was the music culture like where you grew up?
I was raised in a small town called Fallbrook in North County San Diego. You had the punk rock/skater, reggae/stoner and hip hop/everything else culture, I was a victim to them all growing up. Fallbrook didn’t have any sort of live venue or club so my friends and I would have to get one of our parents to drive us to downtown SD to go see any kind of show. The electronic scene was basically non existent while living there and most likely still is but my best bud Kevin Anderson and I would hang out in his room all night burning CDs and learning how to mix by trial and error on his CDJ 400s. So I guess it’s safe to say it wasn’t thriving.
What was your first label release? Would you still play it in a show?
My very first release was on a good friend of mines label called Lips & Rhythm, which is a San Fransisco based vinyl only label. It’s a B side remix I did for my buddy ché la vi along side a killer remix from my good friends Bells and Whistles. I honestly don’t play it out much anymore but if I ever end up playing an all vinyl set you better believe it will be in my arsenal!
Who were some of your biggest musical inspirations?
One of my musical inspirations earlier on was 9th Wonder. After listening to his sample based instrumentals I instantly wanted to learn how to make beats. I got a copy of logic and started messing around sampling old records and making hip hop tracks for my homies to rap over, I still have some of the recordings and sometimes will listen to them if I need a quick laugh. Another huge musical inspiration of mine would have to be Jamie Jones. I’ve always looked up to him as a DJ & producer, his taste in music has always been on point and the curation of his labels are bar none. Right now I’m super lucky to have the opportunity to work with him on a somewhat daily basis. I’ve been trying to absorb as much information as possible while being a fly on the wall in the studio.
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
I think one of my biggest musical breakthrough has to be Desert Hearts Spring 2015. I was supposed to play at noon on Saturday at the festival, but due to a scheduling conflict with Halo, they made the decision to hand over his 10pm Sunday night slot to me. I’m not going to lie I was pretty nervous being at the time pretty untested playing for such a massive crowd, but they put their faith in me and rolled the dice for what would go down as one of my favorite most memorable DJ sets yet!
What are you looking forward to most about Desert Hearts?
Well this is the first time Desert Hearts is only one time a year, so first off I’d have to say I’m looking forward to seeing all my wild friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’m used to. Next of course would be the music! This year’s line up has to be one of my all time favorite, it’s basically Tech House heaven, it’s going to be hard to find time to sleep!
If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
I’m going to have to go with Jim Morrison. I’ve always been a huge fan of The Doors, growing up listening to them with my Dad. First off their music and especially Jim’s lyrics were far ahead of their time. There’s a video of him talking about the future of music and he basically predicted the rise of dance music. Second has to be the crazy life style Jim lived, I think I could obtain more stories being him for a day than I could in my life time!
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2017, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out?
That’s a tough one but I think I’d have to throw it back and put “Mylo – Drop the Pressure” in that bad boy. This record to me is timeless and brings back a lot of great memories from when I was starting out DJing.