Rob Paine is a producer, DJ from Philadelphia, where he established the renowned Worship Recordings alongside Dan McGehan in the summer of 1998. The label quickly garnered reputation as a big purveyor of the ‘dub house’ genre, and also housed releases form the likes of Chris Udoh, Solomonic Sound, Jay Tripwire, Pete Moss, Grant Dell and Hakan Libdo.
Following their monumental 50th release, Worship are now dropping their second ‘Philadelphia Compilation’ showcasing the very best local talent, which Rob also features on. ‘Philadelphia Compilation no.2’ is available to purchase on Traxsourse now.
1. Hi, great to speak with you Rob, how are you?
Absolutely wonderful. I just got back from a little snowboarding excursion with a bunch of DJ friends in Colorado. Snowboarding has always given me musical inspiration so I am looking forward to getting back in the studio over the next few weeks.
2. We heard from an interview you had with UnsungPhilly.com that you were a saxophonist growing up. What music were you listening to in your family home that shaped your tastes?
My parents liked music but they were not enthusiasts like myself and my brother Dave. As very young children, it was whatever was on the radio. It wasn’t until I really started getting into skateboarding around 7-8 years old that I ventured outside of the radio. Punk, Hardcore, Hip Hop (the birth of it), Reggae, Disco, Jazz genres were all in play from 8-17 years of age. Then more electronic music, especially from England & Germany, started making its way across the pond into my life.
“We knew that the music we were making wasn’t for any other label operating at that time and that we had to deliver it ourselves.”
3. What made you decide to establish Worship Records with Zach Eberz and Dan Thompson in 1998, and was the reggae infused style of house always part of the foundational vision?
Just like all good things that happen to you in life. A major door closes and then another even bigger and better one opens. Dan being one of my best friends and having money to invest in something he loved too while Zack (another brother from another) and I were on the same vibrations musically 90% of the time. We knew that the music we were making wasn’t for any other label operating at that time and that we had to deliver it ourselves.
4. Hailing from Philadelphia you grew up involved in at least two of it’s main subcultures, music (including DJing) and skating. Do you have any idea what made Philly such a landmark for strong youth culture?
For Skateboarding it was Love Park. A mecca for skateboarders from all over the world in the 80’s-90’s. I would skip school at least once a month to ride the train down just to skate Love in the late 80’s. Then I ended moving about 10 blocks away from it. For music I really don’t know. But I do know there is something about the vibration of the longitude and latitude of every city that makes the sound unique in every genre of music expressed. I have always resonated with the sounds of Philadelphia. And I couldn’t be prouder to say that.
“The project is pretty simply. To give a sample to the world of what Philadelphia has to offer in electronic music.”
5. Worship have just released their second ‘Philadelphia Compilation’. Can you tell us a bit more about the project and your creative approach behind compiling the tracks?
The project is pretty simply. To give a sample to the world of what Philadelphia has to offer in electronic music. Each artist did keep the Worship sound in mind when submitting their songs.
6. What are your essential bits of studio kit, and how has your gear changed over the years?
I never sell musical gear anymore. I sold off some synths in the mid 90’s that I will forever regret. So pretty much I just keep adding things on. Outboard gear and in the box. I slowly acquire gear though. I like to really learn a machine inside and out before moving onto the next piece. The key word here is ‘try’.
I really want to get back into live performing again this year. I am still looking for the right platform for me. I do not want to be up there just twisting knobs. I am taking all suggestions.
7. As a DJ from the the early 90s, what are your thoughts on DJ culture in the current day in comparison to then?
Of course the first part of the 90’s was extremely special for me. Just like the people who are getting into it and really absorbing it now though. Its not really about what years were the best. Its about where you are mentally at that point in your life when you experience it. But yeah the 90’s were the best:)
“Worship has always promoted homegrown talent. The first 4 releases were all in house. Meaning either myself, Zack & I as Solomonic Sound or Chris Udoh and I.”
8. You have held the reigns of Worship Records since 1998. Has the label always promoted homegrown local talent, like the artists in your compilation series?
Worship has always promoted homegrown talent. The first 4 releases were all in house. Meaning either myself, Zack & I as Solomonic Sound or Chris Udoh and I. The first artist not from Philly was Dj Garth from the Wicked Crew SF/Greyhound Recordings. After that we started putting out other artist but we usually included a remix on each release from myself, Solomonic Sound, Pete Moss or Hollis P Monroe to give it that Philly taste.
9. Could you tell us about some of your personal career highlights?
One of my favorites is performing before Sasha & Digweed in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. I just got done playing my newest release on promo when both Sasha & Digweed came up and asked me what it was. I proceeded to hand them each a copy that already had their names on it. They were more stoked than I was. Which in turn made me even more stoked. A totally stoked affair all around.
“I do have to admit we have 4 more fully completed releases all lined up for 2019.”
10. What can we expect from Worship Recordings in the near future?
We are not a label to have a ton of releases out each year. We are on the quarterly schedule. I never want to put out releases just to stay in schedule. But I do have to admit we have 4 more fully completed releases all lined up for 2019. Looks like we are overachieving this year:)
11. Is there anything else you like to tell us?
Good night and thank you for thinking of me to do this. Forward never ever backward…
Worship Recordings’ ‘Philadelphia Compilation, Vol 2’ is out now.