Rhythm Droid is one of the few artists straddling the divide between the Japanese and Western electronic scenes. As a live performer, he has taken to the stage over 50 times with his signature all machine-no laptop live sets. Lasting up to 90 minutes (and occasionally beyond) Rhythm Droid’s shows have the dancefloor sheen of a DJ-set but crackle with the raw energy of live vocals, synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines being manipulated in real-time. These performances, standing alone in a world of laptop DJing and pre-recorded, safe shows and have carried Rhythm Droid from the warehouses and deserts of Southern California all the way cities like Tokyo and Shanghai. He has shared the stage with artists as diverse as Rennie Foster (Subject Detroit, F-Communications), Crystal Fighters (Kitsuné), Raíz (Droid, Truncate), Keenhouse (Binary, Astralwerks), and Dexpistols (BMG, Avex). The Rhythm Droid sound and performance style was shaped primarily by the underground party scene in Tokyo. Playing to wild crowds with diverse musical tastes in an intensely visual and fashion oriented city allowed a unique experimental sound to emerge. Spanning from hard, synth driven electro to sample-based French house, Rhythm Droid keeps it danceable while freely injecting 90s classic hip-house beats, squelching acid, and even anime or Asian pop.
Releases began with a minimal house remix of Rennie Foster’s “The Go Down” (Dirty Works, Japan, 2008), followed with Rhythm Droid’s own “Mute City” EP (Dirty Works, Japan, 2009). The EP garnered attention in Europe and remixes for Housse De Racket “Forty Love” (Schmooze, France, 2010) and Mercedes “Shock Absorber” (Eye Industries, UK, 2010) followed. The year 2010 also saw the remix of Shinichi Osawa’s “Zingaro” on Asia’s biggest electronic label “Avex”, with Soundcloud listens exceeding 28,000.
Growing up in a sunny beach town in Southern California, the young Rhythm Droid, known then as Devon Hughes spent his days noodling with electronics, entertaining fantasies of becoming a techno-pop star in Japan. Early musical turn-ons included the Beatles, Vivaldi, Japanese pop and anime music. Still a teenager, he found himself drawn deep into the 90’s rave scene, becoming exposed to harder styles like Swedish techno and London acid. Experimenting with cheap synths, a sequencer, and reel-to-reel tape recorders, the Droid hit a turning point when he saw footage of Orbital’s live performance at Glastonbury. “I couldn’t believe it. Just to be up there on stage with those headlights, making such powerful music using technology…there was nothing cooler. That image was burned into my mind.”
Determined to take his passion for bringing soul to the soulless machines, Rhythm Droid embarked on a neverending odyssey of live performances-enduring desert sands, crazy ravers, and carry-on baggage limitations. 11 years and countless gigs later, Rhythm Droid is able to massage even the most uptight partygoers into a funky groove with a messy table of drum machines, synthesizers, effect processors and a microphone.
RELEASES: Rhythm Droid – Sunrise On Planet Tokyo (SNLNX005)