Virgin, No More! On The Playa With Sacha Robotti


It's been over two months since our journey back to Black Rock City, and boy, oh boy, do we miss those dusty days. Every year, we bring on artists to play our parties that we feel will find a home at Pile Palace. These are people we want to groove with, to complement our little oasis on the Playa, and fit the vibe we're going for. One of those people in 2016 was Belgium's Sacha Robotti. For a first-year Burner, Sacha rocked the place like he'd been doing it for years. His energetic sound resonated with our Tuesday party as we guzzled down Whiskey Dick and Porkchata by the tenfold and the day turned to night. We raged. He raged. And now, you can thank the Playa gods we've got the recordings to relive some of your favorite moments on the dance floor. To usher in our first release from Burning Man 2016, Sacha's set from Tuesday at Pile Palace, we sat down with the man himself to talk about popping his Playa cherry, and, well, the rest is history.  

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- P.P.


Burning Man virgin, no more! So, let’s get down to it--did the Playa provide? 

Oh yes it did! On countless occasions. For instance, we were craving ramen, and a noodle place literally popped out of the dust haha.


Yes! Aside from that, what were your favorite moments from the entire experience?

I went there early for the build of the camp I stayed at, Camp Charlie, who took me under their wing for my first Burn. Seeing the Playa grow and all the structures being constructed physically from scratch was an amazing experience! I have an education as an architect, so I appreciated this aspect a lot. I also loved exploring, especially at night, with my friends and my love. There were so many sights and sounds on this raw piece of land, and the desert showed its nature in full effect – cold by night, hot by day, dusty as hell... it was magical. We cycled around everywhere, climbed on some strange art cars, witnessed beautiful sunrises and sunsets, listened to a lot of music… it was a spiritual journey of sorts. The whole experience definitely had an impact on me. I love how everyone participated and how weird things got. This made the place so special.


You played a number of sets on the Playa, including your Tuesday night smasher at Pile Palace What was that like? How was it rolling up to Pile Palace for the first time? 

I had so much fun playing at the Pile! It was unreal! Even though all the sets that I played were particular and different, the best set I played was probably at Pile Palace in terms of the feedback from the people who came to smile and dance. I liked the intimacy of the party and the many pillows you could chill on. The system sounded really good, too. And the people were lovely.


Any favorite moments while you were playing? Any tracks that you were crawling out of your skin to drop on that dance floor?

I love the fact that my good friends' mum came 'round to party with us at the Pile Palace. She got drunk on Whiskey for the first time. Many of my Cali friends who I met this year were there too, spreading good vibes and partying hard. It was great!

In terms of track selection, I played some jams that I hadn't heard or played for years – like Holden's remix of Nathan Fake “The Sky was Pink”, Samim “Heater”, my edit of Caribou “Can't Do Without You”, Justin's remix of Radiohead “Nude”, and I mixed those tracks with newer jams that I like dancing to. I wanted my set to be positive and uplifting without any pressure to play any particular “hip” elitist electronic dance music style. Tuesday night at Pile Palace wasn't the time and place for that sound, I feel.



How did our little dusty palace compare to some of the other Burning Man camps?

Every camp at the Burn has a particular vibe of its own. For me, Pile Palace had this kind of Arabic nomad appearance that you would see in the Sahara, providing shelter and intimacy rather than being extroverted.


Did you get a chance to try any of our famed cocktails: Porkchata, Phil’s Fruit Basket, or Whiskey Dick? 

 I definitely had a lot of Whiskey haha.


In your words, what does it mean to be a Pile? 

It's a vibe that I recognize from DJing and partying in Berlin where I lived for the last 16 years, in particular the old Bar 25 / Kater, Sisyphos, Fusion Festival, and illegal outdoor parties in summer. The Pile wasn't a “new” experience for me. It felt rather like I had found something miles away from how I grew up as a DJ in Berlin. So I guess, to be at the Pile Palace meant to me finding “a home away from home”!?

Has the whole experience affected your life?  

The two main things that I took with me from Burning Man to the default world: I stopped smoking cigarettes and I went on the first crazy adventure with my lover that bound us together!


Yes! Final thoughts about returning to Pile Palace?
Yes, please. I'd like to come back next year!