On Saturday, July 10th, the electronic music world lost one of it’s legends.
Rob Fernandez was the Musical director, Talent Buyer, Resident Friend, and many other things, for Pacha New York City and RPM. Rob has won many awards in his 20+ year career for his efforts in the business. Everyone around the globe knew Rob, and respected him. His signature smile and 6’4 figure made him unmistakably stand out from the crowd.
Rob was a genius. He knew exactly when to book DJs, how many tickets they would sell, and probably what they would want for dinner that night. He knew how to brand parties like nobody’s business. He knew which stupid little gifts he could buy for a DJ to make them smile. He knew EVERYTHING. You could literally mention any friday or saturday date from the past, and Rob could tell you who was playing, the financial numbers, and which of his 1,000 hats he was wearing. His memory was impeccable.
Rob’s home away from home, Pacha New York, has shown unbelievable support this past week. Pacha has dubbed itself “House Of Rob,” and hung a huge flag up in place of the regular one in front of the building. Pacha will also be having a huge memorial service on Weds. September 16th with some very special guests, with proceeds going to Rob’s family.
The most important thing in Rob’s life, was his 3 year-old son Rian. Rian’s education was his highest priority. Rob’s family has set up a gofundme page in order to make sure Rian’s education and upbringing is well taken care of. If you would like to make a donation, please click this link:
The outpouring of love for Rob Fernandez has been absolutely overwhelming so far. So many friends, old and new, have stopped by Pacha to pay their respects. Hundreds of posts have been made on social media as well. For the last week, there were no “World’s top DJ’s,” Co-workers, Bloggers, or Fans. We have all just been Rob’s friends.
Here are a few things from our EDMNYC staff:
Adam Levine – Editor for EDMNYC / Co-Worker / DJ
“What can I say about Rob Fernandez…
I met Rob about 5 or 6 years ago. Boris was playing an Asseteria party, and I believe it was Jonpaul Pezzo’s birthday. I had to do something that night, so I wanted to stop by for about half an hour. The cover was $60 or $80 when I got there. I told the door guy that I just wanted to go in to wish Jonpaul a happy birthday, and then leave. They told me I had to “ask Rob. The guy with the hat.” He pointed to a tall, skinny guy with a hat on, who was talking to three other people while texting someone else. I walked over to him, and said “excuse me, are you Rob?” He said “yeah, what’s up?” I told him my plan, and he said “everyone wants to go say happy birthday and leave.” Then I said “Wait, are you Rob Fernandez?” He said “Yeah.” I was a little intimidated knowing who he was. I told him I’ve heard a lot about him, and it was an honor to meet him. He immediately yelled the door guy’s name, and said “let him in.” Then he looked down at his phone while I thanked him and walked inside.
After that, every time I saw him at Pacha a.k.a. “The House That Rob Built,” I would say “hi, Rob!” and every time I thought “this guy has no fucking clue who I am.” After about 40-50 of those, I was at Pacha one night with my girlfriend at the time, and I introduced them. Rob looked at her and said “You’re with ADAM?!? Good luck!” And chuckled. I wasn’t mad. I was happy. Rob knew my name! I know that might sound cheesy as fuck, but it was cool to me. Rob wore the “I want to be a famous DJ” shirt a lot, and to me, he was one.
From that point on, we always said hi to each other at all of the shows. The biggest problem for me, was not knowing if he was gonna give me a handshake or a pound. That dilemma lasted our whole friendship. It was like guessing red or black in roulette.
Eventually I slowly started to work my way down to the booth at Pacha, or backstage at shows. Rob would see me and just smile. He had a special way of reading people, and in me, I guess he saw how happy this music makes me. He used to poke fun at me for being at Roseland an hour before the doors opened. I was there so early because I could just walk in the back door, and hang out til the show started. Rob knew what I was doing, but again saw how much I enjoyed this stuff, and let it slide with that bright smile that we all know and love so much.
Eventually Rob would bump into me at a ton of shows outside of Pacha/RPM. Places like Coachella, EDC Puerto Rico, and other places. I was usually hanging out backstage, and every time he gave me a look and threw his arms up like “of course he’s here,” with a chuckle, but in a good way. It made me feel good to be accepted like that. I would picture in my mind Eddie asking Rob “Who is this kid? He’s everywhere,” and Rob just saying “oh, he’s ok.”
Last year, Rob hired me to work for RPM. It was incredible for me, because I knew Pacha/RPM as my home away from home. Working for/with Rob was no easy task. First of all, the guy has seen literally everything in this business, made every deal, and hired every DJ. He was doing this for longer than the average Hardwell fan has been alive. Rob was set in his ways. He still liked having people hand out flyers on the street, decorating the club for different themes, and other “old-school” promoter tactics. He loved to debate things, just for debate’s sake. He loved (at least it felt like it) to not answer e-mails or texts until the last second it was pertinent. He loved his salads, He loved to smile, and he loved to love. Some of my favorite moments were before some of the meetings, when Rob would be FaceTiming with his son Rian, speaking in a high-pitched voice, and waving at him the entire time. Rob took me to Dirty South’s short film screening, and in the car on the way there, he insisted on stopping at Halloween Adventure to get him a fake Oscar statue. Whenever he would introduce me to anyone, I would say “hi, I’m Adam,” and Rob would immediately say “Yea, Adam…(insert insult here).” It was what friends do to each other, and I’m extremely proud to say that Rob IS my friend, and always will be.
Rob Fernandez is a hero in this business, and to everyone in it. He approved my first big DJ show, when Boris (Not the DJ) hired me to open for Andrew Rayel at Cielo for Trance. Here. Now. I can’t even imagine how many other DJs owe Rob their career. The number must be staggering. He also had a very special relationship with every DJ out there from the terrible to the top. He always made sure everyone was happy. Rob has always been in my corner, and everyone I know can say the same thing. We have lost a true legend in so many ways, a hero to some, and a friend to most. Rob Fernandez is an icon, and you can tell by the incredible outpouring of love the last few days.
As I finish writing this with tears in my eyes, I pray that everyone can think of Rob’s big, infectious, signature smile, and smile through this horrible pain we are all feeling right now.
To Rob: I know that you pretty much never slept. I know that from the round the clock texts and emails I got from you almost every day asking me how I think certain lineups would do, constantly telling me to find more promoters and book parties, getting me excited when my favorite DJs are available, etc… Well, now you can sleep, my friend. I’m gonna miss you, Bro.”
David Guzman – Owner and Founder of EDMNYC / Photographer
“In the early days of EDMNYC, and when I started taking my first steps in the nightlife scene in NYC, I had very little contacts and very little experience. When I attempted to cover my first event ever as a newly founded company I had no idea who to ask and what to do. All I knew was that I should get to know this man who always walked in with all the Dj’s, who had the biggest smile i’d ever seen in the business. I approached Rob at Pacha back in 2009 during a Loco Dice/Victor Calderone night. I felt like a little kid spilling my ideas and plans for edmnyc when it was just a one person show. He listened patiently, staring and nodding, and telling me that it all sounded great if I stuck with it and worked hard. I will never forget all that he told me that night and that I should email him and he would help me get access to cover events there.
I started shooting photos at Pacha and Cielo for all Dance. Here. Now. events, and I remember how I always saw Rob, sometimes all night, sometimes very briefly as he walked in the talent, hung out for a bit, left and then came back to walk out the talent. I always made sure I said hello and told him how things were progressing with the blog. He was one of the people who opened the doors to me and allowed my brand to grow and connect me with all the right people within Pacha and Cielo.
Of all the photos I ever took of Rob, this is probably one of the best at an event. It seemed to be one of the best moments of his life. It showed how no matter what event he put together or what DJ he brought next, this moment meant absolutely more to him than anything he’d ever done. Rob always stayed humble no matter how much success, power or fame he had. He built an empire from the ground up. He’s an example to many in this scene including myself. He started from the very bottom all the way to the very top, but he did it the right way, and enjoyed every minute of it because every time I ever saw him out there… he always had that big big smile on his face. I will never forget how every single time I saw him lately, he always used to ask about Glenn, and always had some great piece of advice for me in how to find that balance between family and work.
NYC is mourning over a true legend that never once lost his cool, had anything bad to say or disrespected anyone that didn’t deserve it. He was a mentor to many and an example to others following his footsteps. He was truly a man of the many hats, but not only because he had a hat for every outfit, but because he had to put on the hat of many roles to get to the top. The best thing to see was that the person underneath all of those hats, always remained the same and didn’t need to become anyone else to do it.
He touched many lives around him, sometimes without even knowing. I will always be grateful for everything and all the opportunities that he gave me. If I just had a few words to say to him right now I would say thank you and farewell, may you rest in peace and may God always be with your family.”
Cristiana Votta – Writer for EDMNYC
“It’s been a week and I’m still at a loss for words. I can’t really wrap my mind around how I’m feeling or what losing you means to the world. You were the guy who impacted everyone you crossed paths with. You gave endless amounts of people the chances no one else would. You helped connect so many people with the music they love. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have had this many experiences under my belt, friends in my heart, or memories in my mind.
I’ll miss your contageous smile, your heart of gold, and the passion you brought to your job. We may not have been the closest, but you always took care of me and were one of the first people to really help me wrap my mind around everything going on in this messed up scene.
I know you’re gone physically, but your legacy will live on. You came from the bottom, from nothing, and with a determined attitude, you built an empire in NYC and beyond. I’m still convinced they took you from us so soon, because there was a badass party up in the sky that only you could plan well.
I’ll never forget the night I sat with you and Boris in the BKWRHS and talked about my silly love for trance, or the night I made you follow me on Twitter and I told you I wanted to babysit Rian. To be completely honest, you made me feel special. I felt like the fact that THE Rob Fernandez knew my name meant I was doing something right. Who will I be able to annoy at Pacha on Saturday evenings — “Oh, it’s you again,” and you’d shake your head and walk away. You were always just a message away — whether it was 8 PM, 1 AM, or 5 AM you came to the rescue with a guest list spot or a wrist band, or just a gleaming smile. I’ll miss that… things will never be the same.
This whole thing is stinging a lot more than I ever thought that it could, but from now on I’ll dance a little harder and smile a little bigger, because I know that’s what you’d have wanted. We’re so proud of you and everything you brought to NYC, and you will NEVER ever be forgotten. NYC nightlife is forever the house that Rob built. I know i’ll see you again some day. I know your heart, mind, and soul are at rest now, and that makes this all a little bit more bearable. We love you Rob. You’ll always be on my mind, and you’ll be the fuel to power my future. Rest in the sweetest peace, handsome.
Andrew Niebling – Writer for EDMNYC / DJ
“I remember when I first met Rob back in beginning of 2013 when I interned for RPM & Pacha. From working at all of the events including WMC and EDC, he always had a smile on his face and brightened everyone’s day. It was an honor working with this NYC legend.”
Rob Fernandez is survived by his son Rian, mother Sharon, sisters Kim and Laurie, Rian’s mother Viviana, and the tens of thousands of people who’s hearts have been touched by him.
-Adam Levine for EDMNYC