TF Archives

Mark Reeder reflects on Deviant Boss, Rob Deacon

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Rob Deacon was my UK business partner and friend for almost 20 years. Within the music industry, he was as infamous as he was famous for his labels Volume and Deviant.

His first label VOLUME, released a series of now legendary albums throughout the early 1990s, as small, thick booklets with an accompanying CD album. It was through this concept he debuted many unsigned artists, such as Garbage, Pentatonik, Ashtrax or Node. The series was coveted not only for its in-depth artist profiles (many written and photographed by Rob himself) but for the many exclusive remixes of tracks by popular artists like New Order, Moby, Massive Attack, The Orb or Nitzer Ebb, or later with the popular Trance Europe Express series, which ran for five volumes.

When Volume folded, I managed to convince Rob to release Paul Van Dyk for me in the UK and together we designed and launched him onto the British club scene through Rob's new label, Deviant.

"Although PVD held the main focus of the Deviant label, Rob also released works by other artists too, such as Pentatonik, Ashtrax or Mindless Drug Hoover. The pinnacle of Rob's work for PVD, was probably the excellent 3cd remix-compilation "Vorsprung Dyk Technik", which Rob had expanded from the perspective 2CD that I had previously released in Germany, on MFS. Proudly, we were awarded a silver disc for the sales of this triple album.

Unfortunately, Rob ran into difficulties after the release of the album Out There And Back, as the album apparently did exactly that and scores of boxes of the mythical million seller eventually ended up in his flat and cellar. Although PVD later left Deviant, Rob was undaunted and he went on to release a selection of excellent albums by The Orb and Spooky going on to manage DJ Sammy for a while, before deciding to close the label early in 2007.

Fed up with the music industry, Rob moved from his beloved Chelsea to the coast. He was always an enthusiastic and experienced kayak pilot and a big fan of marine life and the sea in general. indeed, his VOLUME CDs design theme was always fish.

About a week before his death, rob told me that he had finally decided to leave the UK and go to Australia to become a scuba diving instructor and he was planning on coming to Berlin for a few days to visit me, before he would leave for Oz. Sadly, he never did.

His parents told me that he apparently went out to open sea in his kayak on Thursday evening two weeks ago and simply never returned. His bashed-up kayak was found on Friday and his body was found in the sea on the Saturday.

I always found Rob a very entertaining and funny person to be with and we had many hilarious and uncanny experiences together. His legacy can be found in his talented writing, photography and music, which is a lasting reminder to one of the music industry's most creative minds. Rob Deacon will be dearly missed.

Mark Reeder, Berlin September 25.