What the hell is Robbie’s Modern Life?

May 1st 2017

For a few months, we’ve been broadcasting a new show called Robbie’s Modern Life. It’s on air every Monday at midday, around which time we see a dramatic increase in confused queries, mild complaints and furious fan messages from listeners. What’s going on with this Robbie guy and his so called “modern” “life”?

Our program assistant Maia Bilyk sat Robbie Armfield down and tried to set the record straight.


Robbie, tell us how you started at FBi.

I was doing a show last year called Tom Montydoodoo and the Crocodile Crew with my friends Tom and Jordan. We did that for a year until Tom moved to Melbourne to do philosophy at uni and Jordan moved to Lithgow to focus on stand-up and making other things. So I was left with a spot and ran with it from there. The pitch was sort of what we were doing, but more catered to millennials. Mitchell and I went to uni together and Bernie was just around.

I actually applied a while back to go through the presenter training program at FBi. I came to the group audition/interview and just got turned away. But they said if you want to be involved in any other capacity to just email, so I emailed back. I didn’t send any related material, I just said: “Hey Caro, I remember something mentioned about becoming a producer. Could I?” It was so badly worded and a one sentence email. Obviously, they didn’t reply – which is fair enough. So that was my initial experience with FBi, coming in and being rejected. Then I started making the Friendlyjordies podcast and just took over that slot.


So what’s Robbie’s Modern Life about?

Some concerned citizens discussing the modern quandaries and trying to come to some consensus about how best to deal with what is, in all seriousness, a troubled world. The way in which we deal with that is through discussion, games, and we play the best music. But basically, the aim of the show is a guise to get as much money as possible and become as famous as possible. The way in which we do that is by exploiting all the issues that we can… it’s like bandwagon jumping. Everyday I’m just feverishly looking at pedestrian.tv, Junkee, etc. And I just think it’s important that people recognise these publications so that we can get as much money as possible, to get as famous as possible.

Smirnoff drinkers are our target drinkers. We’re open to others, like baby boomers. It’s one for all and all for one really. But mainly millennials, because they’re the future. Look at the Vietnamese War and all these sorts of movements in America, it’s all about the youth. The youth have the ideas. The youth have the power. The youth have the direction and rigour that’s required in a troubled world. Power to the people. Power to the young people. When push comes to shove, that’s what my show’s about. It’s about power to the young people through relatability.


How do you make your show relatable?

Social media is where it’s at – I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. You just wanna post, post, post at the right time, with the right hashtags and the right topics need to be addressed. At the end of the day, Maia, it needs to be relatable.


Sorry, I’m not laughing at you!

No, it’s fine [sigh]. Sometimes radical ideas seem silly. It’s just how we’ve decided to push our agenda. Be it comedic or not, that’s for the audience to decide. There’s a very serious message at the end of the day. We have a healthy respect for the past, but it’s all about now. We’re all about the bandwagon and what’s new and what’s fresh. Just an insatiable thirst for new stuff, like ADD.


You don’t have a Facebook page or Twitter account for RML, though.

No I don’t. I think it’s important to be as relatable as possible and not everybody has a Facebook page, that’s the core of it. But everyone has a personal one. I mean it’s grassroots at the end of the day. So to answer your question it is just my personal page that I target my audience with, but I do have some pages that I’m associated with. I’m the spokesperson and face of Keep Sydney Closed. He’s a man whose ideals I strongly identify with.


And your music page, Robbie Raisin?

Yes. Tash Sultana is a big influence. I just think of my influences, you know? pedestrian.tv, Junkee, Tash Sultana, The XX. There’s an emotional resonance with all of these outlets.

I have a page called Make A Man Blush which I was posting meme images on for a while, then I did a podcast for that where I’d glean information from online individuals. It was hugely satisfying and enjoyable. It had a hugely viral meme which was shared by unilad and 9gag…


That’s how you know you’ve made it.

I did. That’s major bucket list stuff. But you know, people can look at it if they want.


Do you think you have a story worth communicating? For example, being linked to Keep Sydney Closed?

Oh absolutely I think I do. My agenda isn’t commonly heard. Some of the issues I like to report because I like them to be heard. I feel like I have a worthwhile voice, a very important voice. The most important voice in Sydney in 30 years.


Who was it 30 years ago?

Dame Edna.


 So what are the issues?

Keep Sydney Closed, the refugee crisis. I have the main ideas to solve it but no one seems to listen. I’ve already broadcast my plan and all I seem to be getting is flack. I get complaint after complaint, just because I’m a dreamer. I’m sorry if I’m forward-thinking, but that’s why I think it’s worthwhile hearing.


And how would you solve the refugee crisis?!

Basically the plan is to make a big ship called the SS Refugee. FOR refugees BY refugees. It’s a sort of start up business I’ve created with a friend, David Musk – he’s Elon Musk’s cousin and he lives in Silicon Valley. You should interview him next, we both work together on this project. So we make a boat, take all the Refugees to Athens to rebuild the Olympics there (which is going to be huge money spent, huge government kickbacks on that). Then create a movie franchise to generate crucible finance on the back of basically exploiting them.

This is what some people have an issue with. Yes we’re going to exploit the refugees, but it’s down the line. Upfront: they’re on the boat, they get to see the celebrities and bands and stuff. They get heaps of money and then they have a good job with hard manual labour but also get to be stars in films for no money. It’s swings and roundabouts a bit but I feel that’s what life is about. It’s Russian roulette, this life. So yes, I do have a good enough voice, but more importantly I think David Musk does and so I give him more airtime.


Do you enjoy making people laugh or do you just like bringing up ridiculous things?

I enjoy being understood, Maia. That’s my M.O. It’s all I desire, to be understood. It’s akin to my ethos of totalitarian relatability. What was Saddam Hussein? That’s how I’d describe it, dictatorial relatability. Was it Plato or Socrates, he goes… oh no it was Nietzsche, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And also Kanye West, “harder, better, faster, stronger.”

We’re all about one love, opening your universal consciousness and opinions, you know? Essentially our whole philosophy can be aptly summed up by Sam Harris’ ponderings on goodness – reduce suffering as best you can. And that’s basically all we try to do, reduce suffering. Improve community people with community radio. I don’t know, we’re just funny guys.


Do you have any last words?

If you go to gigs, go by yourself. Be stand-offish. Be aloof. Listen to all your music in FLAC. Be antisocial. And could you refer to me as Australia’s Ellen DeGeneres?



Hear more on Robbie’s Modern Life – live on Mondays at midday, or via the podcast.



Read more from Maia Bilyk