February 25, 2010 by DJ Elroy
Naples born but London based production and DJ powerhouse Riva Starr has covered breaks, techno and house territory with even a stint making hip hop beats for Italian MTV in his time before landing on his current and most successful incarnation. Creating breaks as Madox and techno as Trouble Soup!! his evolution and dedication is an inspiration to every hard working DJ and producer looking for the right sound. With universal support from all the big house guns and a recent BBC Essential Mix under his belt it’s time to unleash an artist album and take over the world!
Trackitdown caught up with a very excited Riva Starr as his awesome artist album entitled ‘If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade’ drops on Trackitdown.net. Don’t forget to check it out straight away…
TID: You name London’s after-party scene as an important laboratory for creating your sound and style. How important was road-testing your Riva Starr project in this underground environment and how does London’s party scene shape up now you’re travelling the world over?
RS: I’m mainly a DJ, then a club music producer, so it makes sense to use dancefloors as laboratory for my productions. If it works there then I’m a happy man!
RS: London still plays an important role for my music and DJ evolution, I’m doing less parties now but still very cool with a few planned already for Fabric and Matter later this year.
TID: Before Riva Starr you had a successful career producing other dance projects. How does the spotlight currently on Riva Starr compare and has your experience in previous incarnations helped you manage this rise to fame?
RS: Past projects certainly helped me to build the Riva Starr one. I made a lot of mistakes, wrong choices etc but that’s always going to go on innit!?
Would I change any of the things right or wrong that I’ve done in the past? All the things I’ve gone through have been done with passion and integrity, always trying to follow my taste.
TID: Your first Riva Starr tracks were sent anonymously to Claude Von Stroke at Dirtybird via Myspace. How important was it for the music to do the talking?
RS: It was very exciting to get such a big response from what I think is one of the most forward thinking producers/DJ/record label bosses around (along Jesse Rose). It really gave me a lot more energy to go on spreading my sound and my approach to house music.
TID: Tracks like ‘I Was Drunk’ have married dancefloor appeal with huge infectious hooks. What comes first in your studio session – the groove or the hook?
RS: Dunno, I never think about the hook. It’s more about a good idea for the track and if something catches my attention or stimulates my fantasy then it goes into my sequencer! The groove is really important obviously as we’re talking about dance music here!
TID: On your Facebook fan page you call your music genre ‘Comedy-house’ which we love! Can music be too serious or is there a time and a place for some chin-stroking!?
RS: Music can be really serious (and I like to listen to some serious music), but serious music is for serious artists. I’m just a d@%khead, and there’s room for someone that can mess the things up a bit in my humble opinion!
TID: We loved your recent BBC Essential Mix. How long did it take you to put together and was it a live performance?
RS: It has been done through Ableton Live. I could easily do the recording in one and make a live performance but the feeling I wanted to give on the Essential Mix was a bit different – meltin tunes, acappellas, old dubz with nu ones, bootlegs and trying to keep the attention on high levels over the 2 hours. People who listen to the Essential Mix are not in the club, most likely in their room or in a car so the approach is different.
I think that it’s not a mortal sin to use Ableton Live for a mix set, but if you do that you just have to give some extra spice to the mix – otherwise it’s way better to mix live at the club and record it.
TID: Your electronic music career has evolved quite quickly over the last few years with periods immersed in the breaks and techno scenes. Where do you see Riva Starr in 5 years time?
RS: Washing windscreens at the traffic lights stops!?
TID: Are you a Mac or PC man – can you tell budding Trackitdown.net producers what you’re running in the studio?
I’m an analogue freak and got a:
Telefunken 16 channels analogue desk w compressors, EQs, limiters
SSL GBUS Compressors
Logic Audio, Ableton Live
Native Instruments Komplete and Maschine (new favourite toy for grooves)
My trusty ROLAND SH-101 for bass and fx sounds
TID: ‘If Life Gives You Lemons…’ is a very philosophical name for your new artist album. What inspired you to call it this?
RS: Weed…. and LIMONCELLO (can I say Limoncello in the interview!?
TID: We hear that Defected have called up your DJ services for their next compilation. Any other exciting news in the pipeline?
RS: Yep, mixing Defected In the house 2010 Miami with plenty of exclusive tracks (such as my remixes for Crookers, Chris Lake, Michel Cleis and Dennis Ferrer) that is released in March and then launching my label SNATCH! in April. I’m so excited about this as it’s getting massive props already. Check out the first release which is David Keno ‘Upside Down’.
Let’s stay in Touch!