Exposed Meets Riva Starr
DJ, Producer and owner of Snatch! Records, Riva Starr has come a long way since spinning ten-hour sets in his native home of Napoli. Having since played at Glastonbury, Warehouse Project, Tommorrowland, Creamfields, and worked with the likes of Fatboy Slim, the Italian DJ is today considered amongst the best in the trade. We caught up with him as he wraps up the final touches on upcoming album ‘Definition of Sound’.
You’ve often been praised for your unique and distinctive take on a wide selection of existing songs; what sort of stuff goes through your mind when trying to remix and re-imagine a song?
I just imagine how I would play it in the club, so it basically becomes a part of the flow of my DJ set. Sometimes it’s good to give a different mood/vibe to the original track, sometimes the original mood is untouchable, so amen, let’s leave it as it is!
The house scene can take itself very seriously at times. Do you consciously try to add a bit of humour to keep it tongue-in-cheek?
I don’t like to take myself too seriously, as Green Velvet once said I like to be provocative in what I do, that’s why I love collaborating with people like him! And yes people in the house scene tend to dramatize and take things seriously – everyone has their own take on things!
Your success was almost instant after your first album. Do you have any advice for DJs that are still slogging away?
I wouldn’t say instant as I’ve been working hard for years releasing EP’s and remixes, sometimes it takes just one song or an album concept to seriously push things to the next level. I would just suggest sticking to your sound and ideas and push, push, push!
You’ve played sets all over the world, is there a country that has better crowds than most? Where’s your favourite place to play?
I love playing everywhere to be honest. Each country has its specific crowd and taste which is challenging but also an exciting thing for a DJ.
Lots of dance or electronic acts are coming out of Italy – so how did you get ahead of the pack? Why do you think British audiences are so keen on this type of music?
Well with my label Snatch! Records we have been trying to push Italian artists for ages, we have our own take on house and techno and that’s what people like I suppose! We are constantly trying to get producers to interact and collaborate and also to create a proper crew, we’ve missed this for a long time in the Italian scene.
Has living here influenced your music in any way?
Yeah, London has been a massive influence for me. I’ve met lots of interesting people from the industry and had the chance to breathe in the international vibes, I’ve also played a lot of after-hours that really gave me the chance to pay my bill at the beginning and build my own sound. We’ve built our headquarters here and it’s almost a decade now that I’ve been doing my thing in town!
Your last EP, Superdope, sounded very 90’s and nostalgic – is this going to be a new trend in house music?
I wouldn’t say nostalgic. I think it’s a well-balanced EP with some new school influenced tunes and a more retro sounding track (Raw Feel), the idea behind it was to produce a tune in the old-school way with a sampler and a drum machine, no plug ins – I’m pretty happy with the result.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming album ‘Definition of Sound’ – what sort of sounds have you experimented with?
I’m pretty proud of it; I think there are some pretty bangin’ tunes, a few collaborations with Dajae, Green Velvet, DJ Pierre plus some solo tracks – it’s a good reflection of my actual sound. My previous album had more of an indie/electronic influence but I’ve decided to stick to my club side this time and put out a proper statement of where the Riva Starr sound is at the moment!
What in your opinion makes a memorable dance record?
The one that will be played even in 30 years time!
Keep up to date with Riva Starr on his website HERE.