Hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since Laurence Ritchie and Andy Riley formed Inland Knights (twitter, myspace, discogs) and unleashed their form of House Music mayhem on an unsuspecting world. After meeting up as DJs for the infamous renegade soundsystem Smokescreen in Nottingham, the Knights have formed the kind of musical partnership that rarely exists in this business, from production work to running Drop Music – a label that’s evolved from an underground insurgency (with the modestly titled debut Inland Knights Vol 1) to one of the most prestigious dance music indies in the world.
This month, the Knights and Drop have done obsessive collectors a favor with the release of the compilation (if that’s what you want to call it) Inland Bites: Knights Classics. The 14 track album, released yesterday at stores everywhere, represents a slice of the Knights’ production work outside of the Drop Music armaments factory, on labels including 2020 Vision, Amenti, So Sound and Doubledown, with many appearing digitally for the first time.
How did you go about narrowing your catalog down to just 14 tracks for this release?
They were based on the most successful tracks we’d produced and had released on other labels away from Drop Music. It was a little tricky but I’m pretty sure the right tracks made it on there.
Which of these still find a way to sneak into your sets these days (or at least before the release of Inland Bites)?
We don’t usually play out own productions when DJing, but I’ve been playing “Slumming It” and “Like This” lately.
I’ve interviewed so many people after extremely well-known partnerships have a falling out and one or the other claims most of the credit for their productions. How do you two work together and keep a steady partnership flowing?
Very simple: neither of us take any credit for anything! We have Toka Project and Larry Fives in case either of us needs to flex our creative needs any further than Inland Knights. So it’s all otherwise Inland Knights.
Paul Johnson told me once that he was shocked that “Get Get Down” became the most popular song in his recording career to date – it was sort of an afterthought. Were there any in your catalog that sort of, well, surprised you?
Actually, all of it. But there’s “Hot Soup” that stands out as a surprise success and Side A of Drop 14, The Out of Bounds EP. They both did really well and we had no idea at the time that this would happen
In 12 years, how has your approach to making (and releasing, which are two different things!) music changed?
Both have changed lots with vinyl going to digital. The way I run things have changed accordingly, with digital now being the first format.
Also the production process has moved from desks and wires and samplers and midi… into Logic on a Mac. This was a painful process and took a long time. We still have lots of out-board synths and valve bits, but it all goes back into Logic basically.
The creative process is so much easier these days, technically… once you get your head around the software.