Riva Starr is that quirky, sassy, tongue-in-cheek producer with a savoir-faire that screams original! His sound is refreshingly unconventional to say the least.
In 2010, people stood up and paid attention when his critically acclaimed album If Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade came out along with the single “I Was Drunk”, one of the year’s singular anthems. He’s had wildly successful remixes of Cajmere’s “Percolator”, Reboot’s “Enjoy Music” as well as Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey” and was also given the prestigious Best Breakthrough DJ award at the DJ Awards in Ibiza. In 2011 Riva has been nominated for Best Full Length DJ Mix and Best Music Video at the IDMAs so clearly his rollercoaster has not stopped.
You’ve been hard at work churning music out for over a decade, and in the last year everything seemed to just skyrocket for you. Was there a defining moment that you remember just catapulted you into Riva Starrdom?
I believe that the turning point was the release of my album and a few key remixes. “I Was Drunk” definitely made an impact, and seemed to be well received by lots of different DJs and fans.
I don’t think there was a defining moment – more of a catalogue of moments, from the remixes, to the gigs that I was playing, coupled with the album. 2010 was definitely an amazing year for me with winning the DJ Awards, and being in magazines such as iDJ and Mixmag in the UK as their “star of 2010”, so its been fantastic.
Your label is called “Snatch” because you say you like to snatch different styles and genres. What styles do you get influences from that you think some producers may shy away from? There must be a hundred copycats now trying to use gypsy samples…
Heh heh that’s the secret of my next album so I can’t tell you right now! Just expect the unexpected! Snatch has been going from strength to strength and I think the type of artists that we have on the label lends itself to being different. Working with artists such as Jet Project, Pirupa, Kink and recently Prince Club has been great. And no signs of any gypsy samples!
“I Was Drunk” is hilarious! Who do you find plays it the most? That definitely seems like a song that you would save towards the end of your set!
I love playing it at the end of my set! Strangely, a lot of different DJs played it and that makes me really happy… It’s kind of an unexpected crossover tune! Which is great, as I didn’t set out for it to be like that.
You are definitely one of THE most versatile producers I have ever heard in my life! What do you do to keep your ears and mind fresh to new influences? Is there such a thing as listening to too much music?
I try to listen to ALL the music possible with no prejudice… To me a good song is a good song no matter what genre it is. A lot of people hate producers that go through different styles, but I think that’s my strong point. I would hate to be a producer that’s stuck to one style, or always sounded the same – its about having fun, experimenting with different styles… I couldn’t be a monotonous producer/DJ… Its all about the partay!
You recently won Best Breakthrough Artist in the Ibiza Awards in 2010. Did that double your already ridiculous amount of DJ gigs and remix work?
Heh heh, it would be a lie if I would say that it doesn’t help! But I must say that I’ve worked very hard to get to this point. My tour diary last year was insane, I think I played well over 150 gigs and travelled the whole globe spreading the Riva sound around. It was really cool to win the award as well, so I am really pleased how things have gone.
Your remix of “Percolator” – anytime it’s played at a club – is a guaranteed packed floor. When remixing classics such as this, what goes through your head and was it a process of trial and error?
Nope, I had the funk in mind and went straight to the point for this. If you start thinking too much about how big and classic the track you are about to remix is you would end up losing the freshness. I really loved working on the tune though.
You’ve been called a “blog superstar”, having been able to disseminate your music at a rapid fire rate and really catapulted your name. Is that the way to go for up and coming producers who want to push their work?
Everyone has his own history so I couldn’t say… It really helped me a lot at the beginning, that’s for sure. Nowadays there’s a lot of pressure from the major labels on the blogs as well as they now understand (as usual with a big delay!) the potential of that media… So that makes it more difficult for the young unknowns to get exposure on some of the blogs. Its definitely a good place to be if you can get there.
Your new single and album are coming out early this year… can you tell us what to expect?
I just started to work on it so I believe it will be out after the summer… I’ve been working on various ideas, and there are going to be a few interesting collaborations. Unfortunately, I cannot say much more, but you will definitely be surprised.
For more information on Riva, tour dates and current release information, visit rivastarr.com.