Techno Tuesday: Riva Starr waxes poetic on house music
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Over the span of a decade, Riva Starr has proven he can truly do it all. From crafting bumping underground gems on labels like Dirtybird, DFTD, and Hot Creations, to co-producing huge crossover hits with Fatboy Slim, the Italian artist is a versatile producer to say the least.
More recently, Riva has been celebrating the five-year anniversary of his own label, Snatch! Recordings, which will be hosting its very first BPM Festival takeover on Friday, January 8, at La Santanera. The label showcase will feature Riva Starr, Pirupa, Paul C and Paolo Martini. Ahead of the show, we’ve tracked Riva down to share his thoughts on what house music means to him.
Riva Starr will also be performing at Ministry of Sound’s Defected in the House show on February 6.
On my recent Riva Starr Edits EP on Saved and on my own track ’The Loft’ on Cajual I deliberately chose classic spoken word and vocal House music samples to articulate what I feel about House. To once again set out the pure House manifesto which is at the heart of Riva Starr. House as a feeling. House as a culture. House as a lifestyle. Right now some of the dopest House tracks rub right along the boundaries of Techno and Tech House – but even though I love making and playing the darker deeper techier side, every big tune for me as a DJ and as a Producer, has to have that core Chicago/NYC vibe to it.
Like most people I got into House music as a music buyer and then started out DJing back in Naples. I always loved Hip Hop (and still do by the way!) and I was a big collector of funk and breaks and so at the start of House when I was hearing about this new electronic disco sound out of Chicago and New York, that was not built around funk breaks and Mc-ing, I was a bit like ‘Hold on, I’m not sure I am going to dig this’ but from the first time I heard Adonis ‘No Way Back,’ (which was the first House track I heard) I was hooked. It took all the best elements from the disco tracks like the basslines and the vocal loops (just like Hip Hop did with the funk tracks with the breaks) but toughened them up and added a darker deeper electronic groove to them. As an Italian I already knew all about the electronic disco scene as Moroder and Italo Disco was everywhere, but it was mostly a bit lightweight for me which is why I had headed into electro and Hip Hop as I wanted it rougher and tougher!
BUT these records which were being released on labels like Trax and DJ International made sense of all those disco elements. They made it better and more relevant for me somehow and then when I heard what Todd Terry was doing in New York on labels like Sleeping Bag it got even clearer, as he was joining the dots with electro and Hip Hop. Everything came together and since then House has always been THE feeling for me.
The weirdest side of House has always caught my attention and has helped me sourced the best ideas. I really hope that my latest tracks like ‘I Believe In You’ which reference the House past can get kids interested into this wide genre as they’re the ones who will be supporting House in the future and that’s what I aim for. As Roland Clark says on my own record, ‘If House Is A Nation, I Wanna Be President!’ but that’s for the original Chicago guys – I will settle for just being a House Music Lover!