Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Rikki, one of the artists on our label. His album From This To That, a recent release on mk837, seems to generate a ton of buzz amongst other members of the pride. Kevin signed off on it, Dave sent him a contract, so all that was left was for me to check the consumption. While I didn’t find the demo CD tasty at all (had a strange metallic taste) I found the music to be an awesome mixture of genres and tempos. Maybe I should stop trying to eat the CDs…Anyway, I really enjoyed it, so I had a chat with Rikki about his album. This is what he said…
Mark: How did you get started in music production?
Rikki: My mum got me a keyboard with a sort of sampler in it. I messed about on that for hours. I also used to play a PC game my cousin had called Dance Ejay 2. That was when I was still a kid at school. It was years after in 2007 when I managed to save enough to get a Macbook with Reason 3 and I taught myself gradually at nights and on my way to work.
Mark: When you start a project, where do you find inspiration?
Rikki: I occasionally hear a loop in my head and try desperately to get it written out before it goes. Other times I’ll put a drum loop on and improvise until something catches my eye. I take inspiration from local scenery, old mixtapes, visiting family and friends. My best stuff generally happens on a Sunday as I don’t have to work weekends and I’m usually genuinely relaxed by then.
Mark: Do you find it to be a disadvantage living away from the big cities?
Rikki: My wife and I lived in Edinburgh for a year when we left school. What do I miss about it? Pretty much nothing! There are hardly any shops where I live now, few big artists come to play and nightlife is very one-dimensional. BUT conversely shops are not taken for granted and cities are exciting to visit. It’s not impossible to go south to see concerts and gigs. There’s no crime here, not much substance abuse, we can afford a house. If I lived in cities I could maybe earn a living DJing but that’s not reason enough.
Mark: Remembrance Breaks screams of a track that has a back story. Can you tell us about it?
Rikki: Remembrance Breaks started in spring 2010. I got the bass and the little acid line half done and forgot about it. I picked it up again in September that year, the same weekend when my Granny died. I needed the odd distraction believe me! She was a remarkable woman and was always taking an interest in my music so that track is for her. If she’d known it was going to be on an album she’d have been delighted.
Mark: What’s your studio setup like?
Rikki: I’m just putting the finishing touches on renovating my house. I haven’t got to the stage of setting up a studio yet but one day I will. I’m currently using the same I always have: a Macbook Pro with Sony MDR headphones and an Edirol PCR-M1 keyboard. My wife got me some Alesis Monitors for Christmas but I haven’t got a space for them just yet. I plan to teach myself to mix my tracks down properly; engineering stuff. I see that as one of my week points.
Mark: Who are some of your favorite artists?
Rikki: There are many! A few artists who have really influenced me: –
Sasha (“Airdrawndagger” is my favourite album), Lusine, James Holden (Balance 005 changed my life), John Tejada, Tipper (the man has such skill), Linton Kwesi Johnson, Underworld, James Zabiela, Omid 16B, Gorillaz (saw them in Manchester on the Plastic Beach tour – stunning!), Little Dragon
Mark: If you could play any venue, where would it be, and who would headline with you?
Rikki: Hmmm….. Seeing how it’s pure fantasy (!!!) I’d like to play on top of Wideford hill near where I live. I’d do it on the summer solstice – the 360 view and sunsets are amazing. Bob Marley and the Wailers would do the first hour, then Numskullz and De La Soul for hour two, Hint DJing with Scratch Perverts for two hours then and I’d warm up for J Hazen and James Zabiela. After that My wife (she used to be a magic drum&bass selecta) would play an hour with DJ Hype and Shabba MC. Maybe Mungo’s Hi-Fi could round things off.
I’m sure many people would have chosen to plays clubs or festivals but my idea is purely self-centered. It’d be great!
Rikki’s a pretty interesting guy, and a really fun artist to listen to. I guess he fits in pretty well around the mk837 family here. We do seem to attract all sorts of different people into our family. That’s pretty much all I have for right now. Keep checking back for more interviews with mk837 artists. Thanks to Rikki for answering my questions, and I apologize for cleaning out your fridge… I was just a bit hungry during the interview.