In The Studio: Rikki

We’ve been huge fans of Orkney based DJ and producer Rikki for years now. His blend of dubby breaks and tech house has become a hallmark sound here at MK837. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without his talents. Nightdrive marks his seventh release with us – not counting the occasional remix and compilation. To celebrate, we sat down with him to catch his thoughts on producing.

Mark: How did you first get into producing music?

Rikki: I was flooded out of a flat in the winter of 2006 and my wife and I had to move back in with my mum.  This caused a surge in my disposable income so I eventually bought my first MacBook and a copy of Propellerhead’s Reason 3.  I made all the early stuff with laptop and headphones, which probably explains the shocking mix downs.

Mark: What is your biggest struggle as a producer? What have you yet to master?

Rikki: The biggest struggle is to do with setup I think.  I have some half-decent monitors now and a spare room to work in but in the future I hope to get a proper studio setup of some kind. I’m not going to go daft and fill it with 1980s synths or anything, but I hope one day to be able to get mix downs sounding like Tipper’s. I’m also going to learn to play the piano a little bit so I’ll have more knowledge of how music works technically and theoretically.

Mark: How long does it take you to write a track?

Rikki: Usually I get a moment of inspiration and bang a loop together in half an hour.  Then I’ll spend three hours roughing it out into an arrangement of some sort and finally I’ll probably spend 6 months putting in little alternative drum breaks and filter drops etc for a bit of variety.  I strive not to be lazy and just copy and paste.

Mark: What does your production process look like?

Rikki: It looks like me sitting on my own in a small room that needs a good tidy up!  It is probably also noticeable that I’ve not spent as much on music equipment as many people have.  In terms of actual composition it’s usually always drums then bass then melody then effects and extras before finishings and levels etc.

Mark: Are you involved in any other bands or collectives? Which ones and what are they up to?

Rikki: I’ve made a few tunes with my wife who’s really handy at playing bass and singing but at this stage they’re shrouded in mystery awaiting the future.  I definitely wouldn’t ever rule out being in a band but I’m just about to become a dad so it looks like I’ll have to wait for a mid-life crisis.

Mark: What is the story behind this EP/Single?

Rikki: I don’t name tracks before they’re well toward completion.  I remember a crap old trance tune I liked when I was at school which had a “Nightdrive mix” and the word has always stayed in mind.  The sort of warm and friendly vibe of the tune seemed to suit driving for fun with pals at night with the twinkly melodies being stars and passing lights.  The tune started life in 2009 I think but it got shelved and revised many times before its current incarnation.