Previously, we sat down with Orkney DJ and producer Rikki to chat about his production process and his new release Nightdrive. This week, we asked him a bit about how he feel in love with house music and his experience as a DJ.
Mark: How did you fall in love with house music?
Rikki: There have been several milestones along the way rather than one epiphonous moment. The first house (kind of) music I ever heard would probably have been M People as my mum was a big fan. Being young in the late 90s I was mainly stuck into Gatecrasher-style euro trance a la Scott Bond, Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, etc., but I did have house influence from some friends. It wasn’t until 2005 when listening to James Holden’s Balance 005 compilation that I realized “hey, this isn’t trance and I love it. I don’t think trance is IT anymore for me…” Other records pushed me towards house and tech that year as I discovered “Geht’s Noch”, James Zabiela, Ozgur Can, Alex Smoke and the Minus and Wagon Repair labels. I’ve been following ever since.
Mark: Who would you love to open for one day? Who was your favorite DJ to open for?
Rikki: I actually played the first hour before Scott Bond when he came to Orkney in 2003. I was only 17 and with hindsight was a bloody awful DJ, but it was a great night! I’d love to play before Zabiela, Stanton Warriors, Mungo’s Hi-Fi but probably most of all the Scratch Perverts – I saw them play 60 minutes in 2007 and it was the most amazing display of eclecticism and cut’n’scratch I’ve ever seen.
Mark: How often do you play out and where can we find your schedule?
Rikki: I have been playing less recently as I’m in the middle of doing loads of work on my house but I’m playing in Kirkwall’s Torvhaug pub on May 9th. It’s a great little place for a DJ as it’s not too big and has a great party atmosphere. My schedule is less of a schedule and more of the odd Facebook announcement of when I’m next playing out. Orkney’s a small place so promotion isn’t all that necessary sometimes – there’s only one club and one pub with DJs.
Mark: What has been the strangest club/rave that you’ve played at?
Rikki: Definitely a place in Lerwick up in Shetland called “Somewhar Else” back in 2004. It was just a crappy old nissen hut on the street but once you got in it was like a warehouse bash in the late 80s or something. Everyone was absolutely on it myself and another DJ called Crawfie played until 3:30 and then went to a party afterwards until 8:30 Sunday. “club/rave” is fairly accurate I’d say. By north isles standards it was all fairly extreme.
Mark: If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Rikki: I’m going to assume this is a musical question and doesn’t refer to my whole life! The main thing I would do is never smoke green. I did it for quite a few years and with hindsight it just held me back. I’d spend a night just listening to a few loops I’d made thinking it was amazing and then come back to it the next day to find it was not at all. It stopped me playing out too and it’s only since I’ve cut it out 100% that I’ve felt like playing to an audience again. I’m sure I could’ve achieved a lot more if I’d never bothered with it. Many people find it inspirational but it’s not for me.
Mark: How is your local scene unique?
Rikki: Good question. We’re a close island community of 20,000ish with our main town of about 5000. The fact we have a nightclub at all is surprising and in the summer time the nice weather really helps party-up the place. Our local scene is probably bet noted for its cleanliness (if you will). Orcadians are generally not into drugs and just like to drink – a lot! It makes getting people into dance music styles much harder but it means we have fewer social problems. Also with the lack of knowledge about dance music here you can play pretty much across the board in terms of eras and styles so long as you give people the occasional well-known tune to move to. Look up Will Atkinson (Orkney’s most successful DJ). He’s doing big, big things in the trance world.