Once known simply as the bastion of underground, sub driven music, taking in everything from dubstep, grime and garage to hardcore and jungle, these days Kode 9's Rinse FM is expanding into every arena of electronic music – and beyond.
Launching this at the start of July was 'Rinse.23', the first in the station's mix series to originate from an overtly house producer – Richy Ahmed. Part of the Hot Creations crew, Richy received a nomination for Best Breakthrough DJ at DJ Mag's Best of British Awards last year and has wracked up plenty of air miles over the last year, with plenty more gigs to come over the summer, including a residency at Paradise.
We caught up with him to find out about mixing the compilation, the sampler from it with an exclusive new track from him, and what else he has coming up this year...
We first met you a few years ago in Miami with the Hot Creation crew before you released any music. How long have you know Jamie and Lee and how did you meet them?
“I met Jamie in 2003 in Ibiza – we used to work over there doing summer parties like the young kids do nowadays. We were meeting all kinds of people in the industry: good promoters, good DJs, good managers. It was great. We spent the summer as a group of friends working. When you go to Ibiza for the summer, you all collect together and end up all knowing each other, you’re always hanging around San Antonio or DC10 so you’re always with people you know. Jamie (Jones) was DJing then and he’d always been adamant he was going to become a DJ. We all knew he’d make it. But I wasn’t a DJ from the start, that came later.”
Some people might be surprised that you're releasing a compilation on Rinse. Do you listen to the station at all? Was there a pressure to try and conform to the kind of house they already have on the station?
“I really like Rinse, it’s a good station, and I like what they do. They have great house shows and I love Carl Craig's and T Williams' shows. It’s a really cool station doing some cool, London things. I was honoured that they asked me 'cos they wanted to do something different and they approached me to be the guy to move things in a slightly different direction. I didn’t have to change my style at all - I wouldn’t do it if I had to change my style. My disc represents a switch in how they’re doing things. They’re beginning to choose people who pioneer certain sounds. This is the first proper house/bass mix, and I was chosen to start that.”
House music in general seems to be attracting a wider audience. What's your take on the whole phenomenon of shuffling? There seems to be an animosity from some people towards new kids getting into the music.
“House is becoming more popular. With it becoming more popular, obviously, the big labels catch on to it 'cos they want to do their thing, maybe water it down or what have you. But I think cycles like this have happened in the past and they’ll come and go. There’ll always be people who love house, techno or whatever. I think people mistake popular with commercial. If there’s something made solely to make money, then that is commercial. But there are also things that people make which just become popular because people love it and it’s a great sound – then it’s everywhere. And that’s great. People need to make that distinction. You can’t just write something off as commercial just 'cos it has become popular when six months before it was promoted as a demo and no one was into it.”
The majors have got their chequebooks out for anything that has the potential to dent the charts. Could you see yourself expanding the music you make to become more explicitly radio friendly? How about working with any vocalists?
“I wouldn’t chase the money. It’s not what I'm in it for. I don’t want to be massively super famous. If you go down that chart route there’s no turning back. I want to be a well respected DJ, but I don’t want to be a pop star. I can’t see the tunes that I’m making hitting the top 40 in a millions years! And if it did, fair play – the world would be a different place! I just can’t see it happening, but if it did I think you can still withdraw from the huge fame if you choose to. You’ve just got to be careful how you manage yourself.
“I have been working with vocalists recently but by the time I’m finished with messing around with them I don’t think its really got much commercial viability! I’m a club DJ, and that’s how I want it to stay.”
DC10 is going to be a home from home for you this summer. It's also known for its carry on capers. What the maddest thing that you've seen there? And do you have any past or potential DC10 anthems line-up?
“Oh, man, the stuff I’ve seen I wouldn’t even want to go into on interview! I’ve been there since 2002. I’d go every single week and I have seen some crazy stuff. You see mad people. There’s a lovely old guy they let in who’s there every Monday on the dancefloor. You see people naked on the dancefloor… it can get pretty crazy there.”
You seem pretty well travelled by now. Besides the obvious, what are the most exciting places that you’ve played?
“I love Glastonbury. Glastonbury this year was amazing, next level stuff. I’ve only been three times, 'cos I spent so much of my twenties in Ibiza! But when I first went four years ago I just couldn’t believe how good it was and how many I'd missed. I don’t think I'll miss another one for the next 20 years. What a super rave.”
Clapton, where you live, is being touted as East London's next hot spot. What are your favourite places to hang out there?
“I love London in general – I think its amazing, the best city in the world. If it had the sun, everyone would be here. It can be difficult if you're on the grind or whatever, but it will reward you as a city. I live in Clapton, it's really up and coming, I hope it’s the next hotspot. You noticed the change even when I moved in a few years ago. My fave spots there are The Star of Hackney Downs, a pub my mate runs, and The Clapton Heart which is right near me. The houses around there are still Victorian and nice, which attracts the right people. It’s a cool place. But I love all London, if you stay in East London you don’t get enough of the city. I’m a tourist at heart still. When people visit I love to take them west, north, central. If you don’t, its like taking someone to New York and just showing them Brooklyn! I like going to all places in London. There’s too much to see and do!”
What have you got coming up release wise?
“I’ve got a new EP coming out as part of the Rinse mix which I mentioned earlier. It’s going to be ‘Richy Ahmed presents’ with a new track from me, plus four tracks exclusively for that EP. That’s coming out middle of July. I’m also finishing off a Hot Creations EP and I’ve done a remix for Kim Ann Foxman (out in a few months) and one for Lana Del Rey which will be available very soon! Lots is going on and there's more to come!”
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