the records that changed riton’s life
Bauhaus to Hotline Bling: DJ Mehdi, Mark Ronson and Soulwax producer Riton returns with a brand new acid-Afro-house banger and explains how hip-hop and jungle helped to shape his sound…
Riton has been around the block. Since emerging on Manchester's Grand Central in the early noughties, the Newcastle producer and DJ has gone on to form several successful pairings; with Ben FatTrucker he put on seminal Shoreditch parties Gucci Sound System; with Mark Ronson he worked on Daffodils and toured with Mark on his 2014 Back To Back tour, while Carte Blanche was his Ed Banger based duo with the late DJ Mehdi. After taking some time out after Mehdi's death, Riton has returned with a brand new track that is best described as Afro-House on acid. Riton talks i-D through the tracks of his years, from Chesney Hawke to Drizzy Drake…
What was the first record you bought?
[Baeatmaster's Ft.] Cookie Crew's Rok Da House and Chesney Hawkes' I'm A Man Not A Boy. I bought them at the same time - confused little man I was! I wanted Pump Up The Volume but Woolworths had ran out, I remember that. Obviously I owned and enjoyed records before that like MJ's Bad LP but I don't remember really, really wanting them and going to town to get them specifically.
Which song most reminds you of growing up in Newcastle-On-Tyne?
That might be Searching For My Rizla by the Rat Pack. I had a lot of rave tapes as a kid and we would bomb around in my friend's older brother's car trying to score hash and generally get up to no good. I don't think that this track had the most desirable subject matter, but this was a life-changing moment for me. I was obsessed with DJing and DJ culture and it sent me on the right path and gave me a positive way to channel all my teenage weirdness.
Which song made you want to make music?
I think Beat Dis by Bomb The Bass. That was an amazing year on Top of the Pops, I remember. I could be wrong but one of the guys on stage had a keytar version of a Roland SH101. I was desperate for a keyboard and I got a little Casio that you could sample your voice on, Ferris Bueller style.
You're known for your Ed Banger output as one half of Carte Blanche with Mehdi. What's your favourite Ed Banger release ever?
[Justice Vs. Simian] We Are Your Friends - cos it reminds me of Zak Efron. And if I had to pick a second, I love Patrick122 by Mr Ozio a lot, lot!
What are your memories of Mehdi?
He was a Drake freak. He took me to see him live in Paris and bought me the LP when I came out. He really wanted me to love it as much as he did. I took a lot of convincing at first - my bad!! It was just so lite compared to all the hip-hop I liked as a kid; Wu, Nas and Public Enemy etc. But boy was I wrong about that guy!
You're worked and toured with man like Mark Ronson a lot, including Daffodils featuring Tame Impala. Is there a song that comes to mind when you think of working/ hanging out with Mark?
Probably some Notorious by BIG. We had a nice little routine with him on the turntables and my trusty 909 smashing the speakers - I think our best gig was Melt Festival in Germany.
Which song do you never tire of hearing?
Bauhaus Bela Lugosi's Dead. It's an absolute monster of a track. They did that whole EP in one day - very impressive work guys!
If you could only listen to the back, past and future catalogue of one artist for the rest of time, who would you choose?
That's a tough one. Talking Heads would probably do the trick, wouldn't it? I'm not really an LP guy so I tend to like random One hitters.
Your new track, Rinse And Repeat features an unknown Nigerian singer called Kah-lo. How do you source vocalists?
I met Kah-Lo on Twitter. She hit me up and I liked what I heard. We actually met for the first time in person when she was in New York. I was playing Le Bain with Pedro and co. and she came to the club. She was turning 21 the next day, so we had to wait til midnight to get her in…! Shortly after, we were in the studio and Rinse And Repeat was the first thing we tried. She's awesome, such a lovely person. I really want to get myself to Lagos. I always have a million questions about life there and the musical culture is incredible - I'm planning a trip there as soon as I can.
You DJ a lot and lets face it, sometimes the dancefloor can be a tricky place. On the odd occasion you feel the energy dipping, which track do you reach for to rescue a flagging gathering?
Continuing on the theme of DJing, what's the weirdest experience you've had as a DJ?
That's a long story but I got kicked off the decks after 30 minutes and went to ask the promoter what was up. He was in a room with gimps and a Scarface style pile of coke on the table in front of him doing bumps every 30 seconds. I could go in to way more details about this debacle of the highest order, but that's the general outline…!
If NASA called you up one day and asked you to pick a song to shoot into space to explain to aliens what Planet Earth is about, which would you choose?
I'm pretty sure Carl Sagan did that already - and as he was one of the greatest ever living humanoids, I'm in full agreement with whatever he chose - love that angel.
What was the last record you heard that made you really excited about music?
This year I've been getting super focused on my own stuff - I'm trying not to chase things and taking a little step back from DJing too much - so I'm sorry I can't really say. I listen to music 10 hours a day but I made it all, so what can I tell you! There have been a lot of nice tracks popping up. I love Drake's cover version of Mike Tyson's 'Thell Phone' (google that shit) but nothing I haven't heard before. It's mostly just great combinations of things we already know. I'm not mad at that either. If it's good, it gets me excited just as much as hearing something totally fresh.
The future sounds like…
Mmmmtismmmmmtissmmmmmtismmmtis (shall I continue?)
Rinse and Repeat is out 11 December.
Text Hattie Collins