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He Was Drunk

Back from his binge, Riva Starr is blaring the trumpets up on his new Balkan-tinged tech-house EP on Made to Play.

Finely crafting wonky tech-house since back in the day, Brick Lane-based producer Stefano Miele aka Riva Starr has been drawing inspiration from energetic traditional Balkan music for his most recent ventures. In a move from his classic house sounds to more brass-heavy / ethnic influenced areas, his distinctive samples have been freaking out dancefloors everywhere. Having remixed everyone from Renaissance Man, Andre Crom and Malente to more pop acts like Gossip, Little Boots and Lily Allen. Having a past of epic releases on DirtyBird and Southern Fried Records, he is now set to unleash his double A-side 'I Was Drunk'/'Black Cat White Cat' on Made to Play, complete with a remix competition and a mad gypsies-in-the-hospital video collaborating with Nôze.

Dazed Digital: This video with Nôze. It is madness. Pure madness. Was it made whilst drunk?
Riva Starr: Clean answer: Nope I just drank some soda and lime. Dirty answer: Well mate, drunk is the least of it. There was a friend coming to visit me from Amsterdam that day...

DD: If you could play any instrument what would it be?
Riva Starr: Trombone! Or gong!... Well maybe gong, how cool must it be to be the gong player in an orchestra?

DD: What do you think inspired this movement from wonky house / techno to include these ethnic / gypsy sounds a la your What is Guru remix / the new EP? Do you think your older stuff like 'House Music' and 'I Jack U' etc is a far jump compared to your sound today... or is it essentially a natural progression?
Riva Starr: I'll be serious on this one, my early productions were kind of “I’m looking for my style, I like this and that... let me find out what works better for me...” then a couple of years and several gigs later here I am. That ethnic gypsy sound is nothing more than a little part of what house music is. I love house music because it’s a folder of grooves. It’s like a magician’s hat if you know what I mean... you just put your hands in there and see what comes out of it!

DD: What inspires you? / How do you find your samples?
Riva Starr: I still buy a lot of old vinyls and listen to a lot of different music. I love music... It drives my life. Everything original draws my attention. Watch out as my classical Chinese music period is going to land soon!

DD: Where are the best places to hang out on Brick Lane?
Riva Starr: My studio, then Rough Trade (because of the free wifi).

DD: What are you listening to now?
Riva Starr: Classical Chinese music!

DD: Is there anyone you really want to collaborate with?
Riva Starr: A lot of people. I already have a few ongoing collaborations for some releases on my Snatch! label... I can’t say more right now... But I've done some exciting collaborations on my album as well, first of all with Made To Play boss Jesse Rose (one of the producers that drew me into house music) and Nôze (one of the freshest talents around) and then with this young MC called Trim, also very talented.

DD:... these dudes.. 'Genghis Clan', what are they about?
Well, you know... when you listen to classic Chinese stuff... you never know where you end up!