For about the past ten years or so, Italian-born producer Riva Starr has been pumping out playfully upbeat, unadulterated house music that seems to perfectly walk the line between the underground and the accessible. It's with this formula, along with true production talent, that I believe Riva Starr has managed to stay relevant and continues to outshine many of his peers.
In addition to all his key singles that have kept him in the game, he's also just released his third full length album, titled Definition Of Sound, and it's out now on Green Velvet's coveted Cajual imprint.
He's definitely not slowing down anytime soon and he's about hit the U.S. for a brief weekender with a stop in Miami tonight and another stop in Houston on Saturday. Therefore, we thought we'd ask him a few questions about his experience with the U.S. and where he feels the market stands next to the rest of the world.
Where does the name Riva Starr comes from?
It's a mix between one of my favorite Italian players, Gigi Riva and one of my favorite Hip Hop groups, Gang Starr.
I understand that you are from Naples, but you currently reside in London. Why the move?
Because I felt that living in London would have given me much more possibilities to get right to the heart of the music industry and it has been really helpful indeed!
Your third full length album, Definition Of Sound, was recently released and I couldn't help but notice all the artists you collaborated with are from Chicago. Was this methodically done or was this just a coincidence?
It was quite a coincidence to be honest, but also I released it on Cajual, and Green Velvet and Dajae are regulars on the label. I did the tracks with Gene and Pierre before on Dirtybird and Hot Creations, then I decided to add them to the tracklist because I thought they were a good fit for the album concept.
You seem to stick by the classic sound of house music by applying a very fresh touch. How do you adapt to the scene while the music is constantly evolving and changing?
Mmm...that was just the concept of this particular album. A bit like going back to the roots but refreshing it for the new generations that have maybe hardly heard about the 90s House movement. I like to play with sounds and genres a lot so it's pretty impossible to cage me into just one style or concept.
Do you feel that Chicago is still an epicenter when it comes to house music?
There’s still some good things coming from the windy city, Green Velvet is pushing a lot of new talents through Cajual and Relief plus many others are doing a great job. I wouldn't say it’s an epicenter any more, but it’s still a solid reference.
Any other U.S. cities that you feel play an important role in the dance music scene?
Well Detroit and New York in the U.S., London, Berlin, and Amsterdam as well. Plus, I would even add my own city Naples where the House and Techno scene is healthier than ever not just for the parties but also for the producers that came out of the city over the years.
You've got a brief U.S. tour this weekend with stops in Houston and Miami. Do you have any other gigs lined up following those dates?
Yep, I have plenty all around Europe, Ibiza and even China… check my Facebook for weekly updates on that.
What's been your experience with DJ gigs in Europe versus North America?
I enjoy playing pretty much everywhere. America is growing a lot in terms of following for House music and I gotta say that my particular brand of Napolitan House works pretty well in both continents. We keep it funky and loopy but still fresh.
Do you end up playing differently for crowds in different parts of the globe?
Sometimes yes you change your selection a bit, it’s part of the job and everyone does that, but it’s still within my range of sounds. I don’t want to play in extreme situations anymore. If the music they want is not on my USB it means that it’s not something I would play, sorry…
Miami/Houston residents, make sure you catch Riva Starr in Miami on Friday at Heart, or in Houston at The Silo on Saturday night.