East-London based-Italian DJ and producer Riva Starr is teaming up with Swede, Mikael Nordgren, better known as Tiger Stripes on a collaborative EP titled Sound of the Bettest. Coming out on Truesoul in 10 days, we are happy to premiere the title track “Sound of the Bettest” for you today. In addition to the premiere, we had Riva Starr interview Tiger Stripes and vise versa.
In the interview, they talk football (soccer), fashion, fatherhood, food, inspiration for their music and much more. Beyond just what us journalist hacks ask them, these two boil down the essence of what it is to be a DJ and give you a perspective you don’t normally see. Be sure to read the full piece to get a better perspective on these two veterans.
“Sound of the Bettest” is a jacking house tune with a mix of old-school rave and jungle, some tribal drums and modern house grooves. There is a bit of everything all molded into one record. The Sound of Bettest EP is a two-track EP that will be released on February 26 via Truesoul Records. The EP can be pre-ordered on Beatport.
RS: Mikael, you have been around for a while now going through different phases in terms of style. How do you manage to keep yourself relevant? Is it something you think about or you just go with the flow in the studio?
TS: With the risk of sometimes confusing people, I want to do whatever excites me and dress the ideas that come into my head in the best possible outfit. Sometimes toward house and sometimes it will be more of a techno outfit. At this point in my career I think I’ve got my own way of doing things, so I don’t think that much of how other people’s music is sounding. I’m trying to do my own thing and to do music that feels fun to play in the clubs.
RS: What do you think about purism in music?
TS: Inspired by how David Bowie came up with some of his best stuff, part of my sound has always been merging different genres of music together. I find keeping an open mind is the best way to walk through life.
RS: Do you like Tex Willer? [laughs] No I meant where does your passion for everything cowboys come from? Like your hats btw :)
TS: I do like cowboys and Indians and have a big love for Fedora hats, but most of all I like garments that are made to last and that age in a really cool way. Like denim or a nice pair of horse hiding leather boots; they will just feel better and look cooler in a couple of years and they can last a lifetime. I would love if my music would age as well as a pair of Mister Freedom Jeans!!! Music and clothes, I love both equally and for me they go hand in hand.
RS: Have you ever played in Naples during the 90s? There was such a big techno and house scene… did you ever play some stuff from Gaetek, Rino Cerrone or Carola?
TS: No back then I was touring Sweden with my indie band and then I took my first step as a DJ at the end of the ‘90s when I started playing soul, disco and then finally house and techno. But now I have been and played in Naples and I’m familiar with the great techno that came and still is coming from this beautiful city! I have loved Italy since I first went there as a kid on holiday with my parents.
RS: If I take you to Napoli would you come to the stadium with me? Supporting Napoli’s team is so techno right now!
TS: Of course, I would! But it would be the first time I visit a football game. I played football as a kid but then when I discovered Kraftwerk at the age of 10 it was music all the way for me. But sure, as a Swede, just can’t help being a little bit proud of Zlatan Ibrahimovic!
Tiger Stripes interviews Riva Starr
TS: You started out as a Jungle/Breakbeat DJ. Is there something in those records you used to play, that you miss in house and techno music today?
RS: Yes I really miss the fact that music was a little less formulaic than nowadays, lots of producers are obsessed with charts and that comes at creativity costs. I really like when DJs take a chance both in the studio and in the club. Surprise me and I’ll give you money!
TS: What’s your all-time favorite techno track?
RS: Sir Mills “The Bells” obvs :)
TS: Do you remember the first time you heard house?
RS: I’ve been surrounded by house music since I was young, Naples had a huge scene for both house and techno: people like MAW, Morales, Todd Terry etc. were at home there. I even remember that someone opened an unofficial MAW shop selling their live mixtapes :)
I just started playing with it pretty late though after I got bored of everything breaks-related due to the lack of ideas. I found that house could incorporate any sort of sound if done with the right taste and that’s why I got super excited and jumped full body into it!
TS: Like me, you are a father. Would you like your kids to be DJs when they grow up?
RS: They definitely know what I’m doing, but ultimately it’s their choice. Hopefully they will keep it real in case they decide to follow my steps!
TS: You are an Italian living in London since a few years back. Is it living in a city full of club culture that makes your music sound so damn nice or could you find inspiration living in a smaller city just as easy you think?
RS: I really think that both London and Naples gave me huge source of inspiration. My native city is famous for being welcoming also on the sounds of different areas of the world. Due to its position in the Mediterranean Sea we have had influences from Spain, Middle East, Greece and also The Balkans. London on the other hand really opened my mind up to crossing genres and experimenting in cooking more fusion tasting dishes!
TS: Do you find inspiration in studio equipment? Would you say you are one of those studio gear addicts, always searching for something new and better or are you just as happy working with a small collection of old favorite studio tools.
RS: I have always been producing the old school/analog way, simply ‘cause I couldn’t find the right sound for me just working in the box. And yeah, of course I’m a nerd and I love to try different pieces of equipment every now and then but I’m definitely not obsessed with it. The only piece that follows me since the beginning is my Roland SH-101.