Richy Amend Talks Strictly Rhythm, Ibiza 2015 + More
Hailing from South Shields in the North of the England, Richy Ahmed is now firmly established as one of the top DJs on the house music scene. Consistently re-defining his sound by taking cues from disco, techno, funk, electro and hip-hop, Richy has played a major part in the renaissance of British house in recent years which has given rise to a whole new breed of homegrown talent. Amongst the many accomplishments in his career to date, Richy has not only broadcast on the legendary BBC Radio 1 Essential mix in 2014, but also released music on top underground house labels such as Hot Creations, Get Physical & Leftroom LTD.
We caught up with Richy to chat about a wide range of topics, from his new Strictly Rhythm release, out available now on Traxsource, his Ibiza season so far, what Hot Creations looks for in a record and much more in this exclusive interview.
Hey Richy, thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now.
I’m sat in my living room in East London looking out the window. It’s a beautiful day – I’m well happy!
Can you tell us more about your new ‘Can’t You See EP’ on Strictly Rhythm.
I got talking to Andy, the Head of A&R about Strictly’s back catalogue. It was not only one of the first labels I got into, but they also released some of my favourite old school house records. All of a sudden they approached me about doing a remix. I had this original that they liked and after that they gave me a list of tracks that they said I should take parts from, including my favourite Strictly release, so I gave it a go.
Strictly Rhythm has undoubtedly had a huge impact on house music. Did the label have a major influence on you back in the day?
Yeah, it certainly did. I got into house music well after it was established and enjoyed digging through the old releases. Jamie Jones and I used to go through the Strictly Rhythm back catalogue all the time and would stumble across so many gems we had missed. Check it out, there are some belters if you listen back to it!
How was the Paradise opening party at DC-10 in Ibiza this year?
It was amazing. The club looked the best I’ve seen it. The dancers looked wicked and the line-up was next level! The highlight for me was Mathew Jonson live on the Terrace. It’s the first year DC10 have had an actual live stage and not just the booth on the Terrace and it was a special moment for me to see one of my heroes and main influences play such an amazing set.
What else have you got planned on the White Isle this season?
After having some amazing gigs already, I’ve still got 7 more to look forward to. This includes Paradise at DC-10 along with the closing party and my third show at Music On at Amnesia at the beginning of September. I played the opening party with Marco Carola on the Terrace which was one of the highlights of the summer so far. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of my career to be honest. Absolutely amazing night!
Any interesting, funny, inspiring or memorable moments during this year’s festival season?
My highlight so far would be seeing Lionel Richie at Glastonbury. I’ve been a big fan since I was a kid and it just reminded me of my childhood. I also played a number of DJ slots over the whole weekend and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Glastonbury is one of the best festivals in the world. Playing there always sets the benchmark high for the rest of the festival season.
Name one thing you couldn’t do without while travelling?
My mobile phone and a charging pack because the battery on the iPhone 5 is crap!
What’s next for the Hot Creations record label – what else is there to accomplish as an imprint?
I really think Hot Creations are going from strength to strength. I do a lot of the A&R and have been really happy with the releases this year. I think we’ve had the right balance of successful releases and getting records out there. We don’t care if it’s not going to be massive, as long as it works and we have fun doing it. It also intertwines really well with Paradise and we still manage to keep the brands separate, which is good.
I’m sure a million producers want to know the answer to this question; when you A&R a record for Hot Creations, what are you looking for?
Good records! Ha ha! I’m not looking for any particular style, we just pick tracks that we want to play out. A producer will make music that they want to play out and we pick up what we as DJ’s want to play; it’s as simple as that. After a while, you start to have a good idea of how a track will go down and how it will adapt to the room you want to play to.
What’s your opinion on the current state of house music?
I think it’s really good, there’s a lot of healthy competition especially between the bigger labels and the parties in Ibiza. Everybody is smashing it and playing other people’s parties which has helped leave the politics out. There seems to be a really good vibe all round this year.
I think there’s a lot of music coming out at the moment, maybe a bit too much, but I think that comes from everything being digital as it’s a lot easier to release. There’s a lot of good music coming out, but sometimes it’s harder to find because there’s also a lot of rubbish. However, I’d rather be in this situation with too much to choose from than too little.
I think this whole EDM thing is starting to fade. It’s one of those things that you go into at entry level when learning about electronic production, then after a while, people then start to realise that it’s soulless. House music is a lot bigger now and has more of a commercial edge; however there is still a lot of underground records and loads of amazing parties all over Europe. All in all, I think it’s thriving.