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Riva Starr on DC-10 and life goals

International DJ Riva Starr talks us through his bucketlist

Respected DJ and producer, Riva Starr, will play with Jamie Jones at Paradise at DC-10 this Wednesday (29 June) - something he admits has long been on his career bucketlist. And while anyone who has accomplished as much as Starr probably can't think of a great deal else to excel in, we decided to quiz him on his biggest achievements to date - how he made them happen, and which of them really means the most to him. After quick chat that spanned playing at one of the island's most definitive clubs to mentoring the music industry's younger generations, we asked him to reveal the current top five triumphs of his life thus far. Hold tight - it's an impressive list.


It's your first time playing at DC-10, what is it about this venue in particular that has made it one of the places you've wanted to play the most?

"Well it's one of the main underground temples - somewhere that's just got that vibe in Ibiza; where everyone goes to see what's going on. I've been having fun in Ibiza since the beginning, but it's one of those clubs that's really hard to play at, so I was shocked when they said 'yeah, you can come and play one of the line-ups!'. I'll be playing alongside Carl Craig and Alan Fitzpatrick, as well as Jamie Jones, of course. Obviously I know pretty much everyone - I feel like I'm playing with a lot of friends - so it's gonna be a really good party."

DC-10 is one of those clubs that holds on to the spirit of the old Ibiza, shunning VIP treatment on the whole. What do you think about the way Ibiza has evolved over recent years on that front?

"Well, in one way or another it's always been there. We can moan about how something is changing - how music is changing and society is changing - but it's always been like this. Otherwise it would still be like the Stone Age! As long as there's still people who like good house music, it's cool. I think there's room for everyone. If people like EDM and want to spend ten grand for a table with some fireworks - they can, that's their taste. I'm very open - live and let live."

Before giving us a run down of your biggest achievements, do you have any goals left still to accomplish?

"There's always things that I want to do, but at the moment I'm focussing on pushing the Riva project and the label. Building a whole family is my main goal for the future. I want to try and let producers know that if we join forces we can do things in a more powerful way. I see this as a very selfish period for music - everyone is taking care of their own brand and not leaving space for other people. I really think we should be collaborating more together in order to grow the scene. It's good to have an ego and it's very important to push things forward, but when it becomes selfishness I don't think its a good thing."

It's a very fine line between confidence and having a big ego...

"Yes it's very hard a lot of the time, with people surrounding you saying 'oh my god you are the best DJ in the world, you should be higher on the line-up', you know. You can be brainwashed without even realising. I've had my bad moments in the past so I'm trying to learn from that. I'm advising the young producers that I have around me on how to manage this lifestyle without get it too wrong on one side or another, but it's not easy."

So do you see yourself as kind of a mentor to the younger generation of DJs?

"Well I try to do what Norman [Cook] and Green Velvet did with me, because they gave me a lot of suggestions. So I'm not saying that I'm the truth but I certainly give them my advice based on my experience."

With that in mind, and with your DC-10 appearance just round the corner, give us a rundown of what you're most proud of in your own life so far.

1. "Managing to get a degree in Chinese. I was really into Chinese culture and my parents really wanted me to get a degree - old school style - so I was like 'okay let's do it!' And I really liked it. But half way through the studying I started travelling a lot so it took me 10 years to get the actual degree. I was doing something like five exams in a row, travelling and then stopping for a couple of years, then going back and doing five more. It took me a while but in the end I made it, and it's a big achievement for me because it's one of the most difficult languages ever. I quit fluently speaking Chinese 10 years a go, so now I think I've pretty much forgotten everything. But my parents were happy!"

2. "It has to be travelling abroad. I was born in Naples and it's not an easy city to travel from - it's expensive if you don't have a huge profile, so I worked hard to to be an international DJ. At some point with my previous project, Madox, I decided to move to London to start a new life. I started a new project as Riva Starr and began to be a regular touring DJ. This took me five to six years to accomplish, but eventually I made it."

3. "It has to be successuful collaborations with people that I've always really liked. One of my main references has always been Fatboy Slim - he is such a humble guy and so smart. He's not afraid of giving suggestions to younger DJs, and that makes him even bigger. I really wanted to do something with him because I've been a big fan since the early breakbeat days. One of our collaborations was 'Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat', and that was huge."

4. "Launching my own label, Snatch! I think it's a goal every producer wants to reach. The chance of actually doing your own releases whenever you want, with no kind of restrictions... And also being able to push the music you like and promoting unknown names. Basically you are the boss and you can decide whatever you want and be creative with it. It's good to be your own boss - I've had weird experiences with major labels in the past, so for me being independent is way better than maybe having more money, because the major labels give you a bit more money but then you're in jail - you start losing creativity because you're forced to follow the rules. That's the same for everyone, so I just wanted to be free. I made the label, I have a nice crew that are helping me, and it's now becoming one of the top five labels on Beatport."

5. "Something that I would never have thought about but that's really changed my life - having my own family with two kids. For me, it was something that wasn't even in my diary - it's something that I never thought about. But, even though my lifestyle means I'm always on the road with 2000 things to do, I thought it was the right time. I have two kids and they are marvellous and just fulfilling my life, so that is my main achievement and I thank God every day for them."


WORDS | Ruby Munslow

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