The master of Balkan house extols the virtues of sex tapes, English breakfasts and shutting the fuck up.

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?

Making pizza.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Shut the fuck up.”

Best club experience?

Girls in Japan wearing my Riva Starr t-shirts and flashing.

When did you realise you could give up your day job?

I never really had one. I was working in clubs as a DJ from when I was 15 years old.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

‘The Musical Box’ by Genesis.

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

Get a bitch by your side, get her to tweet a lot, buy a few thousand followers on SoundCloud and put a sex tape on some porn blogs.

What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?

My Usher remix. By the time I realised I didn’t want to do it it was too late.

Recommend us a film.

Gatto Nero, Gatto Bianco by Emir Kusturica.

Recommend us a book.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

What's the easiest way to make it in the music industry? Get a bitch by your side, get her to tweet a lot and put a sex tape on porn blogs.

What or who is underrated?

Reading books.

What or who is overrated?

The full English breakfast. I feel bad every time I get it, but I still like it. It’s the best cure for a hangover.

What is your greatest regret?

I spent so long studying for a degree when I could have moved from Italy earlier and made more music in London.

What one thing would most improve your life?

Less travelling.

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

It was a gig in the summer in Italy back when I was still making breakbeat. I turned up with a bag of records and they didn’t even have turntables. They were expecting me to play old Italian songs on a keyboard.

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

It’s a rich creative experience if you choose the right people. You can roughly tell if it’ll work but it’s like a relationship: you never know exactly how your new girlfriend is until you spend a lot of time with her.

What one piece of software/kit could you not do without?

My Distressor.

Art or money?

The art of money.

What’s your single biggest frustration within the music industry?

That I can’t make as much music as I want. Nowadays an artist has to do so many things. Back in the day you just had to take care of the music and everything else was up to the label.

Favourite label?

Trojan Records at the moment. They’ve got an unbelievable, endless back catalogue.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

Working to tight deadlines or feeling under pressure from people.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

Be original and try to do what you like. If you try to copy someone else you’ll never stand out from the crowd or feel satisfied.


Riva Starr plays at Egg, London, on January 12th with Jet Project and Tom Flynn.

3rd January, 2013

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