Richy Ahmed has been making waves in the UK house scene since circa 2010, whilst taking cues from disco, techno, funk, electro and hip hop. Born and bred from South Shields near Newcastle he is now a household name in festivals all over the world from BPM Mexico to Glastonbury festival, and his regular visits in Ibiza have made him an undeniable presence in the electronic music sphere.
He is part of the Hot Creations family but has recently introduced his new label FourThirtyTwo, which will showcase the best DJs handpicked by Richy himself. We speak to Ahmed ahead of his show at All Night Long set at Motion on 29 April about what we can expect from him and the label for not just Bristol’s set, but also the rest of 2017.
A common but inevitable question, to any users reading this who don’t know you, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as a mixture of house, disco, techno and most other electronic music genres – always with the aim to get people on the dance floor.
You grew up in South Shields, UK – was there a strong music scene growing up or did you seek inspiration elsewhere?
I sought inspiration elsewhere if I’m honest; there wasn’t a strong music scene in my hometown, or anything I was particularly into at the time. I was into hip hop when I was young so I was always getting mix tapes delivered from the US or just finding the stuff on vinyl. Eventually I headed to Ibiza, I delved into house music and it progressed from there – there was a cool US garage and soulful house scene in Newcastle but ultimately the music I play now stemmed from Ibiza.
ultimately the music I play now stemmed from Ibiza
You have started your own label FourThirtyTwo, what is the main aim and ethos?
Just to do something a bit smaller, less of a machine – something cool that I have full creative control over. The label is something that I can put love into without any sort of preconceptions or constrictions – like having to sell on Beatport or having to be big and popular. Just something I am really happy with and that I think is cool.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting the label?
The label has started up as well as it could do and there hasn’t been any problems; any trouble comes from sticking to manufacturers’ timelines and deadlines. Getting everything lined up and ready is not as easy as it looks! But nothing has slipped so far.
As for the party side of things, it’s cementing the brand that has its own problems. Especially booking DJs that conflict with other parties and sometimes people can be a bit upset when you do your own thing – but that’s just all part of the fun!
What has been the highlight on the FourThirtyTwo journey?
Seeing my first vinyl press from my own label – the artwork is beautiful. Also selling out shows off my own back in some of the coolest and most popular clubs in the world, just doing long sets and knowing people have come to see you and believe in what you’re doing, and then getting such an awesome response is amazing. The FourThirtyTwo parties have been some of the best gigs I have ever played and that is an honest truth, not from a biased perspective – hand on heart!
Which producers do you have lined up for releases?
I’m trying to keep it fresh with a small tight team including really good DJs and good up and coming producers. I’ve got Luca Cazal who has made one of his best EPs so far and Senzala: two young lads, Sam and Jonni, who are really cool and have great energy, both good DJs and producers. I’ve also got a protege of mine called Jansons who is a next level producer and for the future I have Man Power, Archie Hamilton and Rossko, plus loads more from me.
it’s all the guests I want on these parties, it’s not a stacked lineup of artists just for the sake of it – it’s the DJs that I believe are excellent
Motion has called the event ‘The biggest FourThirtyTwo show yet’ – what can we expect that we haven’t seen before?
Firstly, it’s all the guests I want on these parties, it’s not a stacked lineup of artists just for the sake of it – it’s the DJs that I believe are excellent. I’ve got Man Power on this show, who is an old friend from Newcastle that has reinvented himself, his sound is amazing! He’s a wicked producer and he really knows his tunes, he plays all sorts as well: electro, disco, house and techno. He’s a wicked guy as well. Looking forward to seeing what he pulls out the bag on the 29th!
You have played in Bristol before, is there anything about Bristol’s music scene that distinguishes itself from other cities?
I think Bristol’s music scene is very knowledgable, the younger crowd have got a lot of knowledge in music from different genres and they’re not just trapped in the house scene. The house scene came a little later in Bristol; after different types of dub, trip hop and what have you, but now the scene has a wide spectrum of influences. But first and foremost the crowd in Bristol is one of the nicest crowds in the world, there’s never any edge, never any bother, it’s just always a really good vibe in Bristol!
You took over Room 2 at Fabric London in March, how was the set and did you deliver anything unique on the night?
It was actually one of my favourite times in Fabric. The room had such a great vibe from the beginning to the end, it was rammed from 23:30. I had London lads Rossko and Archie with me and they have such an amazing following in the city, we smashed it. It was that good they’ve offered us a second date later in the year!
Your new remix of Groove Armada’s ‘U Can’ was released recently, what has the reception been like from fans?
It’s been really popular, a lot more popular than I thought it was going to be – I originally made it quite heavy and tough, but it has actually done really well on Beatport. It has received a lot of success commercially, I mean it is Groove Armada and so I obviously wanted to pull out all the stops. I’m really pleased with it.
You are jet setting all over the world this summer for festivals and gigs, are there any shows you’re particularly looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to my first FourThirtyTwo party in Ibiza, they are all highlights in the diary but this one particularly. I’m looking forward to playing for Elrow, the Terrace at Amnesia, obviously the Paradise season is starting. I always look forward to playing Glastonbury, which is a main feature of the year.
You share a lot of graffiti artwork on your social media, is this a big interest of yours?
I like all kinds of art and culture. It plays a big part of my life and the process of expression is a must for me whether it’s street art or making music.
if it can make at least one of my 300k fans feel the way it makes me feel, then it’s a winner
Along with that you also post motivational quotes, is it important to you send a positive message to your followers?
Yes. The way I look at it is when I read inspirational quotes it makes me feel good, I choose the ones that resonate with me. I’m quite a spiritual person and if it can make at least one of my 300k fans feel the way it makes me feel, then it’s a winner.
RICHY AHMED LIVE: 29 April – FourThirtyTwo: Richy Ahmed & Manpower, Motion
richyahmed.com // words by Hannah Ryan