Riva Starr, aka East-London based Stefano Miele, has long burned a mark on the night. Not simply a widely respected DJ, producer and the owner of Snatch! Records, his restless artistry has made a career from shrugging off genre constraints and expectations.
Starting out spinning ten hours sets in his native Napoli, Riva Starr was working up to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule long before it even existed. Capable of turning it out on any dancefloor he’s been invited onto the biggest stages, from Glastonbury to Fuji Rock to Tommorrowland,. Snatch! has hosted its own tent at Creamfields, while the Riva Starr touch has been sought to open for Jamiroquai in Ibiza and to work with artists as diverse as Horace Andy, Fatboy Slim or Arthur Baker – or to remix Wiley or London Grammar. Far from cashing in his chips for mainstream glory, however, he still beats to the pulse of the underground, throwing down back to back sets with DJ Pierre and Technasia, and rocking clubs like Warehouse Project (Manchester), El Row (Barcelona and Ibiza) and Cocoon, or heading his own label showcase at off Sonar.
An insatiable musical appetite means Riva Starr has never danced to anyone’s beat but his own. Where he’s gone, from breakbeat to wonky house, others have followed. But by then he’s just a trail of dust leading the way to his next unpredictable escapade. With an uncanny ability to be in all the right places at all the right times, he’s a singular talent able to bag a improbable, global, runaway iTunes smash hit while still releasing on the hottest underground labels around, from Dirtybird and DFTD to Hot Creations.
For most other people being a DJ, literally a disc jockey, means riding on the backs of other people’s beats. But Riva Starr has never shied away from saddling up and taking the tracks he champions down his own distinctive path. His famed ‘Rechunk’ re-edits have given his fail safe touch to names like Daft Punk and The Doors, the latter’s ‘The End’ transformed into a magnificent, swirling psychedelic set closer. Nic Fanciulli’s Saved were the first to release some of these officially with ‘Raw Edits Vol.1’, a collection that was previously an exclusive part of the Riva Starr DJ arsenal. With the EP proving an enormous success, Saved came back for ‘Raw Edits Vol.2’ in October, which outperformed it’s predecessor by culminating in a 2 month residency at the top of Beatport’s Tech House chart.
Saved are not the only iconic underground label to take advantage of the Riva Starr effect.
Jamie Jones’ Hot Creations have signed up for a second EP slated for March 2016, long time supporters Cajual want a whole album of pure Riva fire on the back of the runaway success of ‘The Loft EP’ a Beatport and Traxsource chart smash for over 3 months and a record that received an unprecedented continuous 9 weeks support on BBCR1, and both Defected and it’s techier younger brother DFTD , are lining up EP’s for early 2016.
And then of course there is always new tracks coming on Riva’s own imprint Snatch!, one of the hottest labels around after a summer of Ibiza domination with Pele & Shawnecy’s ‘ Better For My Brain’. Riva’s ‘I Believe in You’ EP, slated for release on November 16th, is already off to a flyer with it’s premiere by BBCR1 Annie Mac who already demonstrated her long term support of our man with an invitation to produce a MinIMix for her show back in August.
Honing the art of turning any track up a notch, his remix resume is as broad stroked as his ability behind the decks. From major label hip-hop and R&B superstars like Usher and Plan B to the hyphy, bass-driven house of Claude VonStroke or New York superstar Armand Van Helden, Riva Starr has stamped his trademark sound across the musical spectrum. A mainly analogue set-up adds that essential “percentage of randomness”, the joyful spontaneity that lies at the heart of his creative process. His current bomb is a peak time underground interpretation of the massive Ibiza hit ‘Chunky’ by Format B on Ministry of Sound and with labels queuing round the block to take advantage of his production finesse we can expect a few more to drop over the winter.
In the studio he might be recording verses with Roots Manuva one day, giving the first break to artists like Pirupa on Snatch!, or persuading DJ Sneak to get on the mic. It’s a free wheeling, if it feels good do it mentality that runs through his two artist albums, ‘If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade’ (2010) and ‘Hand in Hand’ (2013). It’s also the uniting thread to a constant stream of dancefloor EPs, both under his own name and using various, long-standing aliases.
Making this cross-pollination seem so effortless has won a who’s who of supporters, from Giles Peterson to David Squillace, Adam Beyer to Pete Tong and Annie Mac. But then it is in Riva Starr’s world, where the unexpected is the norm, and the club is just the first step on a wide musical journey…