And indeed they have been happening for him since his move. His debut artist album ‘When Life Gives you Lemons Make Lemonade’ was released on Made To Play in January to huge anticipation from his loyal fans. ‘It was a Napolitano saying I found on the internet [translated to English] and I liked it. It means make the most of your skills and what life has given you and that’s how I feel about where I am with my music. This is my life and I’m very lucky.’
Riva Starr’s signature sound combines the essence of modern house with rock and folk elements, Balkan beats, and interesting vocals. Releases on Dirty Bird, Jesse Rose’s Front Room Records and Fatboy Slim’s Southern Fried Records have been support by artists ranging from Tiesto to Ricardo Villalobos and Annie Mac. ‘The music from Naples has always been a big inspiration to me- the South of Italy has a strong music tradition. In my older projects I used traditional samples, using sounds from Greece, North Africa and Spain as well.’ Riva’s world beat side project under his real name still sees collect samples from 90 year old folk musicians in small Italian villages.
His penchant for adding inspired gypsy sounds to old tracks and releasing the bootlegs he dubbed ‘Snatch’, and its how the sensation of his mastery first kicked off. The most infamous blog offering was a remix of The End by The Doors which received well over 10 000 downloads on indie music site Discobelle.net alone. ‘I always ask the label if I can do the bootleg and get their permission first. I love giving my music away for free, obviously the bootlegs are not my solo productions, so I let them know where to buy the originals and also to buy my original music from the labels I release on.’
His branding of his music and unique format in giving it to the people has proven to be quite an interesting way to build up his reputation as a producer and spread his music around the world. ‘It’s a more underground way to spread thoughts and music’ He says, ‘I think producers have a problem in that they’re not making or releasing enough music and they don’t give 100% when doing free remixes- they don’t have the time or don’t find it. This has worked for me as a way to build my own promotions strategy.’
‘It’s a hook. The original music has so many messages and it’s great to give these songs new life with a new generation.’ Riva’s thoughts on marketing himself considering his successful new realm are still honest and direct. ‘Some labels I work with have walls of people working on online promotion. This really aggressive marketing is too much- people are still people and word of mouth is still the best marketing you can get. Promotion strategies have to be genuine- be yourself, show how you are and this reflects your character and style. I’m excited by new media; this is how I want to spread my music and label’
Riva’s recently set up Snatch label is set to showcase new talent he comes across, other Italian producers as well as host a series of Snatch parties around the world. ‘The 3rd release on the label is a track by myself called Splendido and it’s received a good reception from the big boys’ He says, totally oblivious to being included in the ranks himself these days. His calendar is currently permanently booked up 6 months in advance and sees him headlining clubs and festivals from Monaco, San Diego, Tokyo, Belgium and Ibiza before h e arrives in South Africa in September.
On coming to SA he says, ‘I’m really looking forward to it. I didn’t even think there was a scene in South Africa but then my label told me they had been licensing my music there for a while now, including my new album and I was really happy to hear that! It sounds like an amazing country- obviously I’ve heard things about the political state but we have the same thing in Naples, life isn’t easy there and everybody thinks we’re the Mafia. -Hahaha!’
Click HERE to enter to win one of 3 Double Tickets to Truth Matinee starring Riva Starr at Truth Nightclub in Johannesburg on September 24th!