Behind The Rhythm 003 | Rikki Humphrey
There’s very few DJs, producers or general musicians that we’ve come across who share the same drive, know-how and overall diligence toward their musical approach than Manchester-based Rikki Humphrey. There seems to be only two genres of music to Rikki, good or bad. A non-restrictive concept, which must make life as a staunch vinyl collector very interesting.
His in-depth understanding of many musical genres have helped mold him into a skilled and stylistically diverse DJ, one recognised by promoters up and down the country. Being heavily involved within the industry Rikki’s infectious zest to taste the spotlight that pervades the countires dance-floors has resulted in a musical demeanor that deserves high recognition. Here bringing us the third installment of the Mi Casa series with a different spectrum of sounds, Rikki leads us through classic and cult cuts of yesteryear with a raw and nostalgic mix that encompasses the very best in soul and underground hip hop.
We caught up with Rikki to talk all things music…and cups of tea.
So how did it all begin for you ?
Well I think we all have an idea of how one was conceived, due to my birthday i’m guessing I was around xmas time (never really wanted to ask). But on a music hype, mostly when I started banging drums at the age of 10/11…
What came first for you, Djing, Production, Promoting?
Dj-ing. Started mixing at 16, together mostly with my good friend (Torik) we’d head round to each others parents houses for few pints of water and not even chat, just mix for hours! Production is something I have been trying to steady my hand at now for last 18 months or so, but there is so much to learn and so little time and I really want to perfect my sound! I have been known to throw the odd party here and there also….
Who do you think is throwing the best parties at the moment?
Arthouse’ guys, ‘Play It Down’ crew, ‘meandyou’, ‘Bohemian Grove’ and ‘Audio Farm’ have all aspects covered in Manchester, pulling some of the warmest crowds. ‘Studio 89’ (that party has a very special place in my heart), ‘Delete’ and ‘City Bass’ in Cardiff has things locked and kicking in South Wales. ‘Housework’ and ‘Lewd’ are very much musically on point in Bristol. ‘Night Moves’, ‘Thunder’ and ‘Northern Purpose’ are the best and least ‘pretentious’ parties in London in my opinion. ‘Artful Division’ lads in Leicester keep things grooving in the Midlands. ‘Loft Party’ in Milton Keynes know how to throw a damn good party and ‘Nest’ in Leeds is where I go to get down! (Not being biased being a resident for Nest n all but their bookings are bloody awesome!) As you can probably tell i’m one for heading out for a wee dance….
Tell us about the first event you ever played at/put on?
First event I ever put on was called “S.T.I” again with me muckah Torik. The event name was a play on the abbreviation before “Gonorrhoea” springs to mind! One of our older friends had started working part time behind the bar in our local town boozer (as technically we were still under the legal age to drink but shhhh). They sweet talked the land lady into me being able to bring my band’s PA system down, and we packed the place out with a good crew of solid mates and had ourselves a ‘house’ party…..in a pub.
We know you have a very extensive record collection, Out of all the tunes you have, which one ‘never fails?
Never fails in the club – simple big K.C – Hemisphere (and that isn’t me jumping on a ‘fashionable’ 90’s hype or anything at all, genuinely it’s a huge, timeless favourite of mine that never leaves my bag!). Never fails at home, Al Green’s album ‘I’m Still In Love With You’ for simple soulful reasons….
We highly enjoyed listening to the mix you did for the series! talk us through it?
First step….make a rather splendid cup of tea, then spend an hour or so rooting out some strong possible candidates for selection. After much deliberation, narrow it down to a smaller selection, then make another cuppa. Plug mixer into laptop, place first record on platter, needle to record and vibe you’re way through for ‘x’ hours. I get asked to record house and techno mixes for numerous different sites and blogs regularly, but always like to turn things in a fresh and different direction every once in a while especially if I respect the people who ask me! I have mad respect for what you guys are doing at Mi Casa, so I took it upon myself to treat you to an insight into some of my favourite hip hop and r&b records of all time….
What’s been the musical progression for you and what can you tell us about your style as a DJ?
As a nipper I grew up listening to what my parents were playing (mother – soul, disco and a lot of reggae; father – mostly rock and roll and some chaka khan ha). I discovered hip-hop as I grew older which occupied a lot of my youth to be fair. Listening to likes of ‘The Ganja Kru’ through older friends, got me more into jungle and electronic music, before discovering a certain french duo around the same sorta time. Rinsing old Essential Mixes ripped from Radio 1, ultimately led me down the long and windy path of house and techno.
Since starting to mix, my style and approach has definitely changed and matured with age and listening experience (as does most peoples). I started out playing stuff that was reflective of my enthusiastic energy, always kinda striving for that club sorta atmosphere to be honest. Since getting more into record collecting, my electronic music taste has become a lot deeper and more musical, sometimes buying ‘house’ or ‘techno’ records I wouldn’t even play in a club environment. Along with buying bits for my bag, I also like to pick up records that have taken some rooting in and amongst dusty unlabelled crates, that you would never find anywhere near a nightclub. These are the gems I like to enjoy over a glass of red whilst cooking my dinner for instance…
If you could spend a day digging through somebody’s record collection?
J Dilla’s (R.I.P). Sounds rather cliché but he was a true beat genius who has inspired more people and musicians than I could ever name or think of! I haven’t met many people who aren’t a fan of his work! Also be very tasty to have a root through Cyril Etienne (aka DJ Deep’s) record collection. The guy is a true pioneer in all things electronic!
If you could, what year would you go back to?
Being allowed to stay at the age I am now, 1969. Put me in Sam Yasgur’s farm for Jimi Hendrix performing as the final Sunday act at Woodstock Festival, and that’d be my perfect weekend and era! Burning Man last year was also an amazing experience. Musically it wasn’t breath taking I have to be honest, but every other aspect of it was!! You could happily ‘teleport’ me (or by whatever means you plan to use) back to September last year as a start….
How do you view the current the scene at the moment?
Gotta be honest…not a huge fan of the word ‘scene’. Ultimately brings to mind thoughts of people who show up to a party just to be ‘seen’ and look cool ha! That brushed a side….i think the amount of parties available to any one person at any given weekend is crazy these days! For instance trying to find a reasonably quiet weekend to host a party in Manchester is hard work sometimes, usually clashing with other events i’d personally like to be attending. I think this is definitely a positive as it shows people and promoters have the hunger and determination to try and host something different, or invite a different guest dj to debut in their home town.
It could maybe be said that there are too many ‘similar parties’ in some given towns, but being different is what is deemed to be sustainable in my eyes. If you’re party is forward thinking and exciting, and you have a good music policy, you have a good thing going and you will last. So yeah…..plenty of strong parties happening in the ‘scene’ (as I mentioned earlier), which accommodate for all different tastes, so make sure to get your ass on a dance floor somewhere.
What do you do outside of dance music?
Outside mixing and collecting records, snowboarding is a big love of mine! In and amongst sport and reading, I try to find some time for beat making.
Where can we find you this summer?
I’m kicking off my summer warming up a Cardiff carpark for Italojohnson Sunday 26th May. Festival wise I will be playing at Troyfest and Parklife. As a punter, I will be enjoying the delights of Free Rotation, Glastonbury and possibly Meadows in The Mountains. Apart from that I intend on spending a couple of weeks lapping up the delights of Berlin once again this summer. I have travel plans in the pipeline and Berlin has a great mixture of everything I need and more (at an affordable rate).
The Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets – [Epic]
Big L – Fed Up With The Bullshit – [Columbia]
Slum Village – The Look Of Love – [Long Player Recordings]
Mobb Deep – Temperatures Rising – [Loud Records]
Imaginary Player – Jay-Z – [Northwestside Records]
Erykah Badu – …& on – [Motown]
Darryl Reeves – Dreamy – [Unknown]
A Tribe Called Quest – Against The World – [Golden Years]
Common – The Light – [MCA Records]
2pac – Do For Love – [Jive]
Darryl Reeves – Fantastic – [Unknown]
Notorious B.I.G – Unbelievable – [Bad Boy Entertainment]
Common – Funky For You – [MCA Records]
Notorious B.I.G – Another Ruff One – [Big Beat]
Caribou – Pelican Narrows – [Domino USA]
Flying lotus Feat.Andreya Triana – Tea Leaf Dancers – [Warp Records]
Fatima – Mind – [Eglo Records]