“I just want every release to be well received and to be as consistent as the last one.”
After a standard hectic weekend travelling from country to country, I called Richy Ahmed on a mellow Tuesday morning, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous calling one of the biggest names in modern house music. However I quickly relaxed as we got talking about a few topics, mainly based around his label ‘Four Thirty Two’, the reopening of fabric and keeping an original sound.
Q: How are things Richy? How has 2016 been for you?
A: How’s things mate? It’s been by far the most successful and busiest year I’ve had to date. I’ve gone and started my own label, I’ve been playing bigger parties and had a huge remix on New Order. Everything’s just being going from strength to strength.
Q: What would you classify as a “DJ” who’s made it?
A: I feel like when you get to a stage where you’re supporting yourself full time off of the music you’re making, the gigs that you’re playing, and when that is literally your main source of income. That is when I would classify a DJ as professional.
Q: What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming DJs making?
A: It has to be trying to sound like other people. To some people though that’s what they like and you can’t fault them on that. But most of the time it’s people trying to get gigs from copying someone’s sound. I think they’re not staying true to themselves and from not doing that, they feel it would be a longer journey to get where they want to be. It’s no disrespect to anyone everyone’s trying to get by at the end of the day
Q: You’ve started a new label under the name of Four Thirty Two. What’s the goal with the label?
A: The goal within the label to release quality music over quantity. I’m gonna schedule in around four to five releases a year. We’ve got original artwork for each release and also have full vinyl releases. But with the main focus of releasing quality tracks, not tracks that are necessarily gonna be big. But tracks that are gonna still be sounding good in 5 years time. The label won’t have any rigid sound for e.g “We make house or we only sign techno etc”. We’re totally open to all styles of music as long I think it’s quality, I don’t care if it’s really downtempo or a potential for a good remix. If I believe in it I’ll go with it.
Q: And it’s good you have that kind of headroom in your career to do these kinds of things, make the decision to start a label…
A: I’ve started it late, but as you said I’ve the headroom now to take this project on and not think to myself “Fuck I need to start selling some records” I just want every release to be well received & have the quality as consistent as the last one.
Q: It’s really more of a personal thing to you than anything?
A: Yeah It really is mainly a personal thing. I started the party brand before the label and that just sold out straight away. So the label is something that I can express myself further on.
Q: Your first release on the label was a great success. What type of artists and genres will you be aiming for in the coming year with the label?
A: Well If it’s from somebody completely unheard of I might get a remix from them. The names don’t have to be necessarily big, but it just needs to fall into the category of “quality music”. I’ve just done a ‘FourThirtyTwo’ mixtape with 3 releases on the label in the coming year so keep an eye out for that.
Q: Have you gained some valuable experience for your label already being A&R for Hot Creations?
A: Tonnes of experience mate. Just like listening and making music all tie in together so well. When listening to the music getting sent in, you get to listen to production quality and how it varies, dealing with people, sorting out contracts getting them signed off etc. But it’s main advantage Is I get to see trends before they start or after they’ve started to see what to keep away from. If I’m getting a handful of the same-sounding tracks I know not to make that kind of track or not to sign that kind of track. I can see where people want to follow a trend as most of them just want to get signed which is totally fine, but they will establish at a point that it’s not about following trends. That’s what you earn through A&R.
Q: How did yours and Jamies relationship begin?
A: We actually met in Ibiza in 2004, I was just going for the season and it basically just went from there. I’ve also got to speak to him on a daily basis in regards to Hot Creations matters, so it’s constant communication back & forth. We’ve been very good friends ever since then.
Q: You’ve just played in Dublin for a Hot Creations label party. How was it?
A: It was banging mate. Nice big venue, great sound system, the crowd was just ace as per usual. The Irish crowd are some of the best crowds in the world.
Q: Being from Newcastle, a strong city for underground music for many big artists like you, Patrick Topping and Cristoph, is there any emerging talent you see breaking through in 2017?
A: Mark Jenkyns he’s been involved in the industry for a while now, but he’s really coming through now. He has after maturing loads, his music is banging and he’s also got three huge EPs coming out. But you can really hear that his productions have really evolved over the year. Elliot Adamson is also another young lad who’s churning out huge tracks left, right and centre. He’s really found his style from the get-go. You’ve to most definitely keep an eye out for that guy.
Q: With the re-opening of fabric and the battle it took to get it back, it kind of gives a clear example of how strong the scene is on an international scale. Would you agree?
A: Completely mate. The governments are just so disconnected to the actual public. There’s so much money put into these huge corporations & business’s, but they forget what the people actually want. What conditions fabric is going to be like when it re-opens I don’t know. Fabric was like a fortress to get into in the first place. It’s one of the most tightly run, strict clubs I’ve ever been to. If fabric lost their licence, god knows who should be keeping their licence.
Q: There’s also the opening of the new 5,000 capacity venue in Docklands ‘Printworks’. Do you feel 2017 is going to be one of the biggest years for London?
A: It’s funny isn’t it, a few weeks ago everyone thought “This is the end of London, where do we go from here etc”. But now all of the sudden there’s clubs popping up everywhere. It’s just coming back to the way it was swiftly. I always say it in an interview ”We will always find a way to rave in London” because that’s what we do. We haven’t got the beach, we haven’t got the nice park, we haven’t got the lovely weather. We’ve got clubs & we’ve got music & this is what we do. And without it life is pretty fucking grim.
Q: Having previously played in fabric, what was one of the best moments for you?
A: The first time I played in room 1 I absolutely loved it. Playing in room 1 was just next level. But my favourite raving time had to be 2 years ago at the birthday when I watched Matthew Jonson play live. It was hands down the best set I’ve ever seen to this day.
Q: And just one more question before we sign off. Any big plans for the year of 2017 on a personal basis?
A: Of course lots of new exciting festivals to play at but mainly focused on FourThirtyTwo. I want to get everything up & running the way I visioned it. Getting the releases consistent and maybe at some stage getting the brand over to Ibiza at some point.
Q: That’s everything from me Richy. Thanks so much for chatting to us. Enjoy your day!
A: Thank you very much mate. Have a wonderful week!