Exclusive Interview: Richy Ahmed

Richy Ahmed is a powerhouse of the dance music world. Playing regularly all over the world, giving the dance floor a thorough pounding at every opportunity while also having the time of his life and spreading positive vibes to all and sundry, he’s one of our favourite DJs here at Deep House London. On 3rd May Richy plays Magna Carta’s epic show, which is taking place at the Brixton Academy no less! With a few weeks to go until the event, we had a chat with Richy about what he’s been up to…

How has your DJ style evolved as you have played more and more – are you still learning? Are you different now than when you first started?
Yes, of course I’m still learning. Any DJ who says they don’t need to learn anymore isn’t a good DJ. In 15 years I’ll still be learning. It’s a neverending process. In terms of how I’ve evolved; I’ve got better! I think the major difference is, when you are up and coming you have a certain style, and then when you start playing to big rooms you realise that a lot of music that you like and love doesn’t work in that setting. So you learn to adapt.

You’ve recently given away your edit of The Foals, you seem to be doing more and more edits, how do you approach these? Is anyone off limits or can you tweak anything?
Well, I’ve got to like the tune first and foremost. Then I listen to it and see if there is something I can work with and go from there. No one’s off limits. But, I generally do edits when I’m doing a mix so there is something exclusive in the mix.

Last year you dropped your debut Essential Mix. How did you approach the track selection?
I tried to look at it like a really long after hours session, with peaks and troughs, using different styles of house and techno but also showcasing other genres.

With your own productions like Sneaky Acid and The Bells, has it got easier or harder to produce over the years?
It’s always hard to be honest. I think with experience I have improved. I can tell that my ear has got better. Things that I may have thought were good enough previously I would now know need more work and that comes with experience.

Analogue gear is all the rage right now…tell us about your favourite gear.
It’s got to be the Moog Voyageur. I got it last year and it’s an absolute monster. I just think the sounds amazing. It’s mint.

You’ve been known for your eclectic music tastes, tell us what you’re listening to at the moment outside of house and techno.
I’ve been listening to some old Big Daddy Kane albums recently. What I do with rap music is I’ll go back and listen to old albums by artists I love. It reminds of certain times and people from my past.

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You play Magna Carta in London soon – what should people expect from your performance?
Well hopefully they should expect to be dancing! But seriously, they should expect lots of energy, progressions from raw house all through the spectrums to techno. A lot of love and good music.

How do you like playing gigs in the UK vs. the rest of the world ?
Personally, I love playing in the UK. What I love about the scene here is you get booked to play in these way out little towns and you think it might be a bit pony. Then when you get there it’s wicked, the sound systems are always good, the crowds are knowledgeable and it goes off. As a bonus you can get back home the next day as well. But don’t get me wrong I love playing everywhere I get booked. I love playing in Italy; they have a similar vibe to us. And I’ve just started playing more in Germany and I really enjoy it for different reasons. They are a bit harder to win over the Germans, so it’s a challenge for me to go over there and I want to prove myself.

If you could own one record no other DJ was allowed to play, what would it be and why?
Fucking hell… That’s a tough question. You’d want the biggest hit ever wouldn’t you? You’d want something like ‘You’ve Got The Love’ to be honest. Can you imagine being the only DJ who could play it, everyone would want to come and see you play just to hear it! And it wouldn’t be rinsed either.

What are your plans for Ibiza this summer, and what’s your involvement with Paradise?
I’ve got a lot of gigs over the summer but I’m only going there to DJ. I’ll be flying back and forth from London where as previously I’ve stayed there all summer. I’ve got a really good gig schedule so far though – I’m doing eight gigs for Paradise, three gigs for Circoloco, the Amnesia opening party, three Music On parties and one gig at Space. With maybe some more to be announced.

As for Paradise, I’ve been there from the start – I actually thought of the name! We were going to change the name every year after a tune that Jamie had brought out but we just stuck with it in the end. My involvement is I’m the main resident and I actually pick the acts with Nick, with Jamie overseeing it all. The line-ups this year are next level; there’s a really good mix of old school legends, top techno and house guys and new blood. I’m really proud of it.

What has the rest of 2015 got in store for Richy Ahmed?
Hopefully a lot more releases on different labels not just Hot Creations. Lots of touring – I’m playing in some new countries and venues. Summer will be about festivals and Ibiza and I’ve got some stuff I can’t announce yet towards the back end of the year but watch this space.

Words: Ian Fleming

Richy Ahmed plays Magna Carta’s Ibiza send off at the O2 Academy Brixton on May 2nd – www.O2academybrixton.co.uk

Richy Ahmed Artist PageMagna Carta Facebook Page