In anticipation of his appearance at our 1st Anniversary event next Friday, the amazing Ritzi Lee has put together a mix and answered a few of Alexis Yianna's interview questions for us. We feel honoured to have been given the time by one of our very favourite producers.
Interview (w/Alexis Yianna) :
In between the hustle and bustle of ADE – Ritzi Lee spared a few moments to chat to us about his techno journey to shed some light on what we can expect at his upcoming gig at the Loose Lips Anniversary party next Friday.
Ritzi is a veteran of the techno game at this point, playing gigs all around Europe for over 10 years and with a string of solid releases on many notable labels, he’s someone with obvious respect for the scene and his own artistic integrity.
I remember one of the first labels that helped me discover what techno is was Billy Nasty’s Tortured Records, and I'm quite proud to be a part of that label today. Back in the early nineties many labels catered to minimal or house music, and there was also a focus on the much harder “rave” style music, which was full of power but lacked the groove. Tortured, along with a few of the big artists that were coming up like Jeff Mills and Luke Slater with Planetary Assault Systems managed to produce a groovy, funky sound but also maintained the power and roughness of the techno vibe.
Ritzi was motivated to start his own label Underground Liberation when he saw a gap in the market for putting out music that was true to his techno philosophy and style.
My musical journey definitely started as a DJ, it’s very important being in the club setting and seeing how the crowd reacts to music. I always tried to reflect these sounds in my productions,thinking about what the crowd love to hear the most. I find it strange when DJs don't play their own music, you go see a DJ and his set is completely different to his productions, it confuses me! If I play music it’s because I’m 100%behind it, and on that philosophy is how I produce my own music. And one of the best things about that is I can discover that there are many other artists that feel the same way, whenever they play my tracks.
Once he began putting out his music he was quickly discovered by many notable artists including UK legends Dave Clarke and Ben Sims who signed him to Theory Records, where he has since released stand out banger “Reverse Processed”. Ben has been a supporter throughout Ritzi’s career,even contributing remixes Underground Liberation.
I’m all for timeless music – the funny thing about that release, is that it’s still played to this day, over 3 years later. I want all my music to belike that, not following trends but being true to the fans and myself as an artist.
One of the artists I truly admire is Jeff Mills and his ability to focus on his owns ound, he doesn’t follow trends. I try to do this with my own work, as an artist I want to create something not copy others.
Ritzi has seen the techno scene develop over the last 20years from one of the cities in arguably at the forefront of dance and club culture and talks very favorably about the network of artists he has had the opportunity to work with.
You know it’s crazy because in 94-95 techno wasn't really around in the clubs, now we're spoilt for gigs. It’s truly a golden time for techno. Dance culture and music might begin in one country, particularly the Netherlands or Belgium but it spreads throughout the world like waves in the ocean, or probably sound waves. There is a ripple effect where we see styles and sounds 2 or 3 years behind in countries through Eastern Europe or Asia, but artists are always communicating and working together and slowly it builds. Techno is a small and strong community.
We asked Ritzi what he sees on the horizon for himself and his music. With tracks already scheduled for release, including one on the up coming third release for Tommy Four Seven’s label 47, the future seems bright for this techno megastar.
I’m never sure where my music will progress, I’ll always be true to my techno philosophy but working with different labels and gaining experiences with different people definitely evolves the sound. An interesting story about collaboration came from working with Tommy Four Seven for a release on his label. There was a lot of interaction between he and I – we had an email conversation of over 100emails and what we ended up with was very similar if not the same as my original first draft of the project.
Interview conducted by Alexis Yianna.