London-based DJ and producer RuN RiOT is one of the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing dance acts. His debut Lose Yourself EP hit top 10 in both the DMC and Cool Cuts charts and featured heavily in the latest Need For Speed and Ridge Racer games (including the global trailer), clocking up over a million views on YouTube. His follow -up Kill Them EP gained national UK radio support from the likes of Skream & Benga and Annie Nightingale as well as heavyweight club DJs Doctor P and Noisia.
‘Free If You Wanna Be’ is the name of his new original EP. The four-track banger touches on Electro, Breaks, Big Beat and Dubstep. It features Manchester-based MC Lomax and frequent collaborator Doll on vocals.
Read on for my Q&A with RuN RiOT as I speak with him about the EP, sub-genre barriers in EDM and the importance of social media.
Your new EP is out now and you definitively didn’t confine yourself to one specific genre. Why did you choose for an EP with a variety of genre’s on it? Aren’t you afraid that it will also confuse fans who are only into one specific genre? (There are still a lot of people out there that link an artist to a genre)
People like to create sub-genre barriers in EDM, more so than any other genre. They might like Electro but dislike House or be into Dubstep but not Drum and Bass. For me, it shouldn’t be any different than say Rock music. You wouldn’t find folks complaining about a rock band changing tempo or playing a song with a different beat. In fact, you expect it. I like to think that people who are into my stuff know that I won’t make the same track over and over. When I write music it is based on what feels right and not on what I think I need to do to fall into a box. My main influences are from the Big Beat world where anything goes and it’s much more fun not knowing where your track is going to end up.
How did you meet up with MC Lomax and how was it to work with him?
I first heard Lomax on a track by Sonny Wharton seven or so years back. I really liked his voice so I hit him up for a collaboration. The original demo that we created was a lot more raw and Breaky. I liked what we had done but felt that the track was missing something. I sat on the vocal for around five years before putting it to a new beat. I striped back some of the musical elements to give the vocal room and this turned into ‘Free If You Wanna Be’. Lomax is a really talented MC and I’m sure we will work together again in the future.
Which track of the new EP do you currently play the most in your sets and why?
Both ‘Dutty Bass’ and ‘Level Up’ work well live. This is what I created them for really. They are both rocky and high energy, plus there are a lot of parts for me to play around with so they are fun to perform too. ‘Level Up’ has especially gone down well as it contains a big change up in the middle where it goes off on a tangent then it comes back around to the main hook.
I think it’s impossible to not use social media to promote artists nowadays. It’s great to share content but there is also a lot of negativeness behind it and maintaining different accounts is time consuming. What is your view on the use of social media for promotional use?
You’re right, using social media is essential for artists today. It is the only way to properly promote yourself and maintain your profile. The downside is that you do not have the benefit of someone organising your posts for you it can take up a lot of time that you would otherwise spend making music. Nothing beats building relationships with followers and using social media is a great way of doing this. However, you do have to think twice about what you share as this can reflect on you as an artist. Posting that funny cat pic or multiple viral videos when you want to be taken seriously is something to steer clear of.
You must have read that SoundCloud removed 70% of Kaskade’s content 2 weeks ago. Because of that he decided to work on a platform which lets him share music himself. How do you think music will be shared five years from now and will we still pay for it or will artist get (a more fair) income from other sources?
Copyright has always been a hot topic. I remember hearing back when Jason Nevins bootlegged Run-D.M.C. for ‘It’s Like That’ he only received a few grand because he did not own the copyright. He turned the track into a multi-million selling smash but the label were able to take the position of owning the recording, as though they had created the bootleg themselves. Something is fundamentally wrong there.
My own experience in creating this EP throws up something similar. ‘Level Up’ had originally contained a 4 bar vocal sample from a little-known Breaks track. It only appeared twice (about 14 seconds of my 5:22 minute track) but the label wanted 60% of all income. Labels could be making a fortune through bootlegs, remixes and licensing samples but they are instead shooting themselves in the foot.
I’m sure that Kaskade’s tracks would be reinstated on Soundcloud with permission from his label but for sure not being able to post your own music is a kick in the teeth. I can’t say where things will be five years from now but artists receiving income from sales will certainly be a thing of the past, if it isn’t already! It is fair to say that anybody under the age of 30 does not buy music. This is why as an artist building and maintaining your profile is more important than ever in order to earn income from gigs and selling merchandise etc.
What’s your favourite movie of all time and why?
This is a tough one as I’m a big film nut. It’s got to be Fight Club. It has everything – a great storyline, insane acting (literally), a twist… For those that haven’t seen it, watch it!
Which three tracks couldn’t you miss in your life?
I could list 100 easily…
The Prodigy – Firestarter
Queens of the Stone Age – A Song For The Dead
Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
What do you see yourself doing five years from now? Do you have any special goals?
With any luck I will be doing the same thing as I am now; developing my sound, improving my production, performing live and doing everything my way. Maybe I will have released an album by then. My main goal though is to be in the position where I can embark on my own headline tour, taking my live rig from town to town and country to country. That’s the dream 😉