Rich Wakley over the past fifteen years, in various guises, has been making his present felt. However, more recently, his production and DJing skills have been getting the recognition and applause they deserve.
Since his inception, Rich Wakley has had a string of successful releases and remixes on various first class record labels, most notably Suara, Roush and currently Santè’s Avortre. Throughout 2016, he continued to impress and has now become one of the leading artists to venture out of the UK.
UpFrontBeats caught up with Rich, to discuss his recent remix, future work and how he goes about spending the summer season.
For those who are unaware of your talents, can you tell us little bit about yourself and your musical journey. How did you go about becoming one of the UK’s most popular music producers?
Like most, I started my love affair with music by being a clubber way back in 98 at nights like Gatecrasher, Godskitchen and Cream. Shortly afterwards, I moved to Leeds to study, where I cut my teeth as a DJ at local nights. I spent most of my student loan on vinyl and before long, I had my first residency at Kiss Da Funk which allowed me to start playing all over the country as well as internationally. I’ve always been a DJ first and producer second so I’m still learning every day, but I’m grateful to be producing my own music and developing my own sound.
Your rise to fame has been astronomical, but what has been you biggest achievement to date? What’s your ultimate goal?
It has always been a goal of mine to release on Sante’s Avotre label, so to be asked to do a remix of his track ‘Endless’ for the House Lessons album was definitely a huge achievement for me. It’s my second remix for the label and I am hoping to release a full EP later this year. Look out for the remix at the beginning of my podcast mix.
My ultimate goal is to fulfil my full potential as an artist, to grow my fan base and continue doing what I love for as long as possible. I would love at some point to start my own record label brand and eventually run my own events.
You’ve been able to release your music on some of the biggest platforms around, but what has been your personal favourite? And why?
That’s a tough one, but it would have to be my ‘Wolf of Old Street’ EP on Leftwing & Kody’s Lost Records. This was one of my most successful releases and really got me noticed at an early stage. Both tracks did really well in the download charts, and Truffle Shuffle was also played on Radio 1.
The summer is just around the corner, what do you have in store? Are we able to catch you DJing at any festivals this season?
My summer diary is filling up nicely and I’m looking forward to playing some Ibiza shows for Faction and Twisted Fusion. I’m also excited to be playing Xstatic Festival, Home Festival and headlining Music Barn Festival in Kettering as well. Summer is coming!
Your next release sees you remix Sante’s Endless, but can you describe to us what needs to be in the perfect track and how would you describe you sound?
For me, it’s all about the groove and the hook, whether it be vocal, synth or drum based. A track has to be memorable but also work on the dance floor. With so much music around that sounds the same you have to do something different. The best records will always stand the test of time. I would describe my sound as underground tech-house. I love the really raw warehouse 909 vibe as well as the old school jackin’ sounds with the occasional acid house gem thrown in.
A lot of artists seem to be suffering with anxiety, but how do you like to relax and keep you mind fresh?
Exercise and eating healthier are very important, especially as the years go on. I chose the word ‘healthier’ as I am far from perfect but I am trying to improve my diet all the time. I also go to the gym and also try to meditate when I get the chance. As with any job, being a touring DJ has its obstacles and tough times. I’ve been through my fair share but you have to focus on the positive and always believe in yourself and your music. Time management and prioritising is also key in keeping the mind fresh. Making the division between work time and relaxation time can be difficult, as I see my career as more of a lifestyle than a job, but you have to make sure you have some down time, which will then allow you to concentrate on being creative.
We’ve just dusted off them January blues, but what’s next for Rich Wakley?
I have some great releases in the pipeline on labels such as Avotre, Roush, Suah, Incorrect and a new label from ANOTR called No Art. At the end of March, I am also releasing my first Twisted Fusion compilation with an exclusive continuous mix. I was asked by the crew to compile and mix the release, which allowed me to tap up some of my favourite artists for their latest material. I’m really proud of the results and I’m looking forward to sharing this with everyone.
I also have an Australia tour coming up in May/June with dates in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. It’s been a long time since I was there and I can’t wait to be back. Such a beautiful Country with amazing people and strong music scene. After this I’ll be gearing up for Sonar, Ibiza and of course ADE in October.
We are extremely passionate about pushing aspiring artists, but in your opinion, is there anyone we should be looking out for?
In my opinion Alvaro Smart is one of the most underrated producers out there. Everything he does is consistently on point. His remix of my track ‘In The Place’ is huge and I have an absolute bomb from him on the Twisted Fusion compilation. Also three of my favourites on the rise are Ovidi Adlert, Fancy Inc. and Mr Jefferson. And keep your eye out for some new talent from Argentina, Sanchez Gonzalo and Jonas De Narvaez. They will be making moves this year!
It’s a question we ask everyone, but what would you say has been your favourite classic track and why?
My favourite track of all time is New Order ‘Blue Monday’; it’s a seminal track that’s had a huge influence on my musical career and been a massive source of inspiration for me personally. This track is the biggest selling 12″ single of all time and when you hear it you know exactly why. The distinctive 16th note kick drum intro, programmed on an Oberheim DMX, followed by the slightly out of time sequencer melody, is absolutely unmistakable and one of the most recognizable starts to a track ever. I will never forget the first time I heard it. Truly one of the best tracks ever made and I still play it in my sets to this day.
Can you describe to us what’s it like being a touring artist? What has been your personal highlight?
I love travelling, so for me it’s a dream. It’s great to have the opportunity to experience so many different countries and cultures, and of course to experience each places own individual atmosphere, music scene and people. It can be lonely at times and of course exhausting when travelling across time zones, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. For me Argentina has always been my favourite place to play. Buenos Aires in particular is my favourite city. I’ve had some amazing experiences there and met some friends for life. The vibe, the clubs and the people are awesome. Their passion for music and life is unparalleled. Put it on your list!
Where can we catch you playing next?
I’m playing in Mannheim for a new club called Homebase on the 18th March and I am also making my debut in Birmingham at Amusement 13 for the Loka crew on the 25th March alongside SEFF, Hauswerks and Michael Bibi. I also have a Lost Records Showcase at the end of April at Cosmic Ballroom in Newcastle.