From Grand Central's odd hip-hop inspired chop shop comes Riton (aka 23 year-old Henry Smithson) and his debut album of sweltering digital funk, house, breaks and crazily diverse instrument choices that range from the traditional to the digital cut-up editing and Mr. Scruff style synth-lines. After tightening up his production and DJ skills in college, Riton dropped his first two 12" for Grand Central. His debut Take Control and Habib were championed by Richard Dorfmeister, Andrew Weatherall, Mark Rae and others and lead to the release of his debut Beats Du Jour. By combining his love for hip-hop, digital funk, and house, he creates tracks that are gritty and filled with wacked out sound selections. On top of all that he runs his own Switch recordings label and can whip up a slamming DJ set every time.

Tell us a little about your music background and influences.
My first serious musical influence came from listen to indie bands such as The Smiths. As a young lad, my friend's older brother got us in to it early on and we thought we were totally cool for listening to this weird guy singing morbid and quite effeminate stuff. From that I got in to the more 'laddish' Happy Mondays. When I bought their records I found myself listening more to the B-sides with the Balearic house mixes from Oakenfold (sorry, he was good then) and Weatherall. This progressed me to house, which then led to breakbeats, hip-hop soul, funk and just about anything weird that grooved.

We hear your doing quite a bit of work as a DJ. How would you describe style?
I've played pretty much (and still do) ever type of left of center music since I started DJing at 15. I like playing loads of disco and rare grooves and some mad off kilter house, electronic stuff and shit with big basslines!

How did you hook up with Grand Central?
I used to DJ at a night in my home town of Newcastle and often Mark Rae and Mr. Scruff would come and play and through that I got to give Mark some twelve's that I put out on my label. He liked them and asked if I wanted to come to Manchester to work in Fatcity with view to recording for Grand Central.

Did you see yourself accomplishing so much at a young age?
I've been working with music and DJing since I was fifteen and it's been the main focus of my life so far, so it hasn't come that quickly to me.

Riton's view on the state of hip-hop?
Fairly uninspired by most of the independent shit that's coming out but obviously the likes of Timberland, Neptunes etc are definitely pushing the boundaries of pop music into a new dimension.

Tell us about Switch Recordings.
Switch Recordings was created when I was at college as a project for my HND Music Technology studies. It was initially a platform for me to put out my productions but over the years more artist have come to me and I have found myself creating a spring board for them to get started as well. Future projects include an LP from Bamboo Soul, further releases from Alistair Colling who has recently been signed to NY based label 'Central Park' .A really exciting project for the label is a release from 9 piece jazz outfit 'Sasso'.

Any plans of playing the U.S.?
No plans yet, but I'm open to offers.

Why did you pick to work with Hydn Ruffley and Chris Jam?
Chris jam is an M.C. from the regular night I do in Manchester and hyden is the lead singer song writer from bamboo soul, who have released 3 EPs on Switch

If you could collaborate with anyone it would be?
On my last LP I wanted to do a track with Madlib, but it never worked out, it would be nice maybe if that happen some day. But to be honest its more easier working with some one your already friends with.

Please tell us any secret projects you may be working on or secrets you know.
Ehmm. . . no!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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