After celebrating it’s tenth anniversary last year, Lovebox will once again be taking over Victoria Park in East London this coming weekend. Running from Friday until Sunday, this year’s event has the biggest and most diverse lineup to date. It truly reflects the capital’s incredibly rich and eclectic music scene better than any other festival that takes place in the city.
Over the three days they’ll be welcoming sets from everyone from Jurassic 5, to Jamie Jones, Kenny Dope and Jazzie B to the likes of Flying Lotus, , Frankie Knuckles, DJ Harvey, Andrew Weatherall and Hurts.
Already London’s prized urban, inner-city festival, this lineup well and truly marks it as a cut above the rest. Add to that the banging weather that we have guaranteed for the weekend and you have got one hell of a few days ahead!
I Voice got on the phone to Richy Ahmed ahead of his performance on the mage stage on Saturday. We spoke to him about what he wants from a festival, his forthcoming compilation for Rinse and of course his plans for Ibiza this summer.
What do you look forward to most when playing a festival?
The line-up. I love playing festivals like Glastonbury where they're not just dance based. Being able to get away and see big bands and big hip-hop acts play - we went to see Chic play at Glastonbury and it was next level and such a refreshing change!
People were losing their shit seeing Chic, it was amazing. That sort of thing you don't get at places like Detroit and Sonar or Miami, so it's nice when you can see that musical heritage. That's why I love Glastonbury so much.
I love being in London it's one of, if not, my favourite places to play in the world. It's round the corner from my house, your crews there, London's a wicked crowd- I'm just really hoping it's gunna be quality.... As a festival-goer yourself, what are you looking for in a band / DJ’s festival performance?
As far as bands go I look for stage presence by the singer and the backing band and what they bring production wise- it's really nice to see bands really work the production side. I find lots of rap can be disappointing, I'm really into hip hop and I've been to so many gigs.
My most important thing is how good they are live as there as so many bands who are really sick bands but when I've gone to see them, a lot of rap acts especially, they're not good live they're definitely studio acts.
But then there are a lot of bands that get on stage and blow your mind like the Rolling Stones and the Prodigy and Snoop Dog- and they're the ones that have their live performance nailed down.
Do you get much chance to explore the festivals that you are playing at around your set?
It depends- some festivals I actually go to them, and I play cos I'm going to the festival like Secret Garden Party & Glasto.
Some festivals you can be in and out, but generally most festivals I go to I try to see as much as possible. A lot of dance festivals like Sonar and Miami WMC you just go to the afterparties or the OFF parties.
Which festivals do you enjoy going to the most? I know you are a big Glastonbury fan. What did you make of The Stones’ set?
My favourite festivals hands down are Burning Man and Glastonbury. They're completely different but without a doubt the best parties on the planet and my two staple not to miss festivals. These are the two times I see myself as having a holiday - I literally go on holiday and turn my phone off when I'm at them.
The Stones were amazing and it was so special to see them play. They were really good live- the piano, the live band, everything with their live performance was faultless, but one thing I will say is it was a little bit on the quiet side this year and there were a couple of people who were disappointed with the volume as you couldn't feel the music going through you- years before with Stevie Wonder and Beyonce the sound seemed louder.
Is playing Lovebox going to be extra special for you, being so close to your home in East London?
Yeah its gunna be special definitely. I love being in London it's one of, if not, my favourite places to play in the world. It's round the corner from my house, your crews there, London's a wicked crowd- I'm just really hoping it's gunna be quality.
This is the first time I've played the big stage at the festival, I played in the Kubicle tent before, so I'm really excited to play the festival properly.
What do you think has been the reason behind Lovebox’s growth from a small one day event into the three day weekender it is today?
I think Lovebox have built up the festival really well and they have clever bookings- you know the way they've have booked Grace Jones and Snoop Dog and that sort of vibe on a Sunday and the dance on a Saturday is really clever- they're appealing to London with it's massive wide range of musical heritage so as a festival they're keeping people happy on a lot of days.
People in London love a party and we didn't really have a cool daytime festival. As a festival I really like Lovebox, I think the bookings the past few years have been really good. They've diversified really well and catered for a lot of different people.
Would you say that your new Rinse compilation is representative of you as a DJ and the way you play?
It's a snapshot of the way I DJ definitely - I go through a lot of styles and I like to play a lot of different genres but you're restricted to the time on a disk- I move to genres quite quickly on the compilation but in a set the mix would be a much longer progression. I'm really happy with it though and every tune on there I would play out! At first I wanted it to just sound like how I play usually as lot of people don't know me.
You are the first DJ to mix the acclaimed compilation who has not been a regular on the station. Did that come with a certain pressure? Either to include music not necessarily associated with Rinse, or to not to go too wildly beyond its normal palette for example.
There was a certain pressure being the first proper House DJ to do the compilation and this is the first time they decided to make a change - so in that respect it was an honour! Any mix I take seriously but when it's out in stores and on a CD it's more difficult in terms of licensing and there's a lot more to think about. It touches a lot of different genres. I put lots of Chicago house, lots of garage in there, and I got people to make nine tracks exclusively for the mix so there's a lot of new material in there. I’m really happy with the results!
How did you find working on a compilation project? Was it a challenge condensing what you wanted to convey into 70 minutes or so?
It was a MASSIVE challenge- I'm not one of those DJS who stays on a linear blend or plays one type of music- so with what I wanted to convey on the mix it was really difficult- At first they wanted to keep it to 65 minutes but there was absolutely no way. All my mixes are 2 hours so yeah it was really difficult condensing it down to 70 minutes. I'm really happy with how it turned out though.
What are your plans for Ibiza this summer?
I live here in Ibiza. I share a villa with Jamie (Jones). I run Paradise with Jamie also and play there every second week on a Wednesday. At the moment I have to leave every weekend to play out and then come back on Monday to either play Circo Loco- or if not I'll get home to London to the studio. I like to get back to London at least twice a month for a few days to get my life in order. I've got a few more dates at Circo Loco and Paradise, and lots of after parties to play.
Catch Richy Ahmed @ Paradise - DC-10 - Ibiza, Spain
31st July, 07th August, 04th September, 18th September & 25th September
Carretera de las Salinas KM1, Sant Josep de la Talaia, Balears - Spain - 07817
|Richy Ahmed Online|