Ronnie Spiteri (Kenja Records) Q&A

ronnieHow did you find the process of setting up your own label Kenja Records, and where does the name come from?

I had a dozen of tunes that were waiting to be released elsewhere and I was getting frustrated with release schedules that were given to me by the labels. As I work in the studio full time, I quickly came to danger of overflowing myself with lots of tunes that will potentially never be heard by anyone with a little or no outlet for what I was doing at the time. Setting up Kenja was extremely easy. Once I made up my mind it took me three days to get online distribution and set up the first release date. I always wanted to call my label ‘ Kenja’. I think it’s a great name as it has an Exotic ring to it. Makes me think of Three S’s , Sun, Sand and Sea!

Your latest, and the fifth, release from the label is: Bem Bem. Can you talk us through how you produced the track?

I produced ‘Bem Bem’ at the end of last year and it was waiting for the right vocal to come along . I had an old acapella sent to me by my Spanish friends who had recorded a singer called Diana in Ibiza 10 years ago! The guitar sample came from the same recording. When I heard those parts I got really inspired. All I had to do is to find the right place in the track and make those parts fit.

You are based in Southampton. What’s the club scene like there and can you tell us about your residency at Junk?

Giving birth to UK garage in late 90s, Southampton has always had great love for four to the floor groove ! This is a perfect city for House music and I’m really lucky to be born here. Junk club was pioneering the scene from the very start and has featured the biggest names from the genre from all over the world. They are a truly great platform for someone like myself. I’ve got a great opportunity to showcase my musical vision and play the records I believe in.


What plans do you have to expand the label?

I have big plans to expand the label. I have few artists that I will be introducing in brand-new releases in the very near future. I’m very exited for Kenja.

How important do you think it is to Produce as well DJ to help establish yourself?

Producing and Dj’ing is absolutely vital if you want to break the scene. There’s so much of great music out there and it’s really hard to get noticed. Going out and performing your own music in front of people is the only way in. The more you do it the better you get at it. I work in the studio pretty much every day and when I’m not there I’m planning my Dj sets. I take it very seriously because I love it.

Can you tell us about your influences, how did you learn to Mix and Produce?

My first musical memories came from my dad who was an organiser of illegal raves back in the early 90’s. He use to take me everywhere he went. So by the age of 10 I had seen every field and warehouse in Hampshire. I remember really liking House when I heard it for the first time.  Waking up to the pair of Technics decks in the morning and lots of FX racks stacked right next to my bed was my childhood!

I had my first spin at around 10 years old and at 14 I had my first gig. Production came later. I had some work at a local recording studio as an apprentice. That was really helpful as I picked up few tricks from the guys and gradually learned how to put the record together in my own home environment. My musical preferences are still being influenced daily. There’s so much great music out there that inevitably imprints my taste so when I’m producing my next record it naturally snicks in.

sonarWhere can people hear you play next?

I’m playing at Junk club every fortnight. Junk is the place where I can try out my new records and experiment with my sets. Otherwise I’m on Sonar Festival in Barcelona the weekend of 21st of June.


D’Julz (bass culture records) Q&A

The Bass Culture nights at the Rex Club have been running since 1997 which is undoubtedly a big achievement. Why do you think Bass Culture has been such a success for such a long period of time?

dj2Since day one the club gave me freedom and trust to invite the guest djs I wanted. Some were already popular but most of them were unknown (or became famous not long after) I only kept it the formula very simple: Me and 1 guest. So we had time to do longer sets. Most importantly, no matter if they were hot or not I only invited artists which I thought were great djs. And I’m very picky on this subject. So I guess the crowd recognised that along the years.

Your label of the same name is about to celebrate four years in existence with the release of: This is Bass Culture: 4 years of Bass Culture Records mixed by D’Julz. Can you talk us through how you choose the tracks, and how you went about mixing them for the compilation?

CD_coverIt’s important to say that this compilation is not a best off kinda cd. It’s a proper dj mix. So having a great flow was the priority for me. I also chose tracks from the back catalogue which I think were the most timeless and as diverse as I could to reflect all the different shades of the label. Therefore you will find music from the early days of bc, some more recent ones and a few forthcoming tunes. But the key was to have them all making sense together and tell a story.


DMC magazine review:

The album also includes some of your own productions: What U See in Me and Da Madness. Can you describe the process of producing one of the tracks, including any favourite pieces of studio equipment?

What u see in me is my first collaboration with my long time dj friend: Cassy. I had started to work on an instrumental using some of my gear (sh 101, 909, nordlead x2 ) and ablteton when she came to my studio to record her vocals. Then we finished the arrangement together. This track and a second one were pretty much finished in 2 days. They will be part of a ep that will be release this spring on bass culture.

Which artists inspire you most?

Miles Davis, Prince, King Tubby, Steve Reich… and 20 more.

As you started out in the early 90’s what are your thoughts on the current revival of the House sounds from that era, and what are your feelings on the culture of Disco re-edits?

There always been House, Techno and Disco revivals. It’s a cycle. When a new generation arrives they feel the need to discover the roots of electronic music. Later, generally a new trendy sound emerge and most of the time quickly fades away. It’s only the foundations that last.

What is the House Music scene like in Paris at the moment? Are there any places you would recommend?

bassIt’s never been as good as now. Seriously I wouldn’t  have imagined of somzthing like this to happen. New clubs are opening every month with programming that is as strong than what you can find in London or Berlin.
The Rex as never been as strong as today and there is also amazing new venues like Concrete, le Zig Zag , le Badaboum, la Machine  and lots of warehouse parties.

What are you looking forward to most in 2014?

I have some very strong new releases scheduled on bass culture including my ep with Cassy. I also have a new single coming out in the summer on Robsoul. Plus 2 different collaborations I started with Phil Weeks and Frank Roger. So 2014 will be a busy studio year for sure.