Big Miami release from the Defected crew...
Franky, welcome to DMCWORLD. How has 2012 been so far...
"Hi Dan. 2012 is already shaping up to be the best year so far. On the horizon for this year are gigs in amazing places like Ibiza and Dubai, so it seems that this year will be featuring lots of touring abroad, which I love. I’m also very excited about my new productions, which will be released in the next few months on Defected. My new tracks feature vocals by vocalists like Divine Essence and upcoming London star London Tess Leah. I can’t wait to release these tracks! Normally, January is a quiet month, but not this year. It’s already taken me to places like the Carribean and Estonia; all unforgettable gigs. If this is setting the trend for 2012, I’m in for lots of amazing moments!"
What are your own experiences of Miami?
"I was 19 years old when I first visited the WMC (this year will be my 4th time). The minimum age limit for clubs is 21, but somehow I managed to get into my favourite party every time. This made it even more exciting to enter an amazing club like the Liv. Each year Miami is flocked with people for the same purpose, partying. You notice it immediately when walking down the main streets. It doesn’t matter if you’re into glossy superclubs, pool parties or undergound venues, there is something to be found for everyone. But I have to say that overall it’s a bit more glossy and over the top than for example the Amsterdam Dance Event. You can see this in the supercars driving down the streets, the amount of VIP tables on the dancefloors and the size of all the ladies’ breasts! A regular day during WMC would consist of a killer poolparty in the afternoon followed by an amazing clubnight, although an absolute must-see is the Ultra Music Festival. For me it’s still the biggest and amazing festival I've ever seen, and it seems to be getting crazier each year."
Do you think anyone really gets any work done in Miami anymore? Or is it all about the party?
"For me Miami is definitely more about the party. Sure there is business being done and meetings being scheduled, but the best networking is done at the parties. Personally my main goal in Miami is to get inspired by all the great music. I don’t go clubbing myself very often, because most of the time I have to DJ. I think it’s good for DJ’s and producers to experience a club night from the other side of the DJ booth as well."
Who were the DJ’s you grew up idolising, the ones that really impressed you?
"There are a lot of DJ’s that impressed me and I grew up idolising, varying from the DJ in the local bar to the big names around the world. But the duo that really got me hooked to dance music was Daft Punk. The first album I ever bought was Homework, which I played in my room non-stop."
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?
"I’ve always had the urge to do something with music, especially around age 12 when I first started out producing. I had so much fun that I’ve been addicted to it ever since. When I had my first gig in a club (age 15) I knew that this was what I wanted to do. At first it’s something you work on unconsciously, and then you start to realise that this is what you love to do."
Over the years that you’ve been producing, your talents have obviously progressed. When you look back at some of your early records, are you still pleased with how they sound?
"As an artist you are constantly progressing and improving. Looking back on it, I did have releases that I now think are not good enough to be released, but it’s part of the process. I think that when you listen to my earlier productions you hear that I was searching for my own identity, as my productions are very different from each other. This did however give me a way to look at all genres and decide which way to go. In the end I don’t have any regrets of earlier tracks, I feel like I always followed my heart when I produced them."
Some of your productions have been compared to DJ Gregory’s previous works. Do you think that’s a fair comparison?
"DJ Gregory is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and to be compared to him is a very big compliment. I understand the comparison in sound because we have a big focus on drums. But Gregory has been in this game much longer than me, and has a far more amazing discography than I do. So no, I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. I hope that it will be some day though."
You’ve said previously that there’s a danger when DJs to take on too many gigs that the scene gets saturated and people get bored…how do you make sure this happens but at the same time build your profile, as you’re doing now?
"The main thing is keep working on your DJ set. Impress people, but not with the same tracks as the previous DJ. Try to be an individual and bring your own sound. Also, making your own edits that people only hear in your sets keeps things interesting, and makes it worth coming to see a DJ play."
As you’ve said, to a point DJing is about being able to play records that not every other DJ is also playing. Now that it’s so easy to find music online, how do you make sure your sets are unique?
"I edit almost every track I buy in Logic or Ableton. This way I make sure a track is unique and does maximal damage on the dancefloor. Adding live accapellas and playing your own productions also adds to a unique set. Another thing that most DJs forget is that you don’t need to play new records only. An old record or classic can be just as surprising as a new promo, and can really set a great mood. It all comes down to good preparation and knowing the effect of the tracks on the dancefloor."
Tell us about your new Defected Miami mix…what were you trying to achieve with it?
"With my mix I tried to recreate the way I play. I always try to take people on a journey through different beats, grooves and vibes, but it still has to fit. My CD starts out with an accapella by Mike Dunn which fits with the old-skool vibes of the first tracks, Chez Damier’s ‘Can You Feel It’ and Tuccillo’s ‘Sexophonista’. These tracks are slowly followed by tougher grooves and big breaks while ending on a sensitive note, leaving you completely refreshed and ready to hit the clubs!"
Are there any particular tracks you’d like to highlight?
"There are a lot of tracks I’d like to highlight as they are all special to me and serve a different purpose. The main two things I want to highlight are two new tracks of mine called ‘Real Love’ and ‘Time’ with amazing vocals from Divine Essence. I wanted to show the different sides of me with these tracks. With ‘Real Love’ I tried to combine melodies, basslines and percussion into track. The second track is ‘Time’, where I tried to create a darker vibe using big chords and a big breakdown with spoken words by Divine Essence."
With so many podcast and mixes freely available these days, what can you do to make a commercial mix like this an attractive proposition for people to go out and spend money on?
"This can be achieved in multiple ways. It may sound obvious, but it starts with a good quality track selection, making sure the CD has long listening value. Also it’s important to have exclusive tracks and special versions that can only be found on the CD. For example, I re-arranged and added more focus on the drum groove to ‘Munster’ by Leroy Styles. This version can only be found on this CD. With so many podcasts and mixes it’s hard to find quality mixes that you really like between all the thousands of DJs spamming the internet with their sounds. This makes it worth spending money on something you know is quality."
What’s been the proudest moment in your career to date?
"My proudest moment by far has been playing at Ushuaia for Defected. It has always been my dream to play in Ibiza. This gig exceeded all of my expectations and I can’t wait to get back there again!"
What do the next few months hold in store?
"The next few months will be all about travelling and producing. I visited some amazing places last year and it seems to be getting even better in the next few months. Release-wise I have three EPs ready to be released on Defected, two of them scheduled for March and April. Right now, I’m mostly focusing on my own productions and less on remixes."
Anything else you’d like to tell us about…?
"If you want to check out my new tracks, please visit my Soundcloud page at http://www.soundcloud.com/frankyrizardo. Thanks for reading, thanks for the support and see you in Miami!"
Defected In The House:
As Miami as it gets: Franky Rizardo, Treasure Fingers and Noir bring you three stunningly diverse mixes of house music.
Defected In The House Miami ‘12
Mixed by Franky Rizardo / Treasure Fingers / Noir
Out: 27th February on 3CD and download