Jim Rider is a seasoned veteran of the industry, and has been a key figure in the London scene throughout the years as both a producer and promoter. After an extended break from the studio, Jim has revived his artistic drive in incredible fashion. With a recent release on Lee Burridge’s surging Tale & Tone, as well as upcoming work with Kindisch, Rider has the attention of the dance community’s most influential tastemakers. We are thrilled to be a part of Rider’s musical resurgence, and ecstatic with his debut on the label.
Belugdeh, Jim’s first track on the release, is a house-laden kicker. A wicked afro-rhythm asserts foot moving energy, with a memorable vocal loop and synthy stabs culminating for an amazing debut for XYZ.
Rider displays his knack for more melodic elements on Five Ways. A teasing intro gives way to a sturdy low end, with a fluttering electro melody placing the track in afterhours territory.
Now that we’ve had a few days for the two beauties to sink in, we caught up with Mr. Rider to discuss how the tracks came to be, as well as the amazing shift in production style we’ve seen from the Brit as he rejoins the dance community.
WWD : Jim, thanks for joining us today. Belugdeh has been a huge favorite of the office staff for some time now, and we are thrilled to finally see its release.
Rider – Thanks for having me!
Thank you, i’m excited for people to finally hear it. It’s the first of a run of tracks I made last year after some time away from music. The name “Belugdeh” comes from a ridiculous sample that’s hidden in there under a load of fx, it was a bit of an “inside joke” with some friends. Google “Jesy Nelson Jamaican Accent”, good luck finding it in the track though 😉
WWD : It seems your debut on XYZ is coming at a very exciting time in your career. You’ve had a recent EP on Tale & Tone, which is one of our favorite labels at the moment. How did you first connect with Lee Burridge?
Rider – Yeh, fingers crossed it’s going to be a good year!
The “Just A Beat” EP came out at the start of December and is the first music i’ve released in 2 or 3 years. I actually made the lead track 3 years ago and it was by far the most melodic track i’d ever made. It always got a good reaction when I played it out but I never did anything with it.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Lee Burridge, I go and see him whenever he plays in London but i’d never met him. I sent the track to him as a Soundcloud message and didn’t expect anything back then I got a reply out of the blue saying he’d like to release it on Tale & Tone which he runs with Hoj.
It was a complete shock and inspired me to get back in the studio and explore making deeper, more melodic music. I literally had no other finished tracks at that point. I then made the b-side and i think gave it to him on a USB at Fabric after we’d finally met.
I owe Lee a lot for inspiring me to get back into making music (i’ve probably made two albums worth of music since that Soundcloud message) and you’ll struggle to meet a more genuine person in the industry than him!
WWD : Belugdeh and Five Ways have quite different vibes, and are a great display of your range as a producer. Tell us about your path as a producer, traversing different styles and genres.
Rider – I was first in a duo called Boean around 5 or 6 years ago, the bassy/housey stuff we made did well for a bit but definitely had a shelf life (we were young!). A few years later I put some heavier tracks out under my actual name, most notably with Toolroom and Flashmob Records but i never really followed them up so I eventually stopped.
I think the main difference this time round is that i’m making music for myself rather than feeling like I have to fit a style which is an easy trap to fall into as a producer. I’m now using far more live instruments and the main difference is when I sit down to start a track I have no idea how it will end up, that can only be a good thing.
WWD : You’re coming off an extended break from the studio. Can you tell us about the circumstances that led to the time off, and what you were doing career-wise during that period?
Rider – Life got in the way to be honest. I was in a long term relationship and my marketing career had moved away from promoting clubs, gigs and festivals to working directly with brands so I naturally spent less time around music.
I also helped set up a marketing agency here in London called “On The One”, working on campaigns around themes like gender equality and LGBT+ inclusion which is something i’m also hugely passionate about.
WWD : How did your experiences as a promoter contribute to you exploring the production side of the industry?
Rider – The good thing about being a promoter is that you can book yourself to support the big headliners! Haha. In all seriousness though, without being lucky enough to play to big crowds week in week out I wouldn’t have the experience I have now. I’m forever grateful to the people that gave me those opportunities, especially the guys from Fire & Lightbox where I worked for 2/3 years.
You can’t help but learn and pick things up when you’re hearing different music every week from some of the world’s best artists. It could be Booka Shade one week then Todd Terry the next so it was a really diverse mix of music which I think has impacted my sound.
WWD : You were formerly part of a duo, Boean. While no longer making music together, you can probably speak to how the modern electronic scene fosters and supports collaborative projects.
Rider – Collaborations for me always come down to the vibe you get when you first meet someone whether that’s in person or online. Jackson and I met through another music friend and just got on really well. Independent labels and promoters foster those relationships by bringing like-minded people together and are vital in supporting that creativity.
WWD : Festivals are seeing a bit of a refreshing renaissance in the last couple years. Labels, promoters, and artists themselves are all crafting thoughtful, unique, and genuine events all over the world. What are some of your favorite parties of late?
Rider – I kept in touch with the Anjunadeep guys after promoting their first London shows a few years back so I was lucky enough to play at their Anjunadeep Explorations festival in Albania in the summer which was unbelievable. Beautiful location, hands down the nicest festival crowd i’ve seen, my music went down really well and I made some friends for life that week.
On home soil i’m looking forward to the first Warm Up Festival this summer. They throw some pretty mad parties in London so looking forward to what Aidan and the crew do with a festival. Everything Will Be OK is also a London favourite of mine, Josh & Vali are constantly bringing some of my favourite artists to London and I think they’re in for a big year. Interlude is another one to watch!
Do Not Sit On The Furniture is going from strength to strength. Not only is the label putting out great music but they’re now throwing parties all over the world, I went to one of their Ibiza shows which was pretty special. All Day I Dream and Rumors both come to London soon too so i’d expect i’ll be at both of those.
WWD : Where do you see small, niche labels such as XYZ fitting into the current landscape when it comes to releasing music?
Rider – Labels like XYZ are a vital part of the landscape and even though they have an international roster of artists I feel like it really represents the vibe musically in Montreal. Personally, it opens me up as an artist to whole new community of people who have never heard of me which is always a positive. The good ones also don’t stay small for long!
WWD : We hear you have your own label in the final stages of development. Huge congratulations! What can you tell us about the upcoming project?
Rider – I do yeh, i’m really excited about it. I’ve been working on it in the background for the last 6 months or so and I can’t wait to get it all live.
The label is called Signs and launches in a couple of weeks with the first release at the end of February. There were a few things (or “Signs”) that pointed towards me starting it (thus the name) and i’ve always enjoyed the process of creating something from scratch whether that’s musically or with brands so it’s been fun to work on so far.
The ethos of the label is to just put out music I like from artists around the world that I respect including a mix of up and coming artists and some that are more established. I’m currently building a really nice release schedule for 2020.
“El Escorpion EP” is the first release with two of my tracks and a killer remix from Fluida. I met them on the transfer to Anjunadeep Explorations in the summer and we ended up spending most of the week together. We’ve remained good friends so it’s a pleasure to have them involved with the first release.
If you follow @soundofsigns on Soundcloud, Instagram & Facebook you’ll be first to hear it and we’re having a little launch party in London on Feb 29th (on a leap year too, another sign!), details on that soon.
WWD : What non-musical activities, interests, and hobbies do you fill your time with?
Rider – I’m lucky enough to really enjoy my day job (most of the time) and get to work with some great people so outside of that and making music it doesn’t leave time for much else. I play football to keep fit and i’m a big Birmingham City fan but they’re shit at the moment, which is a shame. I love eating, not so keen on cooking, also probably drink too much.
WWD : Which producers, live acts, and DJ’s are catching your ear these days?
Rider – I could list them all day…
Newman, Behrouz, Gab Rhome, &ME, Adam Port, Lee Burridge, Amonita, Blond:ish, Just Her, Armen Miran, DSF, Mark Alow, NenaHelena, Hermanez, Fluida, Timanti, Volen Sentir, Tim Green, Atish, Rodriguez JR, Adisyn, Sabo, Robbie Akbal, Evren Furtuna, Lost Desert, Seb Leger, Modd, Dee Montero, Rey & Kjavik…
… and most of the music released on Innervisions, Keinemusik, All Day I Dream or Shanti Moscow Radio.
Outside of DJing, the new Kaytranada album is ridiculously good and i’ve been listening to a lot of Anna Mieke lately too (incredible voice!). Both Foals albums from last year are still on heavy rotation as is Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.
WWD : As you continue your resurgence, what can we expect in terms of releases as we begin 2020?
Rider – Following on from the Tale & Tone and XYZ releases the next one will be the “El Escorpion” EP on Signs. The tracks are “El Escorpion” and “Archipelago” with a Fluida remix of the latter. I’ve also got something with HMWL and an EP on Kindisch plus a couple of releases i’m not allowed to talk about just yet 😉
WWD: Jim, thanks a million for catching up with us. We couldn’t be happier with your debut on XYZ, and we look forward to working with you in the near future!
Rider – You’re welcome. Thank you so much for your support and having me on the label!
Purchase Belugdeh and Five Ways – https://www.beatport.com/release/blanche-i/2800627
Connect with XYZ – https://linktr.ee/wwd.xyz