Today we talk with RIVEN.
After branding himself in the Atlanta EDM scene for around 8 years, RIVEN speaks to us about his influences, support system, and entering the music industry at only 12 years old.
When I first saw you perform, I was amazed that someone as young as yourself was up there playing music. At what age did you start to take an interest in DJing/ Producing?
It was crazy being able to perform in the EDM world at such a young age. I started getting interested in electronic music around the age of 9, and after researching how to create/perform that kind of music I started looking into production and DJing. I got my first controller (a Mixtrak Pro) at 11 and I started using Ableton around that same time.
And at what age did you play your first show/ what was your first show?
My first show was on a Tuesday at QUAD. I was 12 years old. I was really lucky and grateful to be able to start there as it was always popping off and I met a lot of people and it provided a lot of exposure and led to other bookings, both with them and other events.
How do you feel being involved in Atlanta nightlife at such a young age?
At the time I was really shy, and didn’t really think much of the fact that I was a 12 year old surrounded by all these twenty somethings. I kind of felt like I fit in and I tried to connect with every person that wanted to stop and talk to me, even those I didn’t know. Some of those people are still active in the scene and I keep up with them. But now, I look back on it and just think how surreal it was for me and especially other people. It was probably pretty peculiar seeing a preteen wandering around 18 & 21+ shows/venues from an outsider’s perspective.
Who, in your life, has been your biggest support system in terms of helping you further your career?
Definitely my whole family, especially my dad. I owe a lot to him for his continued support. My mentor TJ taught me how to succeed in the mobile DJ world, where I first started. That is how I learned how to set up equipment (on a smaller scale). My cousin Ray helped tremendously by teaching me how to beatmatch and how to DJ in a club setting, while also helping me get my foot in the door in the club world. I have to thank Cali of Midnite Panda and Zac for helping me get my first gig at Quad and the people that ran the venue and promoted there (Rick, Keenan, Chris, and all the residents and other promoters) for putting my name in the EDM world. MJ for getting my name out there and putting me onto Kingdom Raves. All of my friends I met through this, and friends from my hometown have always been super supportive. I’ve been very grateful to have people in my life that have been this supportive of my goals.
What would you say is one of the most important skills someone must have in order to be a successful DJ?
The ability to market yourself. One can be a technically sound DJ and an amazing producer; while it’s always beneficial to bring a great product to the table and distinguish yourself from the crowd, it’s going to boil down to meeting people and gaining connections in order for listeners to find and hear your music, directly or indirectly.
In the beginning, which artist influenced you the most?
I was really into deadmau5, Skrillex, and Kaskade at the start. It developed more into the heavy dubstep when I started listening to guys like Mantis, Rekoil, and Barron. I strayed from being influenced by more melodious sounds and gravitated towards the super gritty, dark, metallic sounding bass music as a main source of inspiration.
Do you have any upcoming releases or shows scheduled soon?
I’m playing in Savannah on February 15th at Club Elan for the wedding edition of Midnite Panda and Friends. I’m super excited for that. On the music front, I’ve started getting back into producing dubstep and I’m sitting on a lot of experimental music that I’ve finished. I’m at a point now where I’m happy with where my sound is and where it is going, so expect new music in the coming months.
If you could B2B with any other DJ or producer in the world, who would it be?
Flying Lotus. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around his music and live sets.
What is one track that never gets old for you, no matter how many times you hear it?
Mega Miss Out by Coyote Clean Up. About 3 minutes in every element is playing at once and it gives me chills every time I hear it.
Where would you take a first-time visitor in Atlanta? What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
I’m not from Atlanta (but close) and have never lived here, I only know the basic touristy spots. Georgia Aquarium is always cool though even though I feel like everyone knows that. I don’t hang out in Atlanta much outside of my friends’ houses but EAV has a lot of cool shops and restaurants. Their farmer’s market also has neat products.
You can find Riven here:
Interview by: Ana