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Jim Rider [Interview]

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Since emerging in 2017, UK artist Jim Rider has enjoyed measurable success across the last half-decade. A release on Lee Burridge's Tale & Tone set the course for a four-year creative swell, one which would see the London resident record projects for All Day I Dream, Akbal Music, Kindisch, Tale & Tone, TRYBESof and Nick Warren's The Soundgarden. This consistent stream of superlative releases alongside extensive global touring has firmly placed Jim amongst the organic movements elite class of producers, with a bevy of the genre's tastemakers championing his work. This week sees the re-launch of Jim's Signs imprint with two anticipated collaborations from himself and Akbal Music boss Robbie Akbal.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Jim to learn more about the release of ‘Too Loom’, his studio process, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Jim, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi. I’m in a great mood thanks. I just played my last show of the year at Do Not Sit On The Furniture in Miami which was an amazing way to end 2022. I’m currently finishing some last life admin stuff on my laptop before I go to the beach for Christmas (and leave the laptop behind!). I’ve got Danger Mouse on in the background.

How did growing up in the UK influence your music taste and direction? Or did it at all?

My tastes have obviously changed as I got older but living in London and working in music in my early twenties opened me up to all sorts of genres. I was lucky enough to be a resident DJ supporting artists from Booka Shade to Todd Terry which pushed me to dip in and out of genres and that was around the time I started producing so it all seeps in I guess. I grew up playing drums and my mum’s a musician so music has always been a big part of my life.

What were your favourite venues to play or attend events at in the UK and why?

A couple of favourites were All Day I Dream at Studio 338 and supporting Seb Léger the first time he played his Modular show at Village Underground, both venues I’d been to a lot as a customer so they were special gigs.

I read you moved from the UK to Ibiza for a while and then to Mexico which you are currently calling home, what prompted you to re-locate and how has living in Mexico City had a positive impact on your creative spirit?

Yeh it’s been a busy year for moving around. I was a resident for All Day I Dream in Ibiza so it made sense to live there for summer. I have some good friends in Mexico City and it made sense to base myself here as I’ve been playing a lot in the US lately as well as a few shows in Latin America, plus it’s just a cool city.

How would you describe nightlife in Mexico and how different is it to say London?

I haven’t actually had much chance to experience it as I’ve been playing abroad a lot but the places I’ve seen have been really fun. Sunday Sunday is a really special party on a rooftop in the centre of town, I saw Palms Traxx there recently. I also got to check out Incendia (that mad fire stage from Burning Man which they tour around) a couple of weeks back when Lee Burridge was playing.

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you in Mexico City? And doing what?

Being Mexican, Robbie Akbal gave me an excel spreadsheet of the best taco spots in the city so I’ve mainly been working my way through that and drinking Mezcal haha.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I messed about on my own for a bit but then did a course every Wednesday night for a year at a place called SSR in Camden which isn’t  there anymore. I think it was called “Electronic Music production for Logic” so it was half composition and half how to use the DAW. That’s when everything changed. I’d advise anyone starting out to take a course as it just speeds up the whole learning process, you can then use Youtube tutorials to fill any gaps in your knowledge. The fact the course was “in-person” as opposed to online really helped too.

You have a new EP produced in conjunction with Robbie Akbal entitled ‘Too Loom’, out this week on your Signs imprint, tell us about the release and how these collaborations came to be.

I’ve known Robbie for a while now. I’ve had releases on his label “Akbal Music” and we’ve played together a couple of times. We made this EP a while ago but now felt like a good time to release it. I’ve also just finished a remix of one of his tracks for his label so we work together a lot.

How would you say these tracks differ from something you would have written in solo capacity?

The main difference is probably BPM’s are a little slower. I also tend to use similar drums/percussion in my own productions to give them my signature style I guess but a lot of these drums came from Robbie which changes the overall feeling. Anatolia is also a bit deeper and more of a “chugger” than my usual stuff. If you listen to my music next to these tracks you can probably pick out which parts I wrote.

What does your current set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of the ‘Too Loom’ EP?

At the moment it’s very limited as all my studio gear is currently in my mate Will’s loft in London haha. I moved to Ibiza and then Mexico City with a suitcase, a carry-on and a backpack so I don’t have much with me. So at the moment it’s mainly all just Logic and a midi keyboard but I’ll be back to Europe soon to set everything back up. This EP was made when I was in London and included live percussion and an 808 (which you can hear more in Too Loom) with a few plugins and soft synths from my side plus more outboard synths among other stuff from Robbie.

Although Signs launched in 2020 with two releases, you went on hiatus for just over two years leading up to the ‘Too Loom’ release, was the pandemic a factor in this and why did now feel like the right time to rejuvenate the label?

The original plan was to use the brand to release music and put on shows in London, our launch party was Feb 29th 2020, around two weeks before the pandemic hit. More recently I’ve been travelling a lot so I’ve been short on time but now felt right to bring it back as I’ve got a lot more traction as an artist so hopefully more people will hear the music. I’d also like to start the events up properly this year.

Let’s talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? And was there anything that inspired the tracks which make up your ‘Too Loom’ EP?

Inspiration comes from all over the place really, sometimes I’ll start with a track name (I save them to notes in my phone when I see or think of something) but mostly it’ll be a bassline or a melody going round in my head which I’ll play in and come back to. Having said that, there is a recent track inspired by a relationship so it changes track to track.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

I can’t make music during the day for some reason, I’ve tried and it always sounds shit haha. I can mix and mess around with stuff during the day but for original track ideas they always seem to happen at night. So I need it dark and I usually only start when whoever I’m living with at the time has gone to bed.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

I think I probably rush the process from finishing a track to sending it to a label as i’m a bit too impatient. I had some music turned down recently and went back and listened to them and thought “you know what they’re right, this isn’t my best work” so I’m trying to slow it down a bit. I have a few producer friends I send stuff to but I should do that more!

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

I think everyone will say making the original “super loop” of melodies, drums, chord progressions etc and just chucking anything in that sounds good is the most enjoyable bit. I actually quite like then breaking those ideas down into song structure but mixdowns are the worst part.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

A Neve desk, I mixed down one of my earlier tracks “Just A Beat” on Tale & on the one they used to have at SSR and it was a thing of beauty.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

I usually have a folder of music I want to play but that often goes out of the window quite quickly after judging the dancefloor. I often have a few track combinations in the back pocket that I know work well together but mostly it’s on the fly.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book?


Lee Burridge


Frankey & Sandrino

Gerd Janson

Current top five tracks?

Not a “top 5” but here’s five I’ve been playing a lot lately…

Chris Brid – How Sweet The Music (Dotmaka Remix)

Phonique & Bakka – I’m Watching You

Amonita & Makebo – Savage

The Organism – The Dictator

Vite – Love Me Too

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

I’m reading 1984 again at the moment, always seems to resonate with what’s going on in the world, which is probably a bit depressing so let’s move on.. haha.

What is one superpower you would like to have and how would you use it?

It would 100% be Teleportation. I turned up to a gig literally 2 minutes before I was due to play the other day as both flights and the train I had to take to get there were delayed.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Sunshine, dogs and tacos.

What does 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I’ll be based in Mexico until the end of March so I’ll have some more shows here (and hopefully further south) plus we’re working on another tour of the US again in Feb/March before maybe some gigs in Australasia before going back to Europe and Ibiza for summer. Music wise I’ll keep it under my hat for now but there will definitely be a few more releases on SIGNS across the year.

'Too Loom' is available for pre-order now via Signs: https://bit.ly/3Vn0WxW

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