Interview with James Talk & Ridney

Think of Azuli, and the party island of Ibiza will doubtless be fairly high on your list of associations. James Talk & Ridney who join us to discuss early visits to Ibiza and the positives of the current musical revolution and their new Azuli compilation.

Jul 4, 2011 - 18:00
Interview with James Talk & Ridney
Photo by Azuli Records

Think of Azuli, and the party island of Ibiza will doubtless be fairly high on your list of associations. Over the years the UK label has become inseparable from the White Isle, often leading the hedonistic charge with expertly programmed events and epic secret parties that in some cases go on for days at a time.

Hand-in-hand with this comes Azuli's annual Ibiza mix compilation. Seen by many fans as the label's flagship release of the year, the compilation is always forward-thinking and on point with current dance music trends, and often throws up a few tracks that go on to make it big in the clubs and on the beaches over the months to come.

This year's effort is manned by three artists, each of whom have made their indelible mark on the scene in more ways than one. First up is the south coast's finest James Talk & Ridney who join us to discuss early visits to Ibiza and the positives of the current musical revolution...

What were your first experiences of Ibiza?
Ridney: My first visit to Ibiza was probably back in 1999 or 2000. I actually didn’t like Ibiza the first time I went there. I went straight into the middle of the west end and saw probably the wrong side of Ibiza and it wasn’t until I got taken to Pacha and Space that I actually realised what it was all about and things started to make sense. I got taken to Salinas beach as well and I guess from there you start to realise the attraction that Ibiza has.

James Talk: My first visit to Ibiza was in 2006 with Nic Fanciulli and my management team, Nic was playing at space on the terrace so it was kind of a weird experience being up at the DJ booth on the Space terrace for the first time and seeing a sea of people going crazy. We were there for 48 hours I got to check out some the clubs and hang out on the beach for a bit but I haven’t been to Ibiza since and this is my first season DJing in Ibiza so I’m really excited.

Why do you think Azuli and Ibiza are so closely associated?
Ridney: When I first went to Ibiza, Azuli was one of the top UK brands and their EPs were the hottest property around. Whenever you went over there at that time they were a trademark part of Ibiza and their music was everywhere, so for Azuli, Ibiza is just an essential part of their makeup.

James Talk: For me Azuli is synonymous with big Ibiza records. They’ve released some the biggest tracks in dance music over the last decade, so that Azuli sound is synonymous with Ibiza as a whole. I’m really excited that they’re back and they’re going to be smashing it in Ibiza this summer.

What did you aim to achieve with your side of the compilation?
James Talk: I think we wanted to do something that was club-orientated but also friendly to a casual listener that would keep them interested for 70-odd minutes and not drag on. It’s quite heavily edited and tracks chop and change quite a lot. We also wanted it to have lots of different styles so it didn’t sound monotonous at any point.

We thought it should be a full journey from the pool side when you would be ready to go out right through to getting ready with your pals having a few drinks at a bar to finally heading to the club.

Who influenced you most when you started your career in music and have your music influences changed over time?
James Talk: From a DJ point of view I would say Pete Tong. Growing up listening to the Essential Selection on Fridays, getting copies of the track listing and hunting down all the big records and buying white labels and such, really was part of my teens. From a production point of view I suppose Josh Wink was a big influence, I’ve always wanted to write those records I think he’s a fantastic producer and someone I aspire to be like.

Ridney: I would agree with James, Pete Tong has a big influence because to a certain degree he dictates what you hear every week and gives you a great gauge on new records that are happening. For me personally it would be Daft Punk; Thomas Bangaltar and labels like Roule, Subliminal, Defected, all the labels that are a big part of house music today that were important then still are today.

Is there anything that you wish you could have featured on the compilation that you didn’t manage to?
Ridney: There were a couple of records that we didn’t get such as ‘Shiny Disco Balls’ remix by Thomas Flynn, maybe if we had a bit more time it might have been possible however we didn’t quite make the deadline. There are always records you find a week later where you think ‘I would love to have had that on the compilation’ but with all these things there comes a point where you have to cut it off.

To be honest, we were very lucky to get most of the records we wanted, we got about 99% of what we asked for, so in that respect I think we’re really lucky.

You’ve got some exclusives on the compilations as well...
James Talk: We’ve got a couple of exclusives on the compilation both of which Ridney and I have been involved in. First is a track called ‘Sunrise’, it’s a cover of an old Dave Spoon record which had a progressive feel originally and Ridney and I felt it was more suited to an Ibiza house style track so we replayed the piano and strings and put our own groove behind it and its turned out really well.

Ridney: ‘Sunrise’ was something that we wanted to put a new spin on and something that is much more housey and suited to our DJ sets. We’ve also included a Jay Wilder remix of our track featuring Max C ‘One For Me’. Jay has done a very Swede-style remix which we both love and has been working really well within our sets and we’re hoping everyone else loves it as much as we do.

Do you think there will ever be a musical revolution similar to the one that happened towards the end of the 80’s in the UK?
James Talk: I think we’re going through a musical revolution right now. Dance music is probably the strongest it’s been in the last decade in regards to the clubs and the music scene. Record labels are starting to wake up a bit more to dance music which is proved by the tracks in the charts at the moment; David Guetta, Beyonce using ‘Pon De Floor’ in a track really shows that it’s crossing over to the mainstream.

That benefits everyone because it means that more kids are going out to listen to dance music and record labels are looking at the upcoming talent to write the next big dance hits. Now I’ve got friends who only listen to pop records who are asking about my singles and hearing my stuff on the radio so it’s really positive, it’s great.

How would you best describe the Balearic sound of today?
Ridney: Everything from David Guetta to Cadenza and everything right across the board. There’s so much you can’t possibly put a label on it.

Over the years, Ibiza has faced more and more restrictions on outdoor clubbing, noise levels etc…Do you think that’s set to change this year?
James Talk: With the turnaround of the new mayor on the island and his more open policies, I think dance music is going to be far more welcomed on the island this year than it has been before. That has been proven by new clubs opening, new venues, new nights, soundsystems on the beach and so on.

A couple of years people were really worried things were going to fizzle out because of the restrictions but I think the authorities have been far more accepting of what is going on and how much the clubbing scene benefits the island over the summer and the income it generates.

What else have you got planned in the future?
James Talk: We’ve got a really busy summer coming up with gigs, remixes and the compilation coming out on the 27th June. We’ve got some singles to go along with; obviously ‘Sunrise’ and ‘One for Me’, we’re doing Sankeys in Ibiza in August and we’re still cracking on with our label Extra Dry. We’re doing a weekly podcast and had some great guests over the last few weeks we’ve got Shapehifters and Tom De Neef – check ‘em out!