Disco influenced DJ/Producer Richard Dinsdale’s resume is impressive; he’s established a residency at the legendary Ministry of Sound in London, remixed a track for Hollywood blockbuster, The Skeleton Key, as well as for Morgan Page, Kat Graham, K’NAAN and Natalia Kills. To top it off, in 2010 he started his own record label, Tanzinite Records. We sat down with the English heavy-hitting house producer fresh off his first Ultra Music Festival performance to find out how he’s making everyone “shake what your mama gave ya” and what’s next.
This year marked your first appearance at Ultra Music Festival. How was that experience and how did you decide what you would play?
It was amazing. I have pretty much the same set mapped out for all my gigs. I play 90% my own music, but also add in some artists like Chris Lake and Mogai in there as well. My favorite track to play in my sets at the moment is the Kat Graham remix I did.
You’ve recently done remixes for K’NAAN and label mate Kat Graham. What other remixes and collaborations are in the works?
I’ve got so many going on at the moment! There’s a remix for Natalia Kills who’s working with Will I Am at the moment. I’m working on a lot of originals and an album right now. I’m collaborating with Dmitry from Starkillers and I also just did a track with Wally Lopez.
What can you tell us about the album?
I’ve actually played a few originals from the album in my sets, which are untitled at the moment. They’ve got funny names so I can go into Logic and find them. One track is currently titled "Bumblebee," because there’s a sound in there that sounds like a bee. I finally got some time to start working on this in January. This album is more of a crossover album. I make a lot of underground music and this new album moves away from that. The style I’m doing at the moment is quite progressive. I’m finding a load of new vocalists that I’m going to be collaborating with on the album. I’ve finished 8 tracks so far and I’m looking to do 12, but it’s such a process because I have so many remixes going on as well.
And on top of all that you started your own label, Tanzanite Records, a year and a half ago. What inspired you to do this?
My brother and I have always wanted to do something together so we came up with the label, Tanzanite Records, to help up-and-coming producers. We’ve discovered a couple of guys from Sweden called Henri Leo Thiesen & Robbie Senza. These guys are absolutely amazing producers. The goal for the label is to release one single a month. The next release is called “Deeper Love” by Henri Leo Thiesen, Fran Garcia and Andy G featuring Max C (who sang on the track “I Found U” by Axwell). It’s a really big record. I played it in Miami and it went down so well. The next release after that will be “Shake What Ya Mama Gave Ya,” which is a collaboration with me, Henri Leo Thiesen and Robbie Senza, which will be released in May.
The Glitter Fever EP, which was released in 2011, is deeply rooted in disco. It certainly lives up to the illustrious name. What inspired you to produce and choose those two tracks for the album?
The inspiration was my love for Motown and '70s music. I’m a big fan of Earth Wind & Fire, Smokey Robinson, Donna Summer and Quincy Jones. When we first started the label, we thought we were going in that disco direction, but the more we went forward the more it sounded (I hate to say it) too Hed Kandi for us. The sound wasn’t new enough so we’re moving in a different direction.
The road to success is not a straight and narrow path. Talk to me about the road that led you here and the brand you’re creating.
This is a really hard thing to get into and make money out of it. It started about 7 or 8 years ago, I went down to Brighton and I met up with someone who used to work with Massive Attack and he taught me how to use studio equipment. I worked in a studio for a bit where Fatboy Slim came from. I came back home, got my own studio and developed my own sound by bringing in elements of the music I grew up with like Motown. One night my friend convinced me to go to this club called Pantiles and I met a guy I went to school with and it turned out he was starting his own management company. I joined him and from there I met Seb Fontaine and I had a few releases on Kinky Vinyl and Global Underground. After that, I did a remix for the movie The Skeleton Key on Universal Records. It started to take off from there. I’ve worked really hard and it takes a long time, but I’m still striving for more. I haven’t made it yet. We’re in the process of rebranding to get to that next level, which should surface in the next few weeks.
What’s included in this whole rebranding process?
We photographed six models – three males and three females - and ripped out their eyes on paper. And instead of doing the standard DJ shot with me looking down you’ve got me sitting down and holding those eyes over myself. It creates something spooky like the Aphex Twins. It’s hard to explain, you just have to see it. I’ve got a new logo coming out as well, which will be consistent with this idea.
Another part of this rebranding process, of course, is your new album with that crossover sound.
Absolutely. We’re tying in the logo with the new sound, which I’ve been putting into my latest remixes. I’m coming away from that techy disco and moving towards this big room house.
What have been the most challenging point in your career thus far?
There are so many uppers and downers in this industry. On a Monday or Tuesday you think, “Why am I doing this?” and then some good news comes in and you realize this is exactly why I do it or you play a new track in a club and it gets a great reaction and gives you the incentive to carry on. Sometimes you just have to take a day away from it and do some normal things and then you get that inspiration again and get back in the studio. I feel very lucky to be making a living out of something I love.
Keep up with Richard Dinsdale here.
'Like' Richard Dinsdale on Facebook.
Follow Richard Dinsdale on Twitter.
Listen to Richard Dinsdale on Soundcloud.
Watch Richard Dinsdale on YouTube.