Interview with Rich NxT

As one of FUSE’s original residents, Rich NxT played a major part in the brand’s evolution, helping take it from that Sunday morning afters to being one of the most respected event brands and labels on the planet.

Something special was happening to London’s rave culture in the mid-2000′s. A generation of like-minded artists and promoters all with similar tastes in house and techno were forming a genuine scene spirit and alchemy that has propelled its instigators far and wide. Rich NxT was enjoying being part of the movement, frequenting seminal East London parties at T-Bar, Public Life and the like, plus plug-in, secretsundaze and of course fabric Saturdays.

FUSE London, born in 2008, carved its own unique position on the scene with its now infamous Sunday free parties at 93 Feet EastFUSE is and always will be NxT’s spiritual home and from that success, the dynamic DJ/producer has also made an indelible mark of his own with a flow of killer productions and by launching his own imprints NxT Recordings and most recently What NxT.

Ever since the age of 10, Rich NxT has been involved in creating his own music. Thanks to his early training as both a drummer and keyboardist, NxT has an inherent musicianship fully apparent in his sound and style of production. Taking influence from the London rave scene of the early 90s spanning drum n bass and jungle and later the minimal and tech-house scenes of Europe, NxT’s output found a platform on the now world-class FUSE London label (launched in 2011).

A core artist for the label, with five solo EPs and a collaboration alongside Seb Zito, Rich NxT has been integral to FUSE’s trademark sound with his debut EP ‘Bristle’ and ‘Quixotic’ EP two of the labels defining moments. NxT and Zito’s chemistry in the studio is clear with a further two collaborations on FUSE sister label Infuse. Alongside his own productions, NxT’s remix catalogue includes Seb Zito’s ‘Never’ with Enzo Siragusa and his original breakthrough remix of Jon Maker’s ‘Seeker’, which was championed by tINI and many other leading DJs in the minimal house scene.

Rich also launched his own imprint NxT Records that year, another platform for his own consistently quality output. Several releases down the line, NxT’s distinctive style layered with intricate percussion, obscure synths and ethereal pads combined with punchy snares and atmospheric vocals is marking out the producer and label as a prime source for DJs and vinyl lovers. 2017 sees the launch of a second vinyl-only imprint What NxT, a home for musical discoveries that end up buried deep in his own record bag. Featuring both emerging talent and established artists from the UK and beyond, What NxT? "All roads lead to the rave."

Hi Rich, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! With ADE breaking records this year, how was it for you?

ADE was really good and positive as always. The FUSE party at Warehouse Elementenstratt with HYTE was off the wall. Our room opened at midnight and was quickly buzzing. I really enjoyed my set. I managed to catch up with friends and industry partners and met some new faces too. I have just about finished following up my badly written email addresses as we speak! Overall yes, it was a good one for me.

London being your playground since the very beginning, would you say the scene is at a better state now than it was when you were starting out? Can you talk a bit about FUSE and its journey throughout these years?

London's party landscape was different 15 years ago, there were a lot more opportunities to put on events particularly in the 300-600 capacity spaces. There were after parties every morning and the scene would carry on from Friday night until Tuesday. Influential record labels were coming out of this and East London, where we were based, had this real melting pot of different types of house music for a good few years. We started FUSE in 2008 while the rest of the scene started to disperse out into other places and it forged a path which also drew heavily on our London influences, big raves, jungle, hardcore and garage.

Now we do events around the world and the Fuse London and INFUSE record labels have done a lot to spread the musical message of Enzo, me and the guys. So I am not really judging whether the scene is in a better state now than when we started out, just that when FUSE did start it was the right time. We are about to have our 9th Birthday at Village Underground in London so I am personally still excited about our scene even if it has changed over the years.

NxT Records is obviously your own imprint where you get to be as creative musically as you wish. You also started your 2nd label called What NxT. What are your main plans for it?

Yes, you're right. NxT records is purely my own content. It's great to be able to vary the format by putting something a bit different on a 4 track EP or decide to lean towards the dance floor with a 3 tracker. What NxT works as a sister label, where I spread music that I love to play, that has either been sent to me as unsigned or shared by producers I admire. My future plans for both labels are exciting. I'll be keeping my label output fresh with a remix or two from outside and similarly will step in to remix some of the What NxT artists myself next year.

Speaking about your labels. What are the release plans for the winter and the year to come? Will you be focusing on your two imprints more or are they more of a side project, which you will gradually develop?

So NXT004 is dropping on 20th November and WHXT002 on 2nd December. For 2018 you can expect two NxT Records EPs and three What NxT EPs. These are already produced and signed and there are some real gems in there. I expect my labels to carry on in the same way in the future. I will always release on Fuse London as it's my original home and I’m very excited to have my 6th solo EP coming in February called The Brigade EP!

As a skilled musician (drummer, keyboardist and even brass band player) you surely have a lot of musical knowledge. Would you say that these skills are essential when it comes to producing electronic music?

No, not at all. Everyone has their own musical journey and learning experience. I am certainly the sum of my experience but with so many ways available to interface and feed data into machines, the possibilities are endless for discovering and creating techniques that are musical in their output but don't come from classical training. Many of the things I do in the studio don't draw from the classical side at all. I think experimentation and patience are the essential skills followed by the ability to build some confidence in what you are doing, by sharing your work with friends and working with their feedback and critique.

You seem to play from small intimate clubs to big venues such as Village Underground and Amnesia. Do you change your set/sound regarding on the size of the venue, or is that something that you don’t pay attention too?

I'll change my sound to fit the vibe of the crowd and the dynamics of the venue. It’s the natural thing to do. You could say that its intuitive to fill a big space with a thumping sound or go deeper in a small intimate venue and on the face of it these things are true. However most of the magic happens when you turn these notions on their head and bring in a surprise or two. That's bound to be a lot more effective whatever the setting. One element of my set though never changes -  have fun and dance 'cos if I'm not, I don't expect anyone else will be.

We saw that you’ll be soon performing in Slovenian capital city, Ljubljana for local Innocent Music crew. As this will be your debut in our country, what are your expectations about that? I'm expecting an absolutely wicked party. I've been looking forward to coming over for ages, and have heard really good things from my FUSE crew. Aney F and the Innocent label have a good following around the world so I am happy to have been asked to bring my sound to the city!

For the very end… We know you’ve had a lot of great success, but what would you say was the highlight of your career thus far?

Output wise my next 2 records, NXT004 and FUSE029 (Out Feb 2018) and gig wise playing Amnesia & Space. Being involved in Fuse London's Rinse FM is also a really special thing!

Thanks for your time and we’re looking forward seeing you in Ljubljana!

You too. Thanks!

By Andrej, edited on 15 June 2018