Rich NxT b2b Yaya: The Interview

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
May 15, 2018

Rich NxT b2b Yaya: The Interview

Rich NxT first met Yaya during OFF Week in 2015. Although East London-born Rich and Torino-bred Yaya come from very different backgrounds, the pair share a laid back yet passionate attitude towards life and music, ensuring a bond quickly developed.

To coincide with Rich’s debut EP on Yaya’s Tamango label, the pair caught up to chat kick boxing, killer cocktail recipes and the importance of family.

First, it was Yaya’s turn to ask Rich some questions:

Yaya: Do you consider FUSE your family as I consider Desolat mine?

Rich: Yes absolutely, we’ve been growing together all the way. FUSE is 10 years old this year and as you know that is a long time in this industry. We’ve been playing, producing, travelling, partying, we’ve become married, become parents, lost parents. Sharing and growing through all these experiences is what families go through. As in all relationships, there is an important bond formed, which involved a lot of trust and respect.

Yaya: What convinced you to do an EP on Tamango? Is this the first time that you are getting remixed?

Rich: I have always really looked toward you [Yaya] as an artist. Maybe I see something similar, like me, in that you’re a bit different in your own way. We’ve always got on since meeting at Sonar a few years ago. I get the feeling you have a long musical journey a lot like me too. So it was just natural to work with Tamango on an EP. I have been remixed so little, so this is amazing. Till now there have just two. This year there are three more including yours – still remarkably little in seven years of releasing music.

Yaya: I know that you have a lovely child, would you like him to do your same job?

Rich: Absolutely I would love him to grow up and continue in music. He really enjoys playing the piano and singing. I started way back on the keys and it’s an open- ended introduction to music that can lead anywhere. Like my parents I will always support what he wants most. I was lucky to always be encouraged to try and pursue music no matter how unlikely the chance of success.

Yaya: Which was the best moment on your career so far?

Rich: It’s been the massive and amazing support for my last EP on Fuse London, ‘The Brigade’. People have been buying the vinyl, whether DJ’s or not and making contact with messages from all over the world, with pictures of vinyl and parties. This is why we make music right. For enjoyment and fun!

Yaya: If you would be Yaya for a day, what would you like and what not? Would you change something?

Rich: I would make your smile even bigger, but this could be hard!

Next (pun intended), it was the turn of Rich NxT to interview Yaya:

Rich: Where did the name Tamango come from?

Yaya: The label name comes straight from the special cocktail created 38 years ago that you can exclusively find at my family’s pub in Turin called ‘Les Arcades’, which is now run by my sister. It’s super super strong and contains a mysterious ingredient that will make you go crazy. It is a very particular and intimate name for me as unites both my African origins with my family’s pub. ‘Tamango’, according to the legend, was the name of the first African slave who fought for his freedom, breaking the chains of imprisonment and unleashing a revolt among the other slaves.

Rich: I know you’re right into your kickboxing. How did you get into it?

Yaya: Besides being a totally music addict, I also really like to practice sport, especially the combat ones. I’ve started with boxing and kickboxing almost 17 years ago and then I moved first to ‘Full contact’ and then to ‘Muay Thai’ because these two are more complete in terms of parts of your body that you can use (including also elbows and knees). It helps me to detox and release the stress a lot. Loco Dice is another fan of Muay Thai and every year we both go to Thailand for a full 2 week intense camp of ‘pain and relax’.

Rich: What’s it like working with Dice? I guess I have a similar relationship with Enzo [Siragusa]…

Yaya: Oh yes, I think it’s pretty much the same. Dice was the first one who had faith in me, giving me the chance to release an EP on Desolat almost 10 years ago called ‘Vecute’. Working with Dice was surely one of my dreams since I entered this world when I was around 20. I was pretty sure that I would have worked with him sooner or later, and I would have done anything to realise my goal. I’m super happy about what we’ve done during those years and I’m glad that my collaboration and relationship with this family is still strong and solid.

Rich: Growing up where did you get into music?

Yaya: My father was a musician in an Afro Beat/Afro Funk group called ‘Mbambina’ and since I was three years old I remember the good old days listening to some vinyl with him. I spent a lot of time watching his shows when he performed with the group and this grew a desire in me to play and to start making music. I think that my DJ career was already written a long time ago. I also played percussion since I was a kid and my father helped me a lot with this, as he was a percussionist too. He taught me how to use and feel them with his unmistakable sense of groove. So, when I have to recreate a groove or a percussive loop in the studio, it’s really easy for me to work in the rhythmic section and I really like to have some of these elements in my own productions. Furthermore, the fact that I’m Italian, where the electronic scene has always been avant-garde, helped me to get into the music scene.

Rich: We met at OFF Week for the first time. What are your thoughts on the week?

Yaya: The first time I heard your name was actually some years ago, when I met Enzo. He has spoken very highly of you and said he was amazed by your productions. When we finally got to meet face-to-face, I already knew you as an artist and I knew a lot of your productions. It’s been great to stay in touch over the years and I’m so happy to have you releasing your ‘next’ EP on Tamango. I’m super excited to be back again this year and meet a lot of friends. I think it’s going to be an amazing year too. I hope to have a proper Tamango showcase next year and maybe we can play till the end.


Rich NxT’s Started Again EP is out now on Tamango and available HERE for digital purchase, and HERE for vinyl purchase.