DJ Disasters: Riva Starr

When it all goes wrong...
Riva Starr

Every DJ has one.

A night when everything that can possibly go wrong does - and it does so in spectacular fashion. Clash brings you DJ Disasters, featuring some of the most respected figures in the dance world reminiscing about those moments when it all went badly wrong. 

Next up: Riva Starr recalls how fantasy can very quickly turn into reality.

Real name Stefano Miele, Riva Starr seemed to be an overnight success. Exploding onto a house scene dominated by humourless electro workouts, his cheeky take on the legacy of the 808 resulted in a flurry of red hot remixes and bootlegs, alongside his own productions. Quickly becoming a vital figure on the scene, Riva Starr threw himself into a whirlwind schedule - with occasionally disastrous consequences...

- - -

The funny thing is that this total disaster actually started out as the best gig of my life. It was a few years ago around the time my first album came out ('If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade' on my dear friend Jesse Rose' label Made to Play) and the first single taken from the album was unexpectedly becoming a proper under-over-ground hit…

Gigs were flying in from all over the world and, after many years of struggling to make a decent living through my trade, I was refusing none of the good ones. So, after a long summer stint in Europe with an average of four or five gigs and as many as 10,000 miles every week I embarked upon yet another faraway tour. 

Anyway, there I was… really tired and travelling across Asia. One day flying into Bangkok for a huge multi-arena festival I finally, properly lost it, and - dazed and confused - I vaguely remember telling the promoter who came to pick me up that, unlike my normal habits, I needed to crash an hour or two before the gig and asked him to come collect me just 40 minutes before my set…

Next thing I know, someone is knocking at the door… I stumble up in a daze and the second nicest, most beautiful, sweetest girl I have ever met is smiling at the door carrying gifts of champagne, flowers and all kinds of other goodies…

She leads me downstairs where journalists and super trendy fans are assembled (and I think: "Wow I didn’t realize I was so big in Thailand"). She then walks me to an incredible stretch limousine where the festival promoter greets me with another special gift: a gold rolex!

Anyway, we arrive at the venue and all I can see is a sea of people, lights and sound - it's a great venue, great people, so I start playing. Crowds go absolutely crazy on the first note and do not stop jumping and shouting throughout my entire set and then suddenly all my favourite DJ friends are there: Sneak / Annie / Tong / Claude Von Stroke / Fatboy Slim and (wait for it) Daft Punk…

We end up playing b2b2b2b all night beyond closing… the sun rises and the people are still dancing as far as the eye can see… they start chanting my name and...

Next thing I know someone’s shaking me…

I tell them to leave me alone as I am about to put my last record on... drifting in heavenly bliss…

But the shaking becomes rougher and next thing I know is I am in my bed with an angry promoter shouting: “Wake up you f*cking idiot… we’ve been looking for you for hours as you weren’t answering the door… had to wait for the cleaners to open it and… well you bloody missed your set, didn’t you?"

You live, you learn… and still you yearn... for that once-in-a-lifetime gig!

- - -

Riva Starr is set to release his new album 'Hand In Hand' on Monday (July 1st) via Snatch.

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone - download the app here

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-