Riya: Piano Perfection

Riya: Piano Perfection

There’s so much cool music out at the moment we’ve officially declared today bonus blog day here at Drum&BassArena HQ. Later on today we’ve got Marky’s football predictions for Match Of The Deejay but first, a quick chat with Riya… To celebrate the release of Piano Funk, a sun-splashed stormer she penned with Total Science, S.P.Y and Dam Funk, Riya dropped by to share her favourite ivory tinklers.

“I could give you loads of drum & bass ones. Loads!” she grins. “But I’d have to go on and on and on!”

Who couldn’t? The emotive magic of the pianos works well across the whole dance music spectrum but when coupled with the sheer power of drum & bass breakbeats they pretty much always equal spine-tingle o’clock. Piano Funk being a fine example…

Listen and download

“The weird thing is when we first made it we didn’t like it!” she admits. “I never used to be but I’m super critical about everything I put out. I wasn’t sure about my vocals so it sat there for a while. Then all of a sudden we decided we liked it!”

Thank funk for that! Up next from the Riya camp is a Lenzman 12” on Metalheadz in May and an EP which she can only tease us with for now…  “I hate jinxing things!” she laughs. “I won’t say too much but it’s out soon, and will have a lot of different things on there. I’m trying to diversify as much as possible.”

Just like she has with her selections below. So sit back and let those goosebumps loose as these five beautiful piano-based pieces take over you.

Calibre – Don’t Want Your Love

“I’ve got to talk about Calibre when I’m talking about piano tunes. He’s one of my favourite producers and has been really influential on my productions and what I write. I could pick lots of his tunes but this really stands out. Lenzman put it on a podcast that we did together for Reprise. It’s the kind of tune I wish I did the vocal for so I sang my own vocals on it for the podcast. Someone put it up on YouTube and it’s been really popular. A lot of people have asked me when it’s coming out! It’s just a special thing for the podcast, I write a lot of vocals for them so it makes it more exclusive – you won’t hear them anywhere else.”

Alicia Keys – Unthinkable

“I love the original but I also love the bootleg Lenzman did. It was a huge, huge tune last year and whenever it drops people go crazy for it. We actually did a version with me singing on it on a podcast…”

Ahmed Jamal – The Awakening

“This is off an album of the same name, it’s so, so beautiful. It’s been sampled on some of my other favourite tunes; it’s on Be Your Girl by Teedra Moses and a tune by Naz called One On One which is on the Streetfighter film soundtrack. I love his stuff. He’s an amazing pianist, he’s been sampled by so many people… I can’t say who, you’ll hear for yourself.”

Joe Hisaishi – One Summer’s Day

“I’m really into anime films and Joe did the soundtrack for Spirited Away which is a total classic anime film. This actually inspired me to learn the piano! I’m still learning, I’m not high level because there’s just not enough time! I have one in my house though, and I’d love to get to the level where I can use it in my own music.”

Thomas Newman – Road to Chicago

“Thomas does soundtracks… Green Mile, American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption, Road To Perdition and lots more. This one’s my favourite. I could listen to this on repeat and never tire of it. He’s the type of composer who you’ll know without knowing him – everyone’s heard his music. It’s beautiful.”

Piano Funk is out now on Toolroom Records. Listen and download



Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.


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