The genre-blurring mosh-pit inducer Riot Ten builds upon his Hype Or Die series with his debut 10-track album, Nightmares. The influential Texan arrives rave ready with some heavy-weight collabs with the likes of SAYMYNAME, Throwdown, Le$LaFlame, and fellow Texan producers, blvkkhvrt. and Whookilledkenny. Before you read any further, be sure to cop it here.
Riot Ten’s studio wizardry has landed him on a myriad of labels but Dim Mak Records has nurtured his career from day dot, now releasing what Bassrush considers his best work to date. Get a closer look on the behind the scenes happenings of Riot Ten and a little insight on how the album came together.
How are you? What is the mood for the day?
Well, the mood for the day is quite insane actually because my flight to Paris out of Dallas was just canceled due to weather. Thankfully though, I was able to get on another flight that gets me there in time for Dream Nation Festival. It’s my first time out in Paris so I’m super excited about it, and I’m also going b2b with the legend 12th Planet for the set—we’re taking no prisoners!
Tell fans about the first time you were introduced to electronic dance music?
I was introduced a little after I had started producing music back in high school, around 10 years ago. Some friends brought me to a couple of raves and I fell in love with the culture. I was producing hip-hop/rap at the time, but I couldn’t help but feel connected to dance music and decided to take a swing. I’m glad I did!
What’s life been like since becoming Riot Ten?
That’s a great question and I think the long answer could probably take all day. In short, life has been one exciting, non-stop rollercoaster full of every emotion you can possibly have, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Speaking of Texas, where’s your favorite place to spend time with your family?
El Paso, of course! There is no place like home. My two sons mean the world to me and are my greatest motivations in life. I cherish every chance I get to be with them, whether it’s playing video games with my oldest, or watching cartoons with my youngest.
How are feeling about the nonstop grind ahead of you with the tour kicking off?
I don’t think it’s fully hit me quite yet, but I am super excited to be back on the road this year with the Hype Or Die tour. I got a ton of new and unreleased music to play out as well that I’m excited about. We’re kicking things off in Seattle and Portland next month, two of my favorite cities to play, and I can’t wait!
You recently released your debut album Hype or Die: Nightmares. What was the process like putting together a 10-track body of work like that?
Initially it was only supposed to be another six-track EP, but in the 11th hour I sort of hit a musical groove. Believe it or not, we finalized the album the night before the deadline for submission. In total, I’d say it took around 3-4 solid months of production to fully put together. The response has been great so far, which is very rewarding—and a huge relief!
How involved were you with the artwork process? The cover art fits the vibe so perfectly!
I’m typically involved in the direction and concept for all of the artwork, but I like to let the artists do their thing from there. Of course I offer feedback once the groundwork has started, but so long as the artist understands the vibe, it’s generally smooth sailing. In this particular case, we wanted something that would correlate well with the tour graphic and branding. He nailed it!
How did you celebrate the release of your album?
I was actually in China, so I spent the day stressing and asking my management for updates on how the album was doing. [Laughs] The time difference proved to make it a little challenging; I did have a show that night and we did a toast in the green room.
What’s the best part of joining the Dim Mak team? We know you’ve been a part of the family for sometime now.
Man, I love my entire team at Dim Mak, from their hustle to their friendship. They really are family and genuinely care about the success of every single project. I couldn’t be happier with how they have helped to guide my musical career and journey. Shoutout the legend Steve Aoki for believing in me!
How about the experience you had working with Shaq?
Shaq is my dog! He’s honestly one of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. He reached out on Instagram a while back to connect and he told me he was a big fan. I think it goes without saying, but this is the one time I can accurately state that I was a little starstruck. [Laughs] He has a great group of people that he’s surrounded by that I love and have had the opportunity to get to know. After a few hangs, he brought me out as a guest during his set at Tomorrowland in Belgium and we continued to stay in touch from there. Look out for the Riot Ten & DJ Diesel collaboration coming very soon!
What’s your most recent tattoo? Does it have a story?
My most recent tattoo is a tribute to El Paso, my hometown, in remembrance for the lives lost in the recent gun violence tragedy. I was out of town on that day, but the impact it had on the community, and myself, will be with us forever.
We love how you show so much love to your city! What can fans expect from Riot Ten for the remainder of 2019 and beyond?
The Hype Or Die tour of course, and so many amazing festivals coming up like EDC Orlando and Escape: Psycho Circus! I’m not too sure about 2020, but I can almost guarantee another album. I also want to bring my Hype Or Die festival to more cities next year. We launched it in El Paso in the spring and then brought it to Denver shortly after. We’re bringing it back to El Paso in 2020, but I’d like to hit a few more cities with it along the way as well.