Demi Riquisímo

Very Delicious with Demi Riquísimo

Semi Delicious and Lifetime on the Hips boss Demi Riquisímo talks about establishing his labels and more ahead of his visit for Bypåskefestivalen.

Demi Riquísimo and his label Semi Delicious thundered on to the scene back in 2019, and has since cultured a discernible sound that has garnered a lot of attention and praise in the club land. Its origins as an exclusive vehicle for Demi Riquísimo has blossomed into a cabal of familiar- and new artists perpetuating the sound of the label and has even spawned another label in the form of A Lifetime On The Hips. 

Built on the DIY ideologies of the roots of club music the sound of the label reflects that with dusty synthesisers and jittery drum machines touching on everything from acid to Techno and even early Trance prototypes. It’s a reflection perhaps of Demi Riquísimo’s own origin story as a Detroit born, London-raised record collector, but goes beyond that with a no-nonsense “if-it-ain’t-broke” attitude.

At its most functional the music is reserved for A Lifetime On The Hips with both labels adopting the vinyl format in their designs. While Semi Delicious is the flagship label, its sister is “all killer no filler” strictly focussed on the dance floor. It’s receiving the same kind of recognition as its parent label since its inception last year and with Demi Riquísimo at the helm perpetuating its ethos and sound, Semi Delicious, its sub-label and artists are gathering a lot of momentum. 

Demi Riquísimo (not his real name) is something of an enigma. We know there was some kind of DJ and production career before the moniker, but it’s clouded in the past and the way in which he’s established the new alias and labels, suggests an experienced history in this field. We are lucky that he’s obliged to answer a few questions for us ahead of his visit this week to Jaeger, so we could unearth a little more of the man behind the label and the ideologies. 

I understand from other interviews that DJing came first for you. What was it about the craft that drew you to it?

Yes DJing definitely came first for me. I was very intrigued by vinyl and a friend had some belt driven decks that I enjoyed having a go in my teens. When I moved to Bristol for university I soon got glandular fever which meant I wasn’t going out but I managed to save some money to buy some decks and a batch of wax. I practised non-stop. About 6 months later I did my first club gig. 

What kind of inspiration and/or instruction did you get from what was happening around you in Bristol?

When I was there it was very bass heavy and I was very much into jungle and drum n bass. This translated into my DJing and record shopping. I also started running nights with this sound pallet but as the years went on I started to incorporate other sounds and genres into the events and later on in my production. 

Your label Semi Delicious started concurrently as a vehicle for your own releases. How did it (and does it) relate to what you are doing as a DJ; do you see the label and your music as an extension of your sound in the booth?

I feel running the label is all about control about what you want to release and when you want to release it. I like to release music in the moment that I’ve personally finished recently or signed recently from other artists. I think this way I’m able to translate playing current releases in my sets. So many cases with other labels I would get music signed that came out 2 years later and by the time it got released I’d never play it at all. 

I know you studied production, but what was your relationship to making music before your studies?

Most of my friends I lived with in Bristol were quite big gamers which never really appealed to me. I lost my creative output after leaving school as I used to do a lot of art work to pay my time. So I downloaded a demo version of Reason 4 music production and really enjoyed it so I bought a copy and just got really stuck in. I think at this point my shift from DJing to producing became apparent in my spare time. 

I’ve read you started Semi Delicious out of a necessity since nobody in your extended music circle wanted to put your tracks out. What was it in those first original releases that made you want to put these out into the world?

I just really believed in the music I was producing. A few artists said it wasn’t for them when sent to them in the demo format. But the same DJs were giving the tracks five star reviews and requesting the vinyl when it was delivered to them in promo form. It’s funny how we judge our feedback on the way music is sent to us. 

What do you usually aim to achieve with your music before you set out on a track and where do you draw influences from outside of music? 

I normally start with some kind of sample idea and build around that. Or I turn on all the gear and have a jam. Sometimes going in with an idea is helpful but for me not all the time. Just triggering some weird sounds is enough for me sometimes. 

As Semi Delicious expanded to include more of your music and other artists, what were you trying to establish with the label in terms of a sound or a collective ideology?

For me the label is just about releasing good dance music and records that will still sound good in ten years. That goes for my music and others. The second ethos is creating a community of artists and friends where we can all grow up and rise together.

How would you describe that sound today and has it evolved since the initial releases?

I believe the sound is alway evolving and it would be too hard to describe the sound. If  you listen to the releases over the years and from the different artists so much of the music is very different and has its own identity. So yes for sure the sound has evolved since the initial release and will continue too.  

Last year you set up A lifetime on the Hips as a sub-label which in your words is “strictly all killer, no filler.” Why wouldn’t these tracks fit the Semi Delicious profile?

They would fit for Semi Delicious. The difference between the two labels is semi delicious is more eclectic so some of these big killer tracks would be accompanied by other types of music. 

What’s it like operating, not just one, but two vinyl labels today; What are some of the challenges you face and why this continued commitment to the vinyl format?

It is tricky and the costs always go up not down. But I feel as long as the demand is still there and the music is still strong and getting good feedback I’ll always be passionate to release on the format that is so close to my heart and reminds me of first becoming a dj. 

Do you think there will ever be a time when the format will not be sustainable anymore?

I thought yes to this 10 years ago but now it’s more popular than then. I feel this is due to everything becoming too accessible in the way we consume music in the last 10 years. I think people like to put the value back into the music they’re investing into. 

Besides your own label, what are some of your more recent acquisitions that are currently your go-to weapons for the dance floor?

I’ve always been a big fan of the label Tessellate and The Trip and their music. Love on The Rocks is a label I’ll always love and play music from as well. 

And lastly can you play us out with a song in anticipation of your visit to Jaeger?

‘Square One’ by Kosh is a track I’ve been playing in every set of late