Q&A with Richie Hartness

Richie Hartness is synonymous with Deep House and Untitled Music.

Richie has been helping change the face and set the trends in what is “cool” in the European and Global Deep House scenes for several years now starting out with his “fanzie” that was first distributed around England over 10 years ago, to what it is today, a website chock full of great articles and one of the most popular mix series that showcases some of the freshest new tunes out there. He also runs and operates one of, if not the largest (with around 115,000 followers), Deep House dedicated Facebook pages, aptly titled, you guessed it, Deep House. If this was not enough, he also started up UM Records back in 2011. Pretty much to sum it up, if you want to know whats good in Deep House, you turn to Richie and his somewhat evil empire of untitledmusic, “UM”. This guy is at the forefront of creative ideas and has dedicated a pretty big chunk of his life to making sure the rest of us aren’t missing out on the good music. We were lucky enough from the start of the label back in 2010 to have him run across us and have managed to keep his support through all these years. His support of what we do has been instrumental in shaping not just our fan base but shaping the way we run the label. At the end of last year, we asked him to join us on a collaboration of music to be released here on DeepWit from several top class labels, including his own UM Records. We were humbled and happy to have his involvement in our “Deep House United” release. When you have people like Richie Hartness not just on your side musically but also helping to shape the musical community you work in, there is not much more you could ask for. Richie, a big thank you for the years of support and all the hard work you have put into making the Deep House community one worth being involved in and thanks for taking the time to be involved in our Q&A series.

Make sure to check out all the great new music brewing over at UM Records

Q.Name and Favorite flavour of ice-cream?
A. My name is Richie, and I am a Mint Choc-Chip addict.

Q. How long have you been making music?
A. I’m a rare beast in deep house – a label owner without a musical bone in his body. But, I’ve been part of the scene since 1992 (off and on) working on fanzines, promotions, my weekly UM radio show, running some pretty big Facebook pages and of course UM Records – it keeps me away from the ice cream shop!

Q. How long have you been running your label UM Records and what made you decide to start it up?
A. UM Records started back in 2011 – I’d been working on the radio show online for so long I’d so many contacts at labels and with producers. Working with Kahua Music Promotions had taught me a whole load about the promotional process and Ian (Kahua/Lost My Dog) was kind enough to point me in the right direction of the things I needed sorted to get sorted to start a label. Then it was all about talking to producers and getting them to believe in what I wanted to do – thankfully lots of them have and we’ve gone from strength to strength. 

Q. Is it more rewarding to run UM Records or produce music?
A. I’d imagine producing is more creatively rewarding. Looking after the process, checking retail data, writing biogs, uploading, sorting mastering, and a lot of filing isn’t many people’s idea of fun. That said, getting demo’s is very rewarding at times – especially when the sender has taken the time to understand the label’s sound and ‘gets’ what we’re doing. These days I’m lucky to have Paul Cassidy helping out with some of the work – it’s good to have someone to share sounds with, debate the virtues of a track, a strategy and all that, plus he’s a superb DJ and being able to create proper mixes to help promote releases has been great fun. 

Q. Favorite Genre of music outside of what you promote?
A. Hmmm, I listen to a lot of morose music (I’m told) – but I do love British band Elbow, The XX and Dire Straits – actually there’s not much I don’t like – well apart from country, heavy metal, drum and bass, hard techno, anything by Guetta, most rap, Eninem (can’t bear him)… ok, there’s lots I don’t like – but what I look for in music is atmosphere, emotion and something I can get lost in.

Q. Must have piece of software or equipment?
A. I use technology all day everyday – my real job and running the label – the most important piece of equipment has to be my ears. Whether I’m listening to music or other people.

Q. Favorite Social Media site for spreading the word about music?
A. Facebook is the obvious first choice by virtue of being the biggest. But late last year I made the decision to start focussing on our website much more, especially to build a mobile version. As social media becomes more and more a place to advertise the posts we all make about sales links lose more and more ground to promoted links and campaigns. The anticipated exodus away from Facebook might never come, but I’m not taking any chances – I want to be able to build the brand relationship in my own way – and Facebook just doesn’t allow you to truly control the user experience. I’m a growing fan of Twitter too – I really enjoy it’s stripped down nature – and there’s so much less pictures of what people are eating on there – whether it serves a commercial purpose I’m not sure?

Q. What is the question you wished people would ask you?
A. Ha! So many possibilities here. I guess one I wish people would ask more is how they can help promote their releases effectively. It’s a pain of my life, trying to educate producers of the importance of promotion and building their online brands – but I know I’m not alone there!
(Editors Note: I would like to suggest you check out the awesome untitledmusic website starting with this post about this very subject here.)

Q. What are your favorite labels and or producers?
A. Over the years my favourites list has shifted and changed, and often the personalities involved shape it these days. I obviously have huge respect for Alvaro and Sierra, and Alvaro has graced UM Records a few times. Ready Mix are one of those constantly excellent labels, I always look out for what Lens Media (now Save Us) are up to, and wish Colour And Pitch had more releases in my inbox. Producer-wise, I really enjoy working with the kind of people that understand what it takes to make it – the Dilby’s, Rishi K.’s, Tom Lown, Tim Andresen’s of the world – but part of UM Records’ ethos is to find and develop unknown talent, so nothing makes me happier than being the first place someone releases a track, like Deeka, Vernon and the likes – and that’s something you’ll see plenty of in 2014 from us.

Q. What do you get up to outside of music?
A. There’s an outside of music? Ha! No, seriously I run a design company for a living, looking after a team of designers, programmers, account managers so that keeps me pretty busy and two kids to take up the rest of my time.

Much love and respect to you Richie and may you keep pushing and changing the scene for the better for may more years to come.
Make sure to click this link right here and head over to his awesome untitledmusic website.

About sierramay
Sierra Maydell A&R/PR/Label Manager Skype: deewitrecordings http://www.deepwitrecordings.com WP: https://deepwitrecordings.wordpress.com/ DeepWit@me.com

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