Richard X started his career in the underground music scene, then left it behind to write hits for the Sugababes and Rachel Stevens. In 2004, Richard X worked with M.I.A. for her debut album Arular. He co-wrote/produced « Amazon » and « 10 Dollar », as well as « Hombre » under the pseudonym Dwain ‘Willy’ Wilson III.
Richard X worked with Róisín Murphy and Sam Sparro on their albums Overpowered and Sam Sparro respectively. Richard X collaborated with Saint Etienne, co-writing and producing the 2009 single « Method of Modern Love ». He also worked with Annie for her 2009 album Don’t Stop. He produced the singles « I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me », « Anthonio », and « Songs Remind Me of You ».
Richard X co-produced « Alive » for Goldfrapp‘s 2010 album Head First and worked with Sophie Ellis-Bextor on her 2011 album Make a Scene, producing and co-writing « Magic » and the single « Starlight ». He also co-produced the entirety of Will Young‘s album Echoes which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
Annie and Richard X continued to work together, releasing the EP « A&R » in August 2013 and recently her new single « Russian Kiss ».
Thanks to Richard X / Black Melody
Xavier Auffret Van Der Kemp & Thierry Jaussaud
You’ve worked with Will Young, Saint Etienne, Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys and now on the last Annie. How do you decide on a project?
Artist wise – I have to be a fan, or imagine myself as a future fan if they are just starting out. There has to be some excitement about being involved with them whether it’s in a production or a writing sense, enthusiasm carries every record and project.
I’m very surprised I haven’t found any collab with Kylie. Have you ever been contacted by her to make it possible?
I wrote a little bit of « Can’t Beat the Feeling » but that was right at the end of the song just before it was accepted. I did a verse and some synth noises I think. Yes I have been in touch. I wrote a great Bladerunner meets All The Lovers track with Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell and Kylie was up for demo’ing that at some point but not for this era of her new LP. The door is always open for her.
Do you sometimes refuse some works because, for example, you think you might not be able to add anything else, or for any other reason ?
Yes, again it’s the enthusiasm, you can find yourself working for weeks or months on records so if you’re not feeling it then it’s best not to get involved. A lot of tracks I hear these days are great in their raw state and that’s a bit of a now aesthetic, so sometimes best not to fiddle.
When you’re selecting tracks and artists to do a remix for, is it because that artist approaches you or because you like the track and/or want to work with the artist?
More likely they approach me for remixes, sometimes I’ll approach an artist but that’s usually if there’s a song involved we want to play them.
What’s your favorite remix that you’ve done?
I still like the Cassie one which was supposed to come out but then didn’t. Maybe the Gwen « Cool » remix. I think the ones that are less chasing a current sound of the time stand up better, and that one was a bit unusual
When you’re working on a remix, is there a back and forth between you and the artist giving feedback? What’s that process like?
Generally not, but like in production I might send a demo idea version just to check it will work for them. People often want something specific with a remix, make it like something else you’ve done for example, although sometimes you can do what you want.
You seem to be very fond of the 80s sound, as we appreciate on the latest Annie Ep, or on the Goldfrapp Rocket remix, to name but a few. Have you grown with the 80s sound ? And what would you think makes this sound and area so special ?
It was the music of my youth and also the sound that inspired me to buy the old synthesisers which when I was younger, nobody wanted. So that way of making records comes from how I started. I think the 80’s had the broadest explosion of ideas, and also you felt the increase in the stylistic elements coming in pop which are just as important. I feel though I’ve had a enough of the pastiche side of it, I am enjoying the 90’s revival now , like everybody else…or mostly everybody else.
Your productions seem to be so smooth, fluent, and polished. Sounding like you take some real pleasure to do them. Is it that easy ?
They take time, but more getting the original ideas that go into them right. Thanks!
How would you say making music for you has changed? How have your tastes changed?
As a producer I’m now less about forcing the sound I give to an artist , more what I can make for them. Ten years ago I would have put my personal production and sounds allover whatever project, but I think it’s now more balanced post the Steve Mason LP and around that year or so before, where you can produced for somebody and bring ideas and sounds and arrangements but not necessarily cover the whole record in your own ideas. Making good songs and tracks work well or better.
I like pretty much everything, from the crazy one off dumb house record to the top 10 polished pop tracks and everything in between.
Are there any artists that you particularly admire?
I perversely admire anyone who can have a hit, whether musically deserved or not.
Do you have a favorite band of all time?
Still probably the Human League for their overall influence on myself.
Well if you were stuck on an island with one album it would be…
Travelogue or Reproduction by HL, or a best of « Now that’s what I call music »
Favorite song right now is…
Sophie – Bipp
Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with in the future?
Myself and the artist Paolszi (who designed the Annie ANR Ep sleeve) did a concept EP of disco influenced dream tracks for Lana Del Rey, which unfortunately didn’t go anywhere. So currently her. As always subject to change with the weather.