Locals: ŻI Interview

Where can we find your music?

Who are you? How old are you?

I’m Isaiah Riolo, I go by Riolo or żi, and I’m 24 years old.

How many months/ years have you been Djing / producing?

I’ve been messing around with a mixer since February of 2021, having started following the house and techno scenes in Malta well before that. I haven’t begun to properly dive into producing yet, as I still feel like I have a way to go before I find the sounds that I’d love to work with.

Mention an artist that inspired you to become a DJ/producer?

My first inspiration was probably Folamour, having seen him perform in Malta then following his touring on social media and catching him live for an all night set in London. The atmosphere that he created for the crowd was infectious, and I loved seeing him share his energy with the people listening and dancing.

Is there a local artist that you look up to and love to see play at events?

Among my favourite locals in the techno scene are Sean Rickett & Dave Space, while from the house scene I’d say Husko & AP, all being individuals that are not only incredibly talented, but that also love sharing knowledge and experience with others who are striving to learn.

What skills do you think DJs need to be successful?

Something I’ve always told anyone who asks, is that to be a DJ all you have to do is know how to count to 4 (in rhythm). Then it’s just a matter of learning the technicalities and technology/equipment. I fully believe that there is a low skill floor, but insane skill ceiling as experienced DJs exhibit on a variety of media such as tapes and vinyls. After learning to mix tracks, I think it’s just a matter of finding the right people that your music style resonates with, and being able to read what tracks the crowd are feeling wherever you’re playing.

How do you stay up to date with the latest music trends?

I’m not one to religiously keep updated with brand new releases or label publications, but instead feel like I gravitate more towards finding tracks and sounds that scratch the itch in my brain, whether they were released 15 years ago or more recently. 

What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a DJ?

For me I think the most rewarding part is when you find people that genuinely enjoy listening to what you’re presenting to them. Having a dancefloor amped and moving, regardless of whether it’s 5 close friends in an empty room or 500 people at a club, always puts a smile on my face. Other than the performance aspect of DJing, I love showing and helping anyone who asks me the basics of how things work. If more people know how to DJ, more unique art is produced and the scene will benefit from having a wider selection and choice of artists available.