We catch up with the Do Not Sleep resident as he readies himself for another busy summer...
A native of Southampton, Ronnie Spiteri is one of those producers whose fast rise to the top over the past few years might leave you thinking he's come out of nowhere… but of course, he really hasn't.
In fact, DJing is in Spiteri's blood. His father used to promote raves on the south coast back in the early 90s, and a young Ronnie had his first spin on his Dad's Technics before he was into double figures. It wasn't long before he had his first club residency in his hometown, moving through a series of venues before ending up as resident at Junk.
But it was only in 2016 that he really began to break through on a national level, something for which he thanks Jamie Jones including his Thin & Crispy track in his Radio 1 Essential Mix. Since then he's been in ever-increasing demand both as a DJ and in the studio, with his music appearing on respected labels such as Knee Deep In Sound, We Are The Brave, VIVa, Mobilee and Do Not Sleep. On the DJ front, meanwhile, he's left 'local hero' status well and truly behind, becoming a regular on the festival and club circuit worldwide.
This summer sees him once more taking up a Do Not Space residency in Ibiza. So with his new Tunnel Ride EP also dropping on the Do Not Sleep label on 31 May and showcasing his particular brand of credible, non-obvious, cheese-free tech-house perfectly, now seemed like a good time for a chat…
You hail from Southampton, which isn't known as a clubbing mecca – is there much of a house/techno scene there?
"Yes, I am from Southampton and still live there at the moment. It’s actually got a really strong scene for such a small city! We have loads of festivals in the summer, and there are also a couple of club nights called Switch and Rebel where every act you can think of has played, from Sven Väth to Jamie Jones."
Tell us a little bit about your own route into DJing and making music. Who were some of the DJs/producers who most inspired you to get involved?
"I have been DJing now for 21 years! I think I started an interest very young, at about eight years old. I have also been making music for the last seven years. I was bought up in an old school era where I used to listen to Carl Cox and DJ Brisk, and over the years I began to research and listen to more artists and genres, where I then got into Fatboy Slim and Kerri Chandler."
How do you describe your musical style, both as a DJ and as a producer? There seems to be a slightly tougher/techier edge to your recent productions, compared to DJ sets I've heard…
"Hmm, that's a hard one. Right now I think I'm kind of in-between techno and tech-house, as I like to use vocals still to make tracks not so dark. I have been making tougher music lately, especially some of the releases on Alan’s label We Are The Brave, but I also have a lot of ‘housier’ stuff that I tend to keep for myself and my shows, but obviously depending on who I am playing with and where I’ll always adapt my sets and the tracks selected for each show."
Your debut album True Music came out last year, apparently inspired by touring South America. How did that influence the sound of the album?
"Yes, that whole album was influenced by my time spent on tour in South America. I was touring over there for a full week of B2B gigs: it was hectic but one of the best trips I have been on. You also truly see the full potential of some of the ideas that build up in your head when you are travelling, so when I got back I went straight into the studio full of inspiration and ideas and locked myself away for days starting on some new tracks, as well as bits that I started on the road and on the flight back."
You're resident for Do Not Sleep in Ibiza again this year… how did you come to hook up with them originally, and what do you feel the club offers that others don’t?
"So happy about being back for Do Not Sleep this year! I love playing in Ibiza and have such a great relationship with the whole team, it’s like a family. My relationship started with Do Not Sleep a while back but it was Darius Syrossian that I have to thank for that, as it was him who pulled me into the crew where I met Lisa and Neil who are both such good friends of mine now, and their partner Mark is also my manager."
There's also the Tunnel Ride EP coming up on Do Not Sleep the label on 31 May: talk us through your two originals and the two remixes…
"For this release, I wanted to make something that had a catchy gook but still with a techno sound to it, which held the presence of underground house music. That's quite a lot to get into a track! After a few gigs of testing it out and tweaking it, I came up with the name Tunnel Ride. The B-side Collateral was made purely for my warm-up sets for Amnesia and I’m happy with how it came out."
Finally, what else is going on for you right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"LOADS! Release-wise I have an EP on Knee Deep In Sound next and then will be working again with Alan on his We Are The Brave label. I will also be focusing a lot of my own label Kenja Records, so keep an eye out for more on this.
"As for gigs, I have loads of amazing shows this year in the UK including my debut at Fabric on 13 July and a show with Sankeys at Studio 338 on 29 June, a cool festival called Back Of Beyond on 5 July and then Dockyard Festival in my local Southampton!
Words: Russell Deeks
The Tunnel Ride EP is out on Do Not Sleep on 31 May