Terminal V Podcast 056 || RIOT CODE

RIOT CODE have blown up seemingly out of nowhere and now they are busy blowing up dance floors all over Europe. From their Derry base in Northern Ireland, they are crafting potent hard techno sounds for labels like Scotland’s Carouse Records. High-profile support has followed from tastemakers like VTSS, DAX J and Amelie Lens and it’s all been since lockdown when the pair first got together. Both had backgrounds in music and were long-time friends, but the pandemic gave them a chance to finally work on music. They haven’t looked back since.

They serve up a potent mix for us this week and go into detail about how they came together, the failings of the Irish government when it comes to trans healthcare and talk about channelling the emotions of top surgery into a particularly standout EP…

2023 seems to be a big year for you. Does it feel like it from your side? Are things you hoped would happen, happening?

Yes, we’ve had a successful year so far and poured in alot of hard work ~ everything seems to be growing amazingly for us which we’re so grateful for. This year & next is already looking busy for shows & tours, we’re looking forward to visiting some new countries & return to some of our favourite cities. We’re currently working on a tonne of new music, releases on some stellar labels. Our new merch line dropping very soon that we are very excited for, each new line gets bigger & better – each sell out in less than 24hrs so we’re super lucky to have such a supportive fanbase. We’ve also recently signed with Paramount Artists Agency which work with some of the biggest artists in the industry like Paula Temple, Rebekah, Nina Kraviz & Special Request to name a small few so for two Irish boys that come from a small town we’re following in the steps of some of our biggest inspirations & lucky to be apart of the Paramount Family.

What initially brought you together in lockdown? Presumably you already knew each other, so why was that the time that the music started to flow?

Yes, we have been friends for a long time and both have worked in the music scene, so lockdown was the ideal chance to try something new. We would discuss starting a project together because we always had similar ideas and a love for music, but we never had the time so early lockdown, we jumped right into it and formed RIOT CODE and started our own mix series podcast called the ‘’lockdown tapes’’ , which was followed by our debut EP, “DRIVE TRIBE.” And the rest is history.

Who does what, do you each have set roles in the studio? Is one better at bass, one melodies, or anything like that?

We don’t have defined positions at the studio; rather, we view it as a space where we can both freely express our ideas and be as creative as possible. Every song process is different from the next, but the important thing is that we enjoy what we do and have fun while working on it. One of us may come up with a bass, drum beat, or even some melody and chords that the other can complement, and we work from there. Sometimes a track is finished in 20 minutes, other times it takes days, weeks, or even months but getting there in the end to finalise a track is always the best part.

Your 4EVER EP channels emotions felt follwing top surgery and the lack of support systems for transitioning people in Ireland. How difficult was it to decide to be open on that subject and why is it important to do so?

The Northern Ireland trans health care is in a dire state, it was important to be open about one of us being trans as we noticed we were completely viewed as two ‘white cis males’ which in reality was the complete opposite. Both of us support all minorities and actively commit to activism work and helping out where/when we can. The ‘4EVER’ EP, was wrote at a place where we had to put the breaks on RIOT CODE whilst the project was rapidly growing ~ Olivers, a long waited 8 years + of waiting for Top Surgery had been offered and we both ind ideally the timing isnt great but this had to be done sooner rather than later. We started the 4EVER EP previously to Oliver having to do his 2 weeks isolation before surgery as that was the rules back then, then when he was in recovery we finished it off ~ in this 4EVER project we both feel when you know the backstory like above you will feel the driving emotions being the music.

Irish crowds are notorious for liking it hard. Why is that do you think? Is it about escape?

We may be biased here, but in the Harder scene Irish crowds have growing so much and to older/younger audiences they’re more open to different tastes now from what was dominating the Irish circuit previously. In a way the rave culture in Ireland is definitely an escapism, unlike the rest of the EU unfortunately Ireland is still behind the times with opening hours and how the rave culture in general is viewed – although Sunil Sharpe and Give Us The Night are pushing to break through those barriers. Hopefully we see progression soon across both the North & South of Ireland.

What do you have coming up?

We have several releases and big shows coming up very soon, as well as our second wave of merch that we are super proud and excited to share. In August, we release a fast, hard techno groover that we’ve been dropping a lot in our sets the last few months on a compilation alongside some of the most talented artists at the moment on Lee Ann Roberts’s label NowNow Records. We’re also super excited to be releasing a huge EP on Paula Temple’s Noise Manifesto label with a remix from the legend herself, Paula Temple – that will be dropping in September. We also have some unique crossovers and collaborations with some amazing artists, but that’s all we can tease for now; we have a lot more news and music coming up within the next few months that we can’t wait to share with everyone.

Tell us about your mix, the aim you had with it, and what you wanted it to say.

Our goal was to create a mixtape that everyone could enjoy as much as we did and dance to regardless of where they were doing during any time of the day or night, filled with tracks by artists we really admire and are big fans of at the moment, but we also wanted to make this mix as fast, grooving, and high- energy as possible, which is something we’ve been working on a lot lately in our new sound and have been developing in the studio.

What gear did you use, is that important to you in any way whether in the booth or studio

For this mix, we used x4 CDJ 3000s & 900nxs2. For our production we use a mixture of in the box & hardware, we like to take our almost finished tracks to Celtronic Studio which has an endless list of hardware where we can add some lovely little detailing or rework some melodies / drums


Interview by Kristan Caryl