As a certified party rocker and one-third of DC’s party crew, Nouveau Riche, Steve Starks is quite the force to be reckoned with here in the DC EDM scene. He maintains a heavy presence in the city by frequently collaborating on productions and live-appearances with Nacey, releasing original tunes on T&A Records, and playing for all different kinds of party people. Last Friday, he played for a rooftop of glowing ravers and moombahtonistas at Ibiza for Steez Promo’s MEGA event with Boys Noize. Next Saturday, he’ll be playing with Craze at U Street Music Hall. But if you need more evidence that he’s got the dopeness factor on lock, see below:
Exhibit A: “Fr33ky in the Club” – Starks’ utilized DC’s hometown advantage in the moombahton scene by releasing an original production, “Fr33ky in the Club”. This track turned out to be a moombahton anthem from the jump, as it encouraged party people to enthusiastically lose their shit in the club. Girls, you know what I’m talkin’ about. “Fr33ky in the Club” received some major love from Mad Decent and was also featured on many early moombahton mixes, including Brodinski’s European Introduction to Moombahton. Because of this song, all of us moombahton-lovers are now known as “fr33ks” and for damn good reason too.
Exhibit B: “Problem” – Most recently, Starks dropped a banger, “Problem”, for free download! “Problem” is most definitely one of my favorite Starks productions so far. It’s a classic dance track, full of bass and a touch of Baltimore club, all the while sampling an unlikely throwback, The Cardigans “Love Fool”. (RIGHT?!) With “Problem”, Starks not only rescued and revived “Love Fool” but also transformed it into a massive dance tune that totally bangs.
Exhibit C: KIDS – Starks was one of the originators of DC’s old-school hip-hop dance party, KIDS. For a few years on the first Saturday of every month, Starks joined his friends Nacey, DJ Jackie O, and DJ Lil Elle at DC9 to take you back to the old school by playing all the throwback hip-hop jams you could handle. KIDS was inspired by the 90s cult classic film of the same name and embraced city culture the best way they knew how. KIDS ran for a few years until they collectively agreed to end that chapter a few months ago. But in its time, it was a rager for sure, usually packed wall-to-wall with sweaty party people gettin’ busy to Montel Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”.
Exhibit D: Nouveau Riche – On the second Saturday of every month, find Starks at his second home at U Street Music Hall for Nouveau Riche, a monthly dance party/shit show run by him and his friends Nacey and Gavin Holland. As one of my favorite monthlies in DC, you never know what to expect at this one. These self-proclaimed “party hunks” (I’m not arguing) play everything from dubstep to Baltimore club to electro to their very own productions. Anything goes at this party and the unpredictability of it all is extremely exhilarating. The only element you can truly rely on is everybody having an amazing time. Hands down. Starks and the rest of the Nouveau Riche boys rock that party like it’s their J-O-Bs (I guess it kind of is…) and they do a damn good job of it. If everyone is crawlin’ out the club lookin’ like a hot mess, I’d say it was a successful night.
Keep watch for new tracks from Steve Starks comin’ atcha at random times via the innerwebz. Unpredictable, but it’s happening. Trust me. It’s easier if you just stay ready. In the meantime, if you wanna see him live in action, catch him and the rest of the Nouveau Riche crew at U Street Music Hall this Saturday starting at 10PM. It’s bound to get totally w3ird so bring your favorite fr33k flag and let it fly high.
I recently caught up with Steve Starks to talk about his new tune, “Problem”, his favorite memory from Nouveau Riche, and what kind of goodies we can expect in the near future.
Cool Breezy: How’d you get into DJing and producing?
Steve Starks: I first started messing with production on an old demo program that I installed on my parents computer. I would just make weirdo beats all day until that computer crashed. I got one of my own in college and my homie, Nacey, showed me how to use Fruity Loops. I learned all the basics on that program and have been making music since. Along the way, I figured I should learn how to DJ so I could do the performance part. I saved up and got some turntables and started playing parties here and there. After school I moved to DC and linked up with Gavin Holland and started doing Nouveau Riche with him and Nacey and have been doing it ever since.
CB: You just released “Problem”, which is a total monster of a track. What’s next? What are you working on now?
SS: I got a new EP in the works for T&A Records and my Fr33ky in tha Club (moombahton) EP will be out shortly. In the meantime, I wanna keep putting tracks out on my soundcloud.
CB: Who are some of your influences as a DJ and producer? Is there anybody you’re trying to work with in the future?
SS: I grew up on hip-hop. When I young I was really inspired by old Missy (Elliot) and Timberland tracks. Being from Maryland, I also listened to a lot of Baltimore Club music on the radio [and at] house parties and school dances. Once I got turned on to dance music, I found a place to tie together all my influences. Blaqstarr and Green Velvet are still two of my favorite DJ/producers.
Right now I’m working on some collaborations with my hometown heroes Nadastrom and Tittsworth. I’m also hoping to get up with Baltimore’s DJ Pierre in the near future.
CB: What tunes are in your iPod rotation right now?
SS: I’ve been real into Lex Lugar and Juicy J’s mixtape. Brodinski, Brenmar, Movado, Munchi, The Dream, Eric Rincon, Tittsworth and Alvin Risk are in heavy rotation. Lots of hip-hop old and new and the most random tunes from Dolly Parton to Pantera to Jodeci.
CB: Got a favorite memory from one of those crazy ass Nouveau Riche parties?
SS: One that stands out is when the music cut one time. Some one had kicked the plug out, but the vibe was so strong that people were clapping to the beat for like a minute straight. Once the music cut back on it was pandemonium. People lost their minds! Also, our first time playing at U Street Music hall was really special. I still can get over what a good job they’ve done with that club. I’m so happy to call it home.