Since opening its doors to the public for the first time in 2007, Woei has left its mark on the international sneaker and streetwear community with several collaborations including Asics, Patta, and Stüssy along the way.
But the interests and passions of the Woei crew reach far beyond just shoes and apparel. Besides providing the streets with the latest from Nike, Adidas, and Co., music has always been at the heart of the store. Considering the highly curated playlists and mixes that can be heard in the store, as well as hosting some of Rotterdam's most notorious parties, the belief that music unites is deeply ingrained in the Woei DNA.
Based on this deep connection, we want to shine a spotlight on some of our favourite local musicians to talk about what sparked their passion for music and hear their take on common dilemmas in the music industry.
A few weekends ago, we caught up with the man of many talents - from pastry chef to DJ to MC, we're happy to welcome Riv for the 8th episode for WOEI FM!
Stay tuned for his WOEI FM live set on Monday, October 5th - broadcasted live by Operator Radio!
For our chat with Riv, we sat down at cozy Crooswijk-based cafe “Croos”. Even though it wasn't exactly the sunshine-filled Sunday morning we had in mind when we planned our brunch meeting, the homely atmosphere and hearty coffee at Croos certainly made up for the cloudy autumn weather. The kid-friendly and spacious cafe is located near the Schuttersveld athletic track and is open from 10 until 5 on weekends.
Can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Riv, aka Rivelinho aka Spliffelinho and I'm 26 years old. My parents are originally from Surinam but I was born and raised here, more specifically in eastern Rotterdam. Currently, it's more likely that you’ll catch me somewhere in the Westside though.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I work at a pastry shop in the city center. Besides that, I’m always busy with something music related - whether that’s looking for new music, playing or making music. So I guess you could say that my daily life pretty much revolves around music.
When and how did you realise that music was going to play a big role in your life?
I actually already figured that out when I was 9 years old. I was maybe six or seven years old when I knew that I wanted to do something music related. Since I had this feeling that I would end up doing something in this industry, I never took any proactive steps to pursue it any further. I didn’t feel any pressure at such a young age and didn't really care about knowing exactly when, where or how I might get my foot in the door. I guess, the one thing that I knew for sure was that I would be happy as long as I would be somehow involved or surrounded by music.
"I didn't feel any pressure at such a young age and didn't really care about knowing exactly when, where or how I might get my foot in the door.
I guess, the one thing that I knew for sure was that I would be happy as long as I would be somehow involved or surrounded by music."
Can you share with us how you fell in love with music in the first place?
It all started with me growing up listening to the “usual” genres you'd expect hearing in a black family like Reggae, Dancehall, RnB and Soul. I gotta say, those genres were really inspiring to me because I saw all these people that looked like me making all these amazing songs. My dad, for example, used to play a lot of Reggae and Dancehall. Today, my old man is over the big 50 and still bumps his favorite artists including Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Vibes. The funny thing is that we all know how "dirty" the Dancehall lyrics can be. But my dad loves the genre regardless, maybe even more so since he understands Patois :) .
In secondary school I really got to broaden my musical horizons as I dived deeper into exploring Jazz and Hip Hop. Coincidentally, I also discovered electronic music like house and Dubstep. Finding out about all these other genres made me want to do what I’m doing right now.
Digital or Vinyl?
How are you currently involved in the music industry?
At the moment, I’m DJ-ing, writing music and working on an EP with a close friend of mine. Lets see how that goes. Generally speaking, I just keep learning about my craft and other crafts to stay busy and use my time wisely to move forward.
Club nights or Festivals?
If you could play at one club, which one would that be?
Cargo, an urban club in London. I think my music would fit nicely to the venue and the kind of parties they throw there. Also, the place reminds me of the good old Chips days. The similarities in vibe and location (especially the backyard!) make me super nostalgic and give me serious flashbacks.
"Today, my old man is over the big 50 and still bumps his favourite artists including Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Vibes.
The funny thing is that we all know how "dirty" the Dancehall lyrics can be.
But my dad loves the genre regardless, maybe even more so since he understands Patois :) "
How do you usually select and organise music for upcoming events?
I’d describe my process of picking songs for events and mixes as natural. For instance, I would never sit behind a recordbox to choose the songs I want to play. I’d much rather just walk down the street while listening to some random music on shuffle - most of the time that’s the when and where I decide what to put in my playlist. Otherwise I write it down by hand or in my Notes app. Other than that, I watch a lot of movies to find voice clips and small skits. I really like to implement them in random spots during my mixes.
Tell us about how you first got in touch with the notorious Chips crew. How did you guys meet?
It all started on the last night that Club 26 existed. I used to work there as a barback, but seeing as this was the last night of the Club before its closure, I had different plans for that evening. At some point during the night, I stole the microphone out of André's hands with an attitude and energy a la “This is my club and its my clubs last night, so I have to MC!”. It was during my freestyle MC session that André, one of the Chips head honchos, noticed me. And thats how it happened, I finally got my foot in the door/scene as an artist / creative. After a warm welcome to the Chips family, André offered to teach me more about DJ-ing and MC-ing if I wanted to. Of course, I gladly accepted his offer - and the rest is history. Chips was an incredibly entertaining and inspiring environment that allowed me to study what Andre, JR, Denzel and Mo Jakob were doing behind the decks and at the Mic. Since the Chips team already had 2 pretty solid MCs in JR and André, I started branching out into producing and performing music. I wanted to be of use to the team and started to figure out my own way. The beauty of the small and intimate team was that they gave me complete freedom to move in-between disciplines.
I still can’t put my finger on what exactly drove us apart, but I’d like to think that sometimes, nice things have to come to an end so other even more beautiful projects can blossom. If you look at what the crew is up to these days with Mo J helming Concentric Circles and me playing at Mono, you can tell that there are more and more beautiful opportunities coming our way.
Do you have a current favourite song that you would like to share with the readers?
That's a really tough question because I got a lot of music to share with y'all. But Westside Gunn - George Bando is on repeat right now - because I’m from a black block from the East side!
Opening or closing set?
"I'd like to think that, sometimes, nice things have to come to an end so other even more beautiful projects can blossom."