You can see why the UK DJ/producer and honcho of house + techno label Bigger Deer Recordings is such a fast-rising star. Since landing his first DJ gig at the age of 18, Lewis Ryder has smashed venues such as Inigo, The Cross, Egg, The End and The Loft, while as a producer his debut (‘Rock Out Of Bed EP’) drew praise from the likes of Laurent Garnier and Hernan Cattaneo. Currently looking forward to a residency at Space in Ibiza and playing their famous 2008 closing party, Lewis DJs regularly in and around London and heads up a party called Hindsight with Javier Espanol. Yes, Lewis Ryder is on fire – and he’s only 22 years old!
Lewis was born in 1986 and grew up in Ashford, Middlesex. He recalls the creative influence of his dad, and getting his first Mac when he was just 10 years old. He was into technology, music and art, and ‘played the mouse and keyboard’. Before graduating from university with a degree in Graphic Design: New Media, he was on course to become a designer but was then captivated by dance music, DJing and producing. ‘I started to realise that I could make a career out of the music I love,’ says Lewis. ’Listening to it, making it and playing it.’
‘I don’t see that much difference between design and music,’ continues Lewis, who now creates all the artwork for his music projects. ‘I look at producing a track in a similar way to designing something. It’s all down to patterns and guidelines... and, of course, occasionally steering away from those guidelines!’
Lewis was also still at university when he began putting on parties, starting in 2005 at Inigo in Clapham. He went on to establish Hindsight together with his friend Javier Espanol in late 2006 and the party has gone from strength to strength. Together they’ve welcomed guests like King Roc, Audiojack and Justin Robertson to Inigo, James Talk in the main room of The Cross, and Anil Chawla and Miniminds at Egg. As with any good night, there are some potent residents in the brew too, namely Javier and Lewis, plus ‘guest residents’ Tom Budden and Huw Lloyd.
As a DJ, things really took off for Lewis in 2007 after a mix CD that he circulated at a ClubClass party reached the ears of Raymundo Rodriguez and the ClubClass promoters. Raymundo had previously picked up on the ‘Rock Out Of Bed EP’, which led Lewis to regular sessions at Jaded, at The End. This time he really loved Lewis’ mix and wanted to flag it up on his Ministry of Sound radio show. ClubClass in Maidstone, meanwhile, invited him to play at their Christmas party alongside Nic Fanciulli and Osamu M. Lewis rocked it and Osamu signed his ‘Rock Out Of Bed EP’, which was released in March 2008 on Outerspace Records. The mix CD was consequently a remarkable success (and one Lewis still enjoys), although his first passion was and is for performing live club sets. ‘The crowd’s reaction is everything...’ he says. ‘For me, DJing is all about that reaction, and our interaction.’
Following advice received from Nic Fanciulli, Lewis launched Bigger Deer Recordings in 2008. His first release, ‘Empty Draw’, received great feedback from James Zabiela, Dylan Rhymes, Funk D’Void, and Andrew Grant, among others, while the follow-up, 'Techno Birds', featuring Anil Chawla and Maher Daniel on remix duties, is already supported by Hernan Cattaneo and Neil Quigley ahead of its release, confirming ’08 as the year of the deer. A huge highlight of this year was Lewis winning the Pioneer/Space Ibiza DJ competition, which meant him playing at the 2008 Space closing party and securing a 2009 residency at the globally renowned club. So now he’s ryding a wave with sets at Space under his belt, where does he go from here?
From computer-loving graphic design graduate to mega-promising DJ/producer, Lewis’ learning curve has been super-steep. Yet, as a beat-hungry 22-year-old, he’s already achieving his goals and setting new ones, rocking the crowds and reaching for new sounds!