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Inland Knights - Never leaving a mess but always having fun

Author: Katie Elles
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Amidst the current sea of superstar DJ's and profit driven promoters it is refreshing to meet a couple of house artists who started out in Northern England's early 1990's free party scene. Laurence Ritchie and Andy Riley, now known as the Inland Knights, organised free, large-scale, underground events at various locations across the English countryside.

The pair met in 1993 through their involvement in legendary UK free party crew Smokescreen Sound System, which Laurence founded and Andy joined in 1995. After years of successful events, the underground scene came under increasing pressure due to government regulations like the infamous Criminal Justice Act.

The duo's advice for free party seekers in Australia, "Choose your locations carefully!! I guess it's easier over there but once you start pissing off the locals the police won't take long showing up. Don't leave a mess and have fun."

When the scene fell apart the pair joined forces and refocused their energy on producing original material under the Inland Knights guise. Since their first release four years ago, they have really taken off, with tracks licensed to notable compilations such as the 'Global Underground' series and Miguel Migs' 'Nite Life.'

Inland Knights are also sought after as a remix team with credits including Faithless' 'Mohammed Ali' Onionz and Tony's 'Everywhere You Are,' 'Floris' 'Shake It,' and Dano's 'Horny Hustle.' 'Inland Knights Volume 1' marked the launch of their label Drop Music, an independent outlet devoted to the production of quality deep house music.

Their blend of jazz and funk, dynamic percussion and silky smooth vocal hooks has catapulted the Inland Knights to international popularity. Their DJ sets are a rich fusion of classic material with all styles of house, from Salsa- and Latin-tinged tracks to dub, disco, garage and four-to-the-floor techno.

"Our style has changed very little over the years! We've always been into deep house (to give it a name) and all styles within that genre. Our approach to music has always been open minded so, when we go in studio we don't go in with any preconceived idea of what we're gonna come out with, we just go in and see what happens."

Laurence and Andy's music might not have changed but the environment in which they produce and perform it certainly has. The days of free, large-scale parties are over thanks to the global commercialisation of the house scene

"Big clubs over here are struggling because people are sick of the same clubs putting on the same big name DJs for over the top door prices. The plus side to this is that as a result, lots of smaller more underground nights are starting to appear again which generally means nicer vibe, better music and realistic door prices."

The lads are as just as enthusiastic about DJing as they are about production and still maintain a relentless international touring scedule. Global gigs include Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, in addition to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Holland, Belgium, France, Istanbul, the Czech Republic, and the U.S.

"New Zealand's wicked! Auckland in particular has a very healthy house scene with lots of bars and clubs and loads of good local DJs plus a radio playing house all day…I think playing in Auckland has been a highlight.

"We liked Melbourne when we were last in Australia especially a bar called Revolution. 24hour drinking and good music. Very nice! We've also had fun in Adelaide with Bondi and his club cargo."

Aside from the touring, Inland Knights have a couple of EP's coming out in the next few months. One on San Francisco label Amenti Music and another on Chicago label So Sound. They also have a couple of tracks for Drop Music in the pipeline."We have plans for a new album but we've been saying that for a while - we would like to write a more diverse album with vocals and down tempo tracks but we'll see. Other than that we would like to spend the next few months really trying to writ