My Inspiration: RIDER | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo by Marieke Macklon

Sapien Records celebrates its tenth birthday this year and instead of letting off party poppers and cutting cake, we’re catching up with their artists to do a series of lovely features.

Next up is dream pop artist RIDER, an artist originally from the USA and whose big melodies, vocal hooks and self produced soundscapes have seen her receive attention from press, radio and streaming worldwide, as well as producing/singing for Disney, Netflix and the BBC. 
Here, Rider discusses the inspiration behind her music…

I grew up in a musical family and from a young age my Dad was producing production music from his home studio. This was mostly back in the 80s and 90s. Back then music for TV and film had a certain sound and flavour, certain synths sounds and drum sounds were used etc. I used to love listening to his albums while doing my homework or just playing around like kids do. His music and how my brother and he played the piano were my earliest inspirations. I’ve also always loved watching films too and the music scores greatly influenced me. Particularly films like, ‘Flight Of The Navigator’, ‘The labyrinth’, ‘ET’ and ‘The Goonies’. Back in the 80’s/90s the film’s scores were so much more rich with melodies, there weren’t so many soundscapes, but more strong melodies you could whistle too and I miss that in films. Also, I do love the music from the Netflix series, ‘Stranger Things’. It totally makes me reminisce from my childhood and it’s such a great feeling. 

Another part of my childhood many don’t know is that I grew up as a Christine and my parents introduced me to the famous Christine Pop/Rock singer, Amy Grant. I used to listen to her album ‘The Collection’ on repeat! Oh, it’s so good! Even just the first track on that album sounds a little like my music. 

Growing up in my early teens I really got into The Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and whatever the NOW albums were releasing. I’m a sucker for a good pop melody or just any decent melody that you can remember after one listen. More recently I’ve really enjoyed a lot of Katy Perry and Haim’s music along with M83, Goldfrapp and Imogen Heap who inspire me to be less pop and experiment more. All these artists have greatly influenced me and at times given me huge sparks of inspiration.

This is my most recent single release. When producing this song it felt like it had to be all about that pure summer happiness. That feeling you get when you feel utterly free, BBQs with friends and family, beers on the porch, jumping into lakes, catching fireflies and falling in love. It’s basically a little homage to my summer holidays spent in Pennsylvania with my family. I think the production of ‘Last Friday Night’ by Katy Perry inspired me on this along with some of Haim’s music. It’s a song about falling in love with someone you’ve been friends with your whole life – a blissful but tricky situation. I think my summer memories definitely influenced me the most on this one.

One Your Mind
This song started with a cool synth loop sound I found and I honestly created the whole chorus around it. I had to have it but later my friend Ozzie Rodgers recorded the guitars and it lifted the song to a whole other level! In the early stages it was a little Prince/M83 but I think it turned out to be more Michael Jackson/Haim. That’s not a bad thing, hey! I wanted this song to really pop and the production to be rhythmic and clean. But of course, have some atmospheric synths in the background too. I think that must be my signature sound! I wrote this song after a whirlwind relationship with a guy I met last summer. It was so hot and cold towards the end. I knew I wanted to write about it but I couldn’t until I was completely out of the situation and healed almost. It’s a bittersweet song in a way because I felt so happy but confused. I still have to dance to this one in my bedroom though. I must be happier!

Hurts Me Too
The track was written when I was in a deep state of trying to find my sexual identity. It’s almost a euphoric song for me. I knew from early on in the writing process that I wanted the chorus to sound a little like Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’. I really love the snare sound in the chorus and the dreamy synth strings and I also wanted to emulate that feel and sound overall. ‘Hurts Me Too’ is a song about pain and inner anguish and I have to admit I cried a little when recording the vocals. I do love the production on some of Ellie’s songs. The vastness of the soundscapes that are created light me up! More often than not, Pop music these days has a very minimalist approach with clean sounds leaving a lot of space for the lead vocal but I can’t help but want to use sounds that make you feel like you’re flying over mountains or in the clouds. The soaring sounds, the synths that creep in and out. I guess that’s who I am as Rider – clean fresh Pop but with dreamy synths.

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