28 year old Earnshaw pick up classical music education as a kid. He was performing Chopin and Rachmaninov at the age of seven. He completed formal training with a music degree from the University of London where the freedom of expression he found in jazz, funk and soul. With influences from Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Jean Michel Jarre, Quincy Jones, Beethoven, Bach, Earth Wind & Fire, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and others he started to create his music producing on pc from since he was a young teenager.

In 1998, Earnshaw and friend Mark Horwood teamed up with Piers Penfold to create The Fusion Groove Orchestra. The collaboration soon started to became fruitful with productions like The Dream, their remix of Lynden David Hall’s Forgive Me and Boris D’Lugosch featuring Roissin Murphy’s Never Enough.

Soulfuric chiefs Brian Tappert & Marc Pomeroy were impressed with the remix ability and production skills of Earnshaw and Brian asked Richard to put together something original for the label. The result was People are People (a rhodes and guitar led melodic diamond). The song brought even bigger reputation to Earnshaw as before.

He is traveling all over the world as a dj but being a pianist, clarinettist, saxophonist and some-time guitarist, it is no wonder that when it comes to music, his ultimate passion is for performing live on stage.

Earnshaw ran multiple projects under various aliases and groups (Undercover Joe for truly soulful house, Kaliko which is a more eclectic, jazz infused affair and Spiritchaser, the deep tech house team just to mention a few).

As he comes to Hungary in February we asked him for an inter to tell us about his past, present and future in a brief conversation.

What did classical music give you? Can we discover the signs of Beethoven for example in some of your music?

Well I was classically trained as a pianist so from a performance point of view it gave me the technical ability to develop as a player. I wouldn’t say that the music I studied had an obvious relationship with the music I do now but it certainly helped me understand the theory of music.

How do you feel, did you choose music or music chose you?

I think it was a bit of both to be honest. I was gently forced into taking
Piano lessons when I was 7… then gradually, once I’d learnt the basics, it became fun. Production came a few years later.

Will you always stay at the border of electronic and live music? How long do you plan to be a house producer?

I’ve played/written/produced all sorts of music across the board. That will never change. I like producing house music as much as I like writing/producing jazz. When my album is released, it’ll hopefully show me for my true colours! :)

If I guesstimate it right, you did remix four or five times more track than your own artist releases. What is the reason for this? Where do your inspirations come from?

That’s just the way it happened for me. You have some releases that did pretty well then loads more people want you to remix. But I don’t mind, it allows me to be a fulltime musician and with each remix comes a new challenge.

We could only hear a mix composed by you in the Bargrooves series (Bargrooves – Azure 2. Cd)? Am I right? What’s the reason? Composing mixes doesn’t attract you that much, does it?

I really enjoyed doing the Bargrooves compilation, and I really hope to do more. But you have to be in a certain position as a DJ/producer to have the opportunity to do them. Luckily, Bargrooves gave me this opportunity, the first of many I hope!

You released music at least in five production team. What will be the further destination of United Soul and Fusion Groove Orchestra? New Spiritchaser releases?

Most of the previous acts that I have been involved with will never make another appearance. Things move on. Spiritchaser is still alive and kicking and we have just signed a track to DATA.

Why did you feel creating the aliases Kalik, Dubweiser and Undercover Joe? Could you please present them to us?

Like above, most of these will never appear again. Undercover Joe was a name I created as a front for some edits I did a long time ago… I use them mainly in my DJ sets now cutting up old disco/grooves! plus it’s good fun!

Are the live instruments all played by you on your tracks or do you use the services of other musicians?

I play all the keyboard parts. I do all the drum/synth programming and on the odd occasion I have played live bass. But normally, bass & guitar is done by a couple of guys I’ve been using for years.

In what kind of family did you grow up (if not to nosy)? I suppose that music was an important part of everyday life even for your parents, wasn?t it?

My family was and still is heavily musical. My Dad was a studio mixing engineer at the BBC and played jazz guitar. My Mother is an Opera singer and is still singing at the Royal Opera House in London.

What instruments did you first learn to play on: clarinet or saxophone? What is the more practical way/order? :)

Well, like all good children, the recorder came first! Then it was the Piano at 7 followed by the clarinet soon after. The Sax came later at high school, but it’s very similar to clarinet so wasn’t difficult to pick up.

Did you get to know Mark Horwood in the university? By the way what happened to the fellow university students? Did you stay in connection? How many of them went towards electronic/dance music?

I did indeed meet Mark at University. He was the reason that I came to live on the South Coast of England. I was brought up in London. As for my fellow students, I’ve been very slack and haven’t been in touch with many of them for 10 years!! It’s my NYE resolution to get in touch and see how they are!

What is the house scene like nowadays on the island? What are the dominant sounds and trends in your opinion? Where does deep house stand among them?

Dance music is getting more and more popular now. But I guess it was bound to, after all everything goes round and round in circles. It was just a question of time as to when house music would become upfront again. It’s still not as it was in the 90′s but it’s getting stronger and we’re excited about the next 2-3 years… As for Deep House, I’m not totally locked into the scene so not sure about that.

Are you a devotee of orderliness? What can be discovered in your music is that you like to stay among the already created lines, however the approach can still be totally innovative.

I tend to go with the flow and see what happens. Like anyone, I have my methods that have been tried, tested and reused but as Richard Earnshaw I like to keep things as fresh as possible without losing identity. As for other projects I have on the go? anything goes!

Did the fusion era have a deep effect on you or you were more amazed by the jazz experiences of the first half of the 20th century?

I’ve drawn influence from all sorts of music from many different genres. I think that’s what has given me the ability to write/produce in different styles. And it also helps when you come across a brickwall, you can perhaps change direction a little to get round it.

Do you ever plan to release a nujazz/brokenbeat or other style music?

Already working on it. Myself and Danny are working on an album project as One51… loads of jazz, mixed up with “dance music” and all sorts. That won’t be ready until the end of the year/beginning of 2008.

Arresting that there is no information about your upcoming gigs at myspace. Do you have any residences at the moment? Where do you travel? Who do you play with?

I’ve never had a residency, and unless one comes up that is out of this world, I’ll keep it that way. I like to move about and play all over the place! It allows me to check out other countries, other people, scenes etc… it all helps when making plans for the labels and stuff. As for myspace, I only just sorted it out! :)

What’s up with the ladies? What do you think about the institution of marriage? What kind of relation do you opine to discover between the changing forms of cohabitation and the change of the audio players? Do you think that the recession of marriage is in connection with the withdrawal of vinyls? :)

:) hahaha I don’t think so… I just got married in August last year and we still sell vinyl! Technology has brought to us a new way of listening to and buying music. It just the way it is. And slowly, illegal downloads will reduce. They will never disappear but it’ll counterbalance the reduction of vinyl/CD sales. When/if vinyl disappears forever, I hope my wife stays with me! ;0)

What kind of Richard Earnshaw will we hear in Budapest? The soulful or the deep tech Richard? What instruments will you bring with yourself?

Well… lets see… I always come prepared for pretty much most things so it really depends on the crowd. At the end of the day, DJ’s are there to entertain the public so it’s our duty to do so. I’ve seen too many gigs where the DJ is playing for himself and not the people… And usually that means empty dance floors! If the people are there for you then that’s amazing! We can expect a lot of fun!! On the instrument front, I’ve yet to take anything out with me except my music. What with security problems in airports and clubs not having enough room and stuff… Makes it very hard. One day though… :)