After the viral success of Riovaz’s debut single, “Prom Night,” the New Jersey-born musician has proven time and time again that his unique blend of house, hyper-pop, and hip-hop is worth telling your friends about. And considering that he’s only 18 years of age, Riovaz’s future will likely see him continue to have the world at his feet.
Last month, he released the EP, Disturb The Norm, and will perform at London’s iconic Camden Assembly on March 9 during his European tour. In an interview with EUPHORIA., we learned more about the creative process behind Riovaz’s new project, collaborating with Skaiwater, and what’s next for the rising star.
“Until It’s Real” serves as an exhilarating opening to the EP. What was it about that track that made you want to put it first?
I love this record because of how fun it was to make with the legend Sam Gellaitry, but also because of how different it is. It makes perfect sense to be first because it’s like that euphoric and jarring feeling of first walking into the Rave and the perfect start to the arc of this EP.
Your song “Hypnotized” sees you collaborate with Skaiwater. How did the collaboration come about and what was the process like?
Well, Skai and I have known each other since we were 14 years old, sending beats to each other over Instagram. I don’t have other features because I wanted this project to be an intro and statement to my fans as to where I am, but he was the perfect missing puzzle piece for this one. No one else could fit. And it was easy – right when I sent him the song, he sent me his part back quickly and it was basically done. Shooting the video was so fun too.
You’ve been releasing music for a few years now. What are the most significant ways you would say your creative process has evolved in that time?
I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable working in proper Studios and working together with other producers in the room. But, I still love the way I can get creative in my bedroom going through YouTube-type beats and the packs my mgmt and A&R teams send – shout out to Alex Meyers.
“Prom Night” exploded on TikTok before you had a team around you. What was it like dealing with all that music industry attention so quickly? And at what point did you realize just how successful the song was becoming?
Well, I’m so grateful that I’ve had my brother Argenis around me from the very beginning. He’s always believed in me and I can trust him to have great advice and insight, so I wasn’t alone. But it was crazy seeing the song blow up on the internet, and it didn’t really feel real until my emails started flooding about it. Oh, and my classmates started asking me about it.
You’re touring across Europe and the US. How do you approach playing a live set and crafting your set list?
Because I’ve never done a full run myself before. I wanted to make sure that I included as much of my catalog as possible so that I could finally perform them with my day-one fans. It feels so crazy hearing them sing the songs I made when I was 16 – they’re still screaming every word… That’s exactly how I want my set to be – everyone jumping and raving together and just losing themselves.
“Can’t Keep Myself Intact” is lyrically one of the most intriguing songs of the EP. How did that track come to be?
That’s actually one of my favorites on the whole project. It was like God was in the room when I made with my brother ASAP P on the Boards. It was actually the quickest song I recorded too. He played me the beat and the entire thing was recorded in like an hour, everyone was dancing around while we were bouncing it.
During the creative process, are you ever thinking about how fans or listeners will interpret your music? Or are you purely looking inwardly?
It really comes from me and my inspiration at the time – a lot of the singing styles I’m taking from Vic Fuentes or Morrisey, and just saying what the records are making me feel. It really comes from me. My genre is always changing, but it is always consistently Riovaz.
When something emotionally impactful happens, do you normally feel the urge to create music inspired by it instantly or do you take a bit of time to process the feeling/experience?
At this point in my writing process, I think it’s more subconscious. I’m not going through something and then dying to go to the studio to get it out, but there’s a lot of truth in what I’m saying in the music. As my experiences keep growing, so will my music and the way I express it, so I guess it takes time for everything to marinate.
Looking forward to the future – what are you most excited about?
More visuals, more music, more growth, more experiences, more Riovaz.