Nigel Richards is one of the most prominent figures in dance music today. Globally recognized as a DJ, producer and entrepreneur behind the seminal Philadelphia based 611Records label and store, his influence can be felt long after the turntables stop spinning.
Touring 52 weeks a year for the past 14 years, Richards is considered to be one of the worlds most in-demand DJs. Club and partygoers throughout North America, and as far away as London, Scotland, Germany and Austria have enjoyed his unique style of party rocking. Highly respected in techno for his intensely textual style, Richards has received extensive critical acclaim. He has been named one of the most successful artists in the industry, and one of the hardest working.
Says DJ Dan in URB Magazines September 2000 issue: “He truly has a good time with what he does. He’ a very successful entrepreneur: He has a clothing line, a record store, he’ a DJ, he’ a producer, and he does all of them very well. He does everything to the best of his ability, and that’ very inspiring.”
Vybe Muzik Magazine has also praised Richards, saying, “To listen to Nigel Richards speak is to experience bits of Philadelphia’ rich dance music legacy, all crunched up in the time it takes to listen to one house single. Light-hearted at times, Nigel’ determination and love of the business keeps him pushing the edge and exploring new venues of distribution and education.”
Richards first gained access to the music industry in 1988, working at the University of Rochester’ AM radio station, soon broadening his listenership to FM, Richards expanded his track selection on WRUR FM 88.5, as host of a Thursday night radio show “City Sounds from Underground.” After graduating with a degree in economics and a Business Certificate in marketing he returned to Philadelphia to further explore his newfound love for dance music by throwing parties and DJing whenever, and wherever, he could. His love was immortalized Aug. 5, 1993, when Richards opened the doors to his greatest entrepreneurial venture, 611 Records, a label and record store based in the city of brotherly love.
Beginning as a very small niche-oriented operation, 611 satisfied the growing demand for dance music in Philadelphia. Specializing in all types of dance music and DJ equipment, the store, at 611 S. Fourth St., quickly became a popular spot for music lovers, DJs and club kids, gaining recognition as one of the best east-coast retailers for underground music.
611 Records soon evolved into a multifaceted operation, developing an original line of clothing and accessories for marketing and distribution across the United States and Japan to support a clothing/used vinyl shop specifically for the clothing and used records called appropriately 612 Clothing (612 South 4th Street).
In 1997, www.611records.com was launched to provide a Web-based outlet with worldwide access to 611 music and merchandise. With the recent launch of 611 sub-labels Society Hill Recordings and 611 DnB, 611 Records success is no surprise to Richards, whose affinity for music has propelled him to the top of the dance world.
As a producer, Richards uncanny feel for diverse styles in his tracks has earned him admiration throughout the world. His releases on such labels as Extortion (UK), Stickman (CAN), Blue Line and 611 have been played, charted and licensed by such notaries as Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Samuel Sessions, Angel Alanis, Josh Wink and DJ Dan. His music echoes sounds spanning from house to four on the floor techno, managing to please both ends of the spectrum. His influences stem from the early sound of Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin and Terry Mullen. Along with a number of popular singles and full-length releases, Richards has put out two very successful series of vinyl on 611: the “611 Funkyshit Series” and the “Philadelphia Acid Experiments.” Many of his other tracks have been licensed to compilations such as “Carl Cox-Live at Crowbar” (Moonshine) and for labels such as MCM, Kickin, Arcade, AFU, Adrenaline, ZYX and City of Angels. Richards has also been involved in various remix projects, including Josh Winks “U R the One” for Sorted Records.
In the fall of 2000, Richards and 611s international profiles expanded exponentially by signing a CD distribution deal with Kinetic Records (home of the popular Tranceport series) to support his nonvinyl releases. “Nigel Richards DJ MIX,” his latest mixed CD, is dedicated to the annual Philadelphia event Whistle. An embodiment of his well-known live performances and other select pieces of his favorite wax, Richards mixes straightforward techno with traditional house sounds, exuding energy while dropping track after funky track. Also due for Kinetic distribution is the “Six Eleven DJ Mix Series.” The original Volume 1 was compiled and mixed by world-renowned drum and bass DJ Dieselboy, a longtime friend to 611 and Richards. Volume 2 was Richards first full-length mix, released in September 1998. Volume 3 will be mixed by celebrated Chicago house DJ Derrick Carter and is due out in summer 2001.
While many would be content after achieving the enormous success Richards has had, he continues to forge ahead at full steam, with no rest in sight. Says Richards, “All of us involved with 611 Records and every aspect of my personal success are very grateful for what we have accomplished. However, we certainly will never put our heads down in comfort. We have high goals and expectations and intend to achieve them while establishing more.”