Henri Charuau, aka DJ RIFFA, can play more than 10 instruments. He has always been a musician. However, as many musicians and artists alike can attest to, it’s not always enough to pay the bills. Recently, Charuau left Richmond, the city where DJ RIFFA was conceived, to take a well-paying banking job in Northern Virginia. But don’t worry; he is still spinning tracks on a regular basis in the capital of the Commonwealth. You can catch him almost every weekend in Richmond’s Fan or Shockoe Slip bringing the party to life. We caught up with DJ RIFFA to discuss the places in Richmond he feels most comfortable, some of his original mash ups of multiple genres, as well as his passion for producing music and establishing new connections within the music scene.

Where do you usually spin, and why do you spin there?

Well, the residency I’ve had the longest is at KAI nightclub in Shockoe Slip, but I play at Bellytimber Tavern here and there. You can also catch me at Vintage in the Fan.

How, when and why did you get into DJing? How long have you been doing it? What was your original source of inspiration, and do you still find inspiration from this source?

Well, I’ve been a musician since day one. I play [more than] 10 instruments, [though] not all well. After realizing [my] potential, DJing seemed like an awesome option in an ever growing scene. I’ve been doing it since about 2010, but really started playing out in 2012.

You used to spin in Richmond. Why did you leave?

Different opportunities presented themselves in the form of a great day job, but I still come back to RVA most weekends to get down with my friends.

Combining totally different genres into one crowd-pleasing track has got to be challenging. Do you do this often, and, if so, do you enjoy the challenge?

My number one attribute is being able to go in and out of genres. I have DJs coming up to me in the club from different cities telling me how much they like the diversity. It’s a great feeling to hear other people in the craft complimenting me; [it] validates most things I’ve worked for.

What has been your favorite spot to spin at and experience as DJ RIFFA?

I love KAI ‘cause it’s where I really got my start, but damnit if Bellytimber Tavern isn’t one of the most off the chain places in RVA. Marithe, Kelsey, and Sean hold me down so hard, and I always have a blast with everyone that comes in.

Do you have a proudest DJ-related achievement?

Playing my own song at Hat Factory (now closed) with a full crowd for the Caked Up show and having people throw their hands up and jump up and down during it was a pretty cool feeling. It’s neat to make people [react that way].

I dig the track “Carpe Diem: Time to Suck the Club’s Dick (mini mix),” possibly because I love the title. What inspired it?

I sat down one day and was like, “Yo, look at all these songs in my recently added [section] of iTunes…. I should do something with these.” So, that mix got made after I finished the rest of my coffee.

What’s your favorite drop in all of electronic music, or the first one that comes to mind?

That’s almost an impossible question, but, I guess, recently one of my favorite drops would have to be the “Party Up (GTA remix)” by DESTRUCTO. Something about that track just makes people want to move and get turned up.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you hope to still be DJing?

In five years, I honestly see myself producing more music and really striving to make music a legitimate source of income for myself. I definitely hope to still be DJing.

Which Soundcloud track are you most proud of?

Go to my Facebook page and look out for some updates. [I] got a few new tracks coming out soon that I’m really proud of.

What Virginia artists do you think deserves more attention?

Be on the lookout for the homie TRE JUSTICE. Dude is doing huge things recently.

For more DJ RIFFA tracks and information, check out his Facebook and Soundcloud pages.

Marianna Campano

Marianna Campano

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