Life Hacks with Manami and Demi Riquisimo

5 Minute Read

Today marks the release of a collaborative EP from the pair who reflect on the stresses of touring, studio values and more.

Manami and Demi Riquisimo are both talented producers in their own right. So, what happens when you pair the two in the studio?

The new release on Demi Riquisimo’s sub label A Lifetime On The Hips showcases versatile elements of each individuals respective styles, whilst creating something new entirely. The result is a collection of music which sits somewhere between Acid, House, Trance and Electro. It features huge plucks, big chords, grungey baselines and rugged percussion yet still sounds immaculately produced and cohesive. A true meeting of minds and sounds.


As individuals the pair are also prolific DJ’s with hectic schedules – recent years have seen both of their careers flourish with international dates aplenty and little sleep.

We asked the pair to talk about the process of collaboration as well as affording us a few life hacks and personal tips along the way.

Manami asks Demi Riquisimo:

You’ve recently been collabing with people in the studio. I’ve been lucky enough to be one of them! What do you like and enjoy about the collaboration process that’s different to making a tune on your own?

“I love seeing how other people work and their work flow and every session I learn so much about their techniques and tricks. I never felt confident enough as a producer before to work with other people but I just threw myself into it which was a bit scary but you and Michelle (Manetti) were my first really. I think it helps starting with friends you’re close and comfortable with. There are way more surprises when working with other people which I love. Sometimes writing on your own can get samey so I love the balance between the two.”

A lot of tunes get pumped out of that studio..! What drives your creativity, and gets your juices flowing? How do you get inspired when the juices are running low?

“It’s normally focused around a random sample or me just switching on all the synths and messing around with a sound, sometimes for hours. I’m really inspired from really old under the radar tracks and an idea here and an old sample here normally gets me ticking. I recently put out 3 new edits which were made about a year ago as a result of having a touch of writer’s block. I made each edit in a day and that inspired me to write more original music.”

You’ve been travelling about a lot recently. It looked so much fun. As a fellow foodie, what’s the best thing you’ve eaten in recent memory?

“I recently went to Singapore for the first time and tried their signature H Chicken. Half steamed/ half fried and served with rice cooked in chicken broth. Then with a side of sticky soy, ginger and super hot sauce. A winning combo as I’m a spice fanatic.”

It’s pretty exhausting always being on the road. What are your top 3 tour life hacks?

“My number 1 is the app Airalo. My phone never works properly abroad since they changed all the regs and I was also starting to have some crazy bills. This app creates local e sims for your phone so you’re using local networks and it’s cheap. And not taking your SIM card out! Number 2 is travel as light as possible, hand luggage only and never check in your records! And my third isn’t really a hack but it’s to try to see and explore as many of the places you visit as these moments can inspire you the most. I’ve had a few situations recently where I’ve gone to a country, played a gig and then had to leave straight away which can feel like a missed opportunity.”


Demi Riquisimo asks Manami:

I’ve been following your new live set through socials (need to come to see you soon!) what sparked the idea to go in that direction and how does it feel and differ from a Dj set?

“I’ve always been quite dynamic in the way that I mix. Overlaying specific elements from tracks, using a lot of FX, kinda like remixing each of the tracks on the fly. A hybrid set allows you to do this intuitively and more quickly so it felt natural to evolve the set up a bit. Hybrid is half live half DJ. It allows for more creative freedom of what you can do with the tracks and decks, allowing an extra level of interaction beyond tune selection, to communicate with the crowd.

The prep’s very different to a Dj set. Everything is pre programmed so when it comes to it you have freedom to play around with those elements. A significantly higher workload than a Dj set but is a lot of fun to perform.”

And also how did you first go about acquiring the equipment and creating the performance process? This is something I’m really interested in doing but I have no idea how and where to start!

“The brain of the set up is the DJS 1000, Pioneer’s DJ sampler. The decks are connected to it alongside a synth. I use my Minilogue xd. The process came with thinking about how I wanted to perform the elements live, as there are so many possibilities. Once I whittled it down to 4-5 ways, I implemented across the tracks and practised! Some of these ways include chopping up breaks, triggering samples, and jamming on the keys.”

You’ve been based in London for almost two years now. How do you feel the scene differs from where you were before in Bristol?

“The size definitely has an impact on how the scenes and communities are built/exist. Took a bit of getting used to at first. I miss the compact size and community in Bristol, bumping into the usual suspects at the usual spots made it feel very homey. On the other hand I love the choice that there is in London. So many good nights on, and it’s been fun getting to know different crews at different clubs/parts of the city. Spoilt for choice musically in both cities though.”

DJing, touring, producing and everything that comes with it can sometimes be very consuming on the mind. How do you spend your downtime?

“Cooking and exercise are the main two. It sounds so lame but I’m trying to squat 60kg by the summer at the moment lol. Recently picked up boxing too. On weekends off I like to pick up a fresh bit of fish or meat from the market and spend the afternoon and evening cooking. Fish broth based noodle soups have bit my most recent obsession.”

I’m also really interested to know your creative process when in the studio. I always like to ask producers this but what’s your go to method for starting an initial idea. Do you have one or more ways?

“More recently it’s been a bit more abstract. I’ve been starting with writing down some words that I’m feeling that day, maybe find some pictures on Pinterest to go alongside, and then use that as the basis for sound design. I usually hit the synths and sounds to elicit those words or write a chord sequence. When I’m going for something pretty dancey, I usually like to layer a bunch of initial loops on top of each other that sound the vibe of the words, build rhythms and sounds on top of that, and then slowly start to take bits of the loop out, so you use the loops as an initial crutch. For me it’s about getting ideas out instinctively and intentionally.”