Being the last electronic festival of the summer - and a sunny one at that - MINT's poster reads like a dream. Take Sunday night as just one instance. Jamie Jones b2b Richy Ahmed, Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers, Hannah Wants, and Ricardo Villalobos b2b Zip. All headlining their respective stages for two hour sets. For a medium-sized festival, it's a pretty high-end heavyweight line-up; also boasting Sven Vath's demanding techno sound and standout sets from Maya Jane Coles and George Fitzgerald, while Leeds' own wAFF makes the Paradise tent pop like its three in the morning at one in the afternoon.
Delivering impressive pairings like Eats Everything b2b Cajmere and Skream b2b Tom Trago, the Brazilian jungle vibe at the 'Rowshow' truly went off. With a snake showing its teeth curling around high trees and greenery hanging from above — and that's before near-hundreds of Elrow-encrusted inflatable animals; dolphins, cow's, among others launch into the crowd along with cannons blasting colourful confetti and performers on stilts doubling as tribal warriors. There's nothing quite like it.
Set along a conveniently sized stretch of field, all six of MINT's stages are within walking distance from one another, making tough set clashes like Green Velvet vs Tiga vs The Martinez Brothers manageable; you can just dip in and out at will. MINT thrives on this, compared to larger festivals where friendships can terminate because of such impossible decisions whether to trudge half way across a muddy site to catch the next big thing.
Between catching big things, we also managed to catch up with Richy Ahmed before his set alongside his label mate Jamie Jones, to grill him on everything — well everything we could think of — from Hot Creations to house music.
RICHY ON... HIS RIDER
"To be honest I don't even know what's on my rider! I was having a bit of a detox in February so I took all the alcohol off it so there was just water and coconut water. It's literally just been changed back last week. My mates were like 'where's the alcohol at?'"
RICHY ON... HIS NEW LABEL AND PARTY, 432
"Its just basically going to be a small party concept and label, all very low key. I don't want any of the venues to be over 400/500 people. I want to try and keep it as simple as possible. The theory behind it is 432 hertz is the universal frequency for love and harmonics. I'm very into cosmology and spirituality so I wanted to put something out there without getting too preachy or too religious. I'll put it out there and the people that ask the questions are the people that it'll resonate to and the people that don't know will just think it's a cool label hopefully. I'm just gonna do three, maybe four releases a year; really beautiful artwork and quality releases. I don't care if it's commercially successful. I want to do something that I really, really believe in."
RICHY ON... PRE GIG NERVES
"I always get nervous before every single gig. But a couple of tequilas and a cigarette, and I'm alright! Three songs in and I feel on the top of the world, its just that bit beforehand where I'm no good to anybody."
RICHY ON... WHAT I WANTED TO BE AS A CHILD
"I wanted to be a boxer. My dad was a boxer, I liked boxing and so wanted to be one. I just wanted to travel and make money — I knew I wasn't going to be doing no 9-5, I knew that from an early age. The system and all the crap that comes with it isn't for me."
RICHY ON... TRIPPING OUT
"I've been sat in a jungle licking a frog with ten of my mates on a weird trip, staying in a mud hut in South America. And then the sky opened up and I was talking to God or something! That was a weird situation!"
RICHY ON ... THE SUCCESS OF HOT CREATIONS AND PARADISE
"We put in a lot of love into what we do and I think that's really important. I think if you give love you get it back. I really do believe in that. I think that we're alot more down to earth than alot of different labels. People can relate to us — they can definitely relate to me! I'm no different from anyone else. What we want to do is just give out positive vibrations, with the music and the look. Kim, my girlfriend, she does all the printing and designing. From the lights to the dancers to the flyers, we want everything to be a whole concept — an experience. It's not just about the raving, people talk as much about what the new concept is gonna be as the new sound. Jamie's put fortunes into Paradise and it's only just paying off for him now. He literally financed the whole thing from the start. No big clubs supported him, he put all of his money into it without a thought of it coming back. I remember the first couple of years, he could have got big offers from big clubs for LOTS of money, but he didn't."
RICHY ON...HOUSE MUSIC
I think it's important, now the way house music's gone, people have moved away from pop stars because they feel too disassociated from them, but when they come to raves they can hear one of their tunes being played. They come to an afterparty and i'll be in the crowd dancing — like loads of DJ's do. House music is more 'in reach' for people. The music and the quality of it is really high now, that even a kid at 19-years-old can make a number one hit in their bedroom. And I think house music and this scene — it's honest. Most people that go out just go out, because of the music. There's no uniform, everyone's got different gear on, whereas with some scenes there's a 'look', but house music's for everyone!
RICHY ON... THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
To be honest, it's not even the artists for me that give it a bad name, I think it's the managers behind the artists, creating these monsters, and it all becomes about just money and not the love.
RICHY ON... THE FUTURE OF DANCE MUSIC
"I think electronic music's going nowhere for a long time. I've got no hate for anyone in this business. I really think there's enough fuckin' room for everyone. I think that there has to be entry level music, before it was dubstep and then drum & bass, a lot of people that find house music, they generally don't leave. When I was 21 I was listening to funky house, everyone's got to find their music. It's not my thing, but i've got no hate for anyone with that passion at all."
And on with that, we left Richy to his pre-gig cigarettes and tequila, and were off to enjoy as much of the rest of the festival as possible.