Henry Smithson’s career in dance music began in 1990s dance culture with long trips to the Renaissance raves, prompting him to launch his own promotions closer to his home in Newcastle.
The success of the club spawned the Switch record label, whose releases eventually made the record bag of Manchester hip-hop patriarch Mark Rae, who subsequently offered Smithson a job at his Fat City record shop in Manchester and an outlet for his solo material as Riton (French slang for Henry) via Rae’s Grand Central imprint.
Although at first glance the brew of soul, R&B, and house of the resultant debut long-player Beats du Jour seemed some distant from his contemporaries at the label, Smithson’s consistently growling low end and Funkadelic keys provided the all-important link to hip-hop.
In recent years, Riton’s in-demand remixing and producing work has continued to flow – his 2015 co-production on Mark Ronson’s ‘Daffodils’, featuring Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, is one such notable example.
The 2016 release of his own tech-house banger ‘Rinse & Repeat’, which featured Lagos/New York vocalist Kah-Lo, was extremely well received, garnering widespread airplay and the No.1 spot on the BBC Radio 1 dance chart for several weeks. The song was also nominated for Best Dance Recording at the 2017 Grammy Awards.