A cadenza, generally, is a a virtuoso solo, performed often near the end of a musical piece. In contrast, Oliver Rodigan, aka Cadenza, is an up-and-coming producer - and also the song of DJ David Rodigan, but his music stands up for itself without needing any kind of family connection.
When Music Week speaks to Rodigan, he’s working in his studio, trying to finish up some new club edits. When it comes to the music, the artist has become as known for his production work on other people’s work as his own output - in part because the two often stem from similar points of creation.
“I don’t separate it in my mind,” he explains. “I get in the studio with people I want to work with, and we make something. At the end of it, if I feel it’s something I really want, that’s more suited to me, then I’ll put my hand up. If it’s for them, then it’s for them. I don’t go into it before thinking, This is for me. I take it as it comes.”
No Drama - taken from the EP of the same name - features Avelino and Assassin, for example. Of Avelino, a London-based rapper, Rodigan says: “His A&R was playing his music in our office. She came for a meeting and when I heard his voice, I just thought it was cool and original. I hadn’t heard a UK rapper with that kind of tone in a while.
“So I reached out and we did a day - that was the first song we did together. I keep my ears out - I have a label that I run as well, so I’m always interested in new stuff. I like to share new stuff with other people, I find that as exciting as letting people hear my music. I like to put people onto other stuff, so when I find someone I like and want to put on, I always try to reach out and work with them.”
That label is The Full Hundred, an imprint of Columbia Records. “We set up the label a couple of years ago,” says Rodigan. “We were looking for an outlet. There were a couple of things that my managers liked and we wanted to do small vinyl runs of them, then we ended up having a conversation with Sony and it ended up more fully-fledged.
“It was a platform for me to release my own music as well, and have more control over it. I like to be quite hands-on with it all. I’ve always come from doing A&R alongside being a producer as well - I started doing A&R for Dummy Magazine’s record label before I left to do my own, so I’ve always done the two hand in hand. I’ve always enjoyed doing them together.”
It was a natural graduation for Rodigan, who enjoys the freedom a bigger company gives him. “I’d done those couple of years at Dummy and that was really fun in the independent world, but at the same time, it’s slightly slower moving, because it’s hard to do stuff at that level,” he notes. “Moving into a bigger company just gives you that freedom to do stuff quickly, without having to hold back, basically.”
He adds: “Anyone who works in A&R naturally looks for new music, whether they’re a producer or not, but having the label background - sometimes I’m just looking for stuff for the label, not even to work with. It all depends on the situation.”
It’s certainly working out well for Rodigan’s career so far. After No Drama, he has plans for a single next, featuring 18-year-old Jorja Smith - whose own Where Did I Go was produced by Rodigan - and Dre Island.
After that, he says, he not sure:
“Maybe something more low-key like a mixtape. I’ve got lots of instrumental tracks I want to share with people. I think the album might still be a little further down the line for me. I just want to put stuff out that I like, keep dropping music consistently.”