An L.A. transplant who received a warm welcome (not to mention a record deal) in the Bay Area, this young DJ/producer is currently working on his debut release for Om Records. Rithma was born Etienne Stehelin, and got his early training in jazz guitar. He names Miles Davis as his single most significant musical influence -- except perhaps his musician mother. Rithma's star has ascended rather rapidly so far: it was only in 1997 that he produced and self-released his first track, titled "Rithma 001." The record was largely a practice run; it wasn't until the second attempt, "Rithma 002," that he received any real attention from the music community. Follow-up tracks produced in collaboration with Scott Finley, a longtime friend and former bandmate, got released on Fiji Records in 1998 and 2000. The best-known is probably Rithma vs. Scott Finley. Rithma's solo attempts got released through several underground dance labels including Tweekin Records in San Francisco and Beau Monde in the U.K. He also contributed to Sounds of Om, Vol. 2 and released two EPs, Caffeine Sunshine and The Escape, on Om Records. Both title tracks received an excellent response from the dance community, inspiring Om to sign him to a multi-album deal.
An ardent world traveler with a quirky sense of humor and plenty of stage presence, Rithma makes waves wherever he goes. As an Om artist, he plays some of the best venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He constantly pops up at smaller venues and underground parties however; he'll often give impromptu, unannounced performances that last for hours. This DJ became known for live sets of hard-hitting, energized tech-house. He continued to contribute to compilation CDs, including 4 A.M. Sound of Tech House, and began work on a full-length slated for release in mid-2003. ~ L. Katz