A Varsity Cup rugby luncheon seems an odd occasion to be meeting the house music duo, Ryan and Darren Rigney, who are popularly known as Twins on Decks.
But, as it turns out, these identical twins are big sports fans and were actively involved in multiple sporting codes growing up. “Soccer’s just been our whole lives,” says Ryan.
“We were age four playing under-9 soccer. Since then we’ve always just been playing. We did athletics, where we both played for SA at middle distance and cross country.” Their closest friends today are some the country’s biggest soccer players – “Soccer players wanna be DJs and DJs wanna be soccer players,” they quip.
Even today they still play indoor and outdoor soccer every week.
It’s the eve of Ultra SA, the massive global music spectacle that will see the likes of David Guetta and Martin Garrix performing in Joburg and Cape Town. The twins are part of the local contingent at Ultra and will be playing for the second year in a row.
I take the opportunity to engage them briefly on their careers thus far. Ryan, the more talkative of the two, tells of how they got paid a mere R200 for their first paying gig, which they naturally had to split between themselves. “The car I was driving at the time, I don’t know if a R100 was even enough to get to Midrand,” says Ryan. “Now, with the petrol price, it definitely wouldn’t be enough.” Things picked up quickly from there. Over time, they commanded bigger gigs and started to take their craft seriously. “We had everything planned out,” says Ryan. “What song we’re gonna play, what time we must be through, and even other stuff that comes naturally now we had written on paper,” adds Darren.
They had no long-term plan in these early days, they were just happy to be doing gigs regularly. “We’d get paid on the night and split the cash like this,” Ryan mimics passing Darren some cash. “That’s our stack of money for the week.” It was only after playing at the 2010 world cup that they realised it was time to create a proper business model around their brand. They’ve since grown into arguably the most active act on the DJ circuit.
With the buzz around the country growing for Ultra, they too are getting caught up in it and looking forward to seeing some of their favourite live acts. “DJ Snake’s production, style and overall swagger is perplexing as a whole,” says Darren. “He’s really someone I look up to on an international level - lifestyle and business wise.” Ryan shares his brother's sentiment. “I was lucky enough to see DJ Snake live in Asia last year and I know what he can bring, so I’m really excited to see him perform again.
As well as Martin Garrix, because simply described in one word, epic! Basically we have one aim and that is to rock. Given the fact we played at Ultra last year fuels my excitement even more, we’re coming in bigger and better this year.”