I got the opportunity to sit down and interview Nitti Gritti after his recent set at the Tacoma Dome. A musician from Florida who has put out several EPs and remixes, and has caught the eye of Mad Decent. After getting to know and spend some time with him, I quickly became a fan of his. He’s an incredible artist and a nice person who cares so much for his friends and fans. We talked about his music, his past, and touched on his future plans.
Nitti Gritti Interview With RMR
*interview edited for length and clarity
RMR: Can you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you?
Nitti Gritti: Just a really sweaty guy that jumps around and plays wild music, but also cool throwbacks and stuff that the girls like.
RMR: In your Diplo and Friends Mix, you started off with “No Scrub” by TLC. Has 90s music strongly influenced you growing up or has a different music genre or era done that instead?
Nitti Gritti: To be completely honest, 90s music isn’t even what I personally listen to, or love. I just love what it makes people do. I love watching girls sing along and people would be like “oh my god, throwback!” For me, I wouldn’t just turn that on but I’d jam out. If I was in my car, I’d listen to early 2000s rock like Brand New, and Taking Back Sunday.
I like watching people party, that’s why I like DJing. It’s like I’m in the party but I’m controlling it. That’s kinda why I like playing that stuff.
RMR: What gave you the push to go into DJing and producing, especially full time?
Nitti Gritti: I just produced for the longest time, I didn’t even DJ. It got to the point where it was worth it. I basically had 5 years before I turned into Nitti Gritti, the touring EDM DJ act. Before then, I was just making a lot of music. I worked with people like Seven Lions, Above and Beyond, and did a lot of melodic stuff. It’s definitely still centered around partying and having fun. When I want to play live instruments, it’d be more of the emotional type of music.
RMR: A lot of artists would kill to have a deal with Mad Decent. How did you catch their attention or how did they discover you?
Nitti Gritti: I have a publishing deal with them, and signed an EP to them. I’ve enjoyed it and worked with a lot of great artists. I just started emailing Diplo, that’s the real story. He [Diplo] is the best at communication and will text me back regarding music in five seconds. He was the first one to play my “All of the Lights” remix.
RMR: You’ve been hanging out with the other Mad Decent artists such as Valentino Khan, Diplo, and Wax Motif. What’s your relationship like with them? Do you guys just talk music or do you all hang out as friends?
Nitti Gritti: Especially this week we were just homies. We made a lot of music, but those are my friends for sure. We hung out and went on scooter rides, ate food and our stomachs died.
RMR: What’s the most challenging or lowest point of your career and how did you push through it?
Nitti Gritti: I think just earlier, maybe 3-4 years ago when I wasn’t making money and making music that’s just not as good as you’d like. Your ear and your capability are at a distance. In my ear, I know it’s not as good as it can be. But I didn’t know how to do it, and it’s really frustrating. It applies to every craft. Once you finally get that connection of it matching up, then it’s way easier. There was a good year or two where I was like “I know this sounds like crap, but what do I do?” So that was the most frustrating part.
I remember being like “this doesn’t sound good, I’m never going to make it.” Once you start making things that sound good, you regain your confidence.
RMR: On the other hand, what was the greatest moment or the highlight of your career so far?
Nitti Gritti: It’s hard to pick one. I remember when I found out that Seven Lions took my remix, I was on the ground and I was so happy. I also won this Above and Beyond remix competition, and I was freaking out. Or when Diplo answered me for the first time, and he was like “yea this is dope, send me MP3s.” Then just playing big shows like EDC, where you go on stage and you’re just so nervous and don’t know what to say. In all those great moments, you just feel nervous. You enjoy them but you’re also shaking, in a sense.
RMR: How is Drive [new EP] different from the previous EPs and how have you progressed from your older music?
Nitti Gritti: I had this EP, C’est La Vie, and it was basically the same sound. Where I’m taking trap, hip hop, and rap to make my own sound. It’s kind of like Post Malone meets future bass, meets trap. I read all these reviews [about Drive] and I know I’m not the best at writing yet. I’m still learning and putting it out there, but I don’t feel bad putting it out there. I know my production makes up for it. I think a lot of lyrics go over people’s heads and it’s really just about me and my journey. It’s not about girls, cars, and the obvious. It’s not quite relatable yet since people don’t know that much about me, but when they finally do relate, maybe they’ll come back to the EP.
RMR: It often takes more than one listen to fully absorb music.
Nitti Gritti: Yeah, so many times I’ve been like “the new Drake song sucks.” Then you start singing it, it’s honestly amazing. If you think about how much time they put into it, almost all of those oversaturated artists are really good. As much as we want to hate it, they’re good.
RMR: Are there any tips you’d like to give to aspiring musicians or creatives that you wish you would’ve known earlier on in your career?
Nitti Gritti: Just how long it takes to get good. The average person is like me, I’m average in the sense that it took me five years to get good. A lot of people think it takes a few months. If you’re like me, which you probably are; or else you’ve already made it- it’ll take you a long time. I didn’t go out for two years and I just made music.
I’d say for probably 95% of the artists, if you think they blew up fast, they probably didn’t. I think there’s always some type of Titanic iceberg [of hardwork] below the surface.
RMR: What do you have upcoming that you’d like for fans to know about?
Nitti Gritti: The only one that I know for sure is that I’m doing a house EP for Confession- TCHAMI’s label. I’m really excited and he’s been playing it.
I’m going to be working in January on Nitti Gritti stuff, but I don’t know when it’ll be released.
Listen to Nitti Gritt’s latest EP, Drive below:
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