Nitti Gritti is a name you should be familiar with by now. His famous “Lights” remix quickly conquered the hearts of millions of fans all over the globe, while every mainstage DJ made it one’s business to drop it in their sets. Nitti quickly gained fame for a reason. His remarkable production skills along with his easy going personality and fun and relatable alter ego Rebekah showcased his diverse talents bringing unparalleled experience to his listeners. From his mellow and chill Ricky Mears project to his Nitti Gritti one, he is a living proof that you can be anything you want. We caught up with Ricky before his show in Atlanta and talked about his growth as an artist, his favorite tracks to play and how he came about his social media antics.
Nitti Gritti Interview: Video
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Alright, so let’s start with the basics. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you choose the name and how did you get involved with the music?
I mean, the name came like two years ago, but I didn’t even come up with it. And so it’s not that cool of a story. But I’ve been producing for like seven years. I always wanted to make music, but I just sucked at it. And then I started making electronic music. Kinda came naturally. I was in bands, played drums, guitar and stuff like that. So kind of all led up to it. Plus it was like heavy rock and stuff like metal that type of shit. So it makes sense with the heavy stuff that I make.
Okay! So I’ve heard that awesome story about your grandma, how you came up with that name…
Ahh I’m just feeling a little tired today. But normally I would have made some extravagant story. Just don’t tell anybody that that’s not real.
Is this a part of the Nitti Gritti brand?
Yeah. Just the story is so dumb. I just make something up every time.
As an artist that mixes pretty much every sub genre of EDM possible in a set, what are the challenges of creating such a diverse set?
Oh, it’s mainly just when you’re putting the songs and key, which is like sonically, they’re gonna match. So when you’re matching a bunch of different genres, the vibe can really be thrown off unless you transition it the right way. So it takes a little bit to go from, you know, hard Dubstep, to trap to house to maybe moombahton to future bass. I know it’s really has to do to me with those sections, a little vibes of getting people to feel that kind of music for a little bit instead of just chopping in and out of every single one. It’s nice to do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of that. So you kinda can get used to it and it’s not too surprising.
That’s how I look at it.
How do you think you grew as an artist since your Ricky Mears project?
I mean it’s more just like the branding grew and like having fun with social media and like, actually it’s not a job to me. I love talking to fans and I love posting media that me and Jeremy do and it’s like we do a bunch of dumb shit that’s really fun and it’s not serious. So it’s like from Ricky Mears is a little more serious. I made more melodic stuff, but it’s kind of fun to be like more of like a party DJ, just do fun things and just enjoy it. It’s nothing crazy serious. You know what I mean? Like I’m literally making Dubstep with Shaquille O’Neal, you can’t take that serious. It’s just fun. There’s no other word to describe it, I guess.
Awesome. Is there a specific track that you like to drop the most in your sets?
I mean, I love dropping like a good Brittany Spears track or something. Those are my guilty pleasures. Or like the Kesha edit I have.
Obviously I love playing like “Crack” and like “WTF” and stuff, but those little like, Whoa, how’d you…
Those are the best.
Yeah. Those are the funny ones.
How did it feel when “Lights” became one of the top played tracks at every festival?
It’s just a lucky blessing. It’s dope *laughs*
Did you think it would happen?
Yeah, it was kind of random. I definitely knew it was good. But it’s like they always say, you never know what songs are going to hit and that one, I just knew it was good, but like, none of us knew it would really do that. yeah, it’s just happy that it’s doing what it is.
That’s amazing. Is there a sub genre or style of either that has been more challenging to write than you had thought?
Pop music because I love making, I want to make hits and I tried to work on some Enrique records, Pitbull records, and then we did one for Bad Bunny. And then we’re like always trying to make some, any of the bigger artists. And those to me normally surprisingly are harder even if it is a pop kind of sound because it’s like thinking about what could be a hit is really hard versus just doing something for my gut, like making a dubstep track for making a trap set or like, you know, trap. It’s like I just sit down and make it. That’s it.
What are some things outside of music that have inspired you to create?
I love sports and exercising, like snowboarding and all that. Even today we were out riding. Everywhere we go if there’s Birds we’re riding scooters and shit. Good food, that shit is inspiring and oh my gosh, hmm. Not really but it is. I don’t know.
Did you have a chance to try any Atlanta food?
Well, I dunno if it’s really Atlanta food, but last time I was here I got Bar Taco just because I loved it so much and we went back today.
But definitely been here at other times and had like good home-cooked like Southern. Yeah. You know, always.
Okay. What advice do you have for young up and coming artists that may encounter technical difficulties such as the ones you recently experienced in Tulsa?
Oh, that’s the least of your worries. Messing up at a set is the easiest if you admit it like, Yo, I messed up. Everyone’s like, it’s all good. It’s all good. Like it’s just acting too cool to like, oh I hate when people… this is the number one thing to do. All the producers *points at the camera* Don’t be a little diva and blame the tech. Even if it is their fault, you don’t have to be a little bitch about it. Just suck it up, make shit work and you’re fine. Unless it really is an insane problem. Like I’ve seen some people get mad. I’m like, Bro, it takes five seconds usually to fix something.
Like Cash Cash at Ultra
That I know them. I know those guys. They’re joking. I think that was like a fun, you know, they might have just done that to do it for fun. But that is an example. Especially for an up and coming DJ, nobody actually cares about you yet. Don’t make it difficult to be liked, you want to be liked. That’s the number one thing you want. Like I try to say hi and be nice to anybody in hospitality, anybody in the club. Because if you’re not no one’s gonna like you, and then that’s like half the battle is getting people locally to support you.
And probably no cheap USBs?
Yeah. There’s no real guarantee. Just bring more than one. Like I had two, one already broke. Honestly, it’s crazy.
What’s a country on your bucket list that you want to play?
I want to play in like France, Italy, Germany. I’m going to Austria and then Belgium for Tomorrowland. And, but…
Have you thought about Russia?
Yeah, I would love to go to Russia actually. They have a big scene.
I am originally from Russia
I mean I know it is probably more like House…
Yeah it’s very Housy, but Russians go really hard with Dubstep.
I actually know a bunch of producers that are Russian, but I can’t think of them off top of my head.
ARTY? Matisse & Sadko?
But like little Dubstep ones that send me music and they’re really cool kids. Yeah. Yeah. There’s some crazy Russian kids out there. They’re really good.
How did you come up with your alter ego Rebekah?
Listen Bitch, you don’t have to know about me, okay? I am who I am. *speaks in Rebekah voice* So it goes back to me playing like Brittany Spears and Kesha. I don’t know.
That EDC trailer was the best, the best thing out there.
It wasn’t even, ask Jeremy, it was so much worse. Like I had a bunch of hilarious shit but we had to take it out because you can’t do drug references but i understand a festival doesnt, you know, they don’t want anything to do with it. The unedited one is, it’s like American Pie” unrated version. Like it’s, it’s really good. Well, maybe I’ll just show you guys.
That would be awesome. Well, speaking of Rebekah, you had a collab with another meme lord, Eliminate, how was it to work with him?
Honestly, we made the track online. Yeah, I know him really well though. So we always hang out in LA and then we’re both working with Shaq, so we both have songs with him. I was recording Shaq, doing drops for me and Nate. Nah he’s just stupid time. He’s the best track guy.
I’ve got one more question, I’m going to show you a video and I’m going to ask you…
Yes. I’m going to ask you to describe your favorite drop the way this guy does.
Watch the video to see how Nitti describes “Crack VIP”!