[Interview] Nitin proves what passion, and a little elbow grease, can help you achieve.

By Kristin Gray

Photos by Teddy Williams

A hardworking, impassioned DJ out of London, ON., Nitin is a prime example of the guy that can do it all, and do it well. It was not only his words which told me so, but his actions and the success he has had over the past twenty years in the music industry. Experience is certainly important, but you have to have a special spark in you. A driving force that sets you above the others in your determination to be true to yourself and never stop loving what you do.

We sat in a hotel lobby in Downtown Atlanta, surrounded by more glitter than I have ever experienced. What I can only guess was a cheerleading competition going on nearby. We could only observe and giggle at the teenage drama unfolding. Amid the din of a herd of 16-year-old girls, we talked about Nitin's beginnings, his goals, and the work that goes into achieving your dreams. Nitin went on to headline at Alley Cat Music Club later that evening. Which by the way, was absolutely bumpin', if you happened to miss the show.

Did you have any role models or influences growing up that led you to your first big DJ gig at the age of seventeen?

I was influenced a lot by things I heard. A lot of hip-hop, a lot of early dance and house music. There were definitely a few artists that played a role. One of the guys I met very early on was John Acquaviva, who is from my hometown of London, Ontario. Basically, {I met him} from hanging around the record stores. He was known as kind of a local hero. He was one of the first international DJs, along with Richie Hawtin, from that era of the early to mid 90s. I would say those guys definitely had a big impact on my career because they were both people I met early on that were international DJs traveling.

Detroit has been a major influencer of your music, though you grew up in Canada. How have these two places led you to where you are today?

London is two hours from Detroit. The {Detroit} influence was definitely within the city, within this very small community that existed in the 90s. By meeting people and learning about music from Detroit, Germany and the UK, this played a pivotal role in the music that I’m still into today. Also, listening to house music from New York and Chicago from that time as well. Those were the early days of Green Velvet. “Preacher Man” came out and I remember hearing that at the first party I ever played. All these elements helped shaped my sound. I can still say that a lot of the records that I had, and bought, back then are some of the stuff I still play today.

How did “What They Say," your recently released remix alongside Jonny White, of Carlo Lio’s track come about? Is there a story behind this track?

There is actually. Originally it was meant to be an Art Department remix of Carlo Lio. Johnny had been working on it for a long time. I think maybe he had a very hectic schedule of touring. He happened to be in Toronto, which I have a studio there and he really needed to finish it. I opened up the studio for him and in the end we were both working on it so we just decided to do it as a split remix. We have done one other track together before that came out on No. 19 called “La Cueva." This was sort of the second thing we have done together. We have a ten year history together. We decided it would be a cool thing to do, have it go under both our names and to remix a track from a good friend of ours who is also from Toronto. There’s a very homegrown vibe to that release.


You have experience in almost all facets that go into producing, running the No.19 label, advertising, and performing. Is there one area that you feel most passionate about above the others?

DJing is my number one. I’ve been doing it the longest. Everything else I love and I wouldn’t trade it in, but that’s been the one thing that’s been a constant for me for twenty years. Production came to me later. I’ve only just started producing within the last ten years, and really only seriously doing it within the last four or five. 

You are known for having a huge passion for what you do and for having the dedication to keep strong at it. What is the fuel that has consistently been feeding the fire for so long?

I couldn't imagine doing anything else. This is something that you have to just keep at what you love doing without trying to be famous or a super star. I have only ever done this because I love music. I am very lucky that it has translated into some success and allowed me to travel the world and play music for people. I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. The idea that I can have a career in making music and playing music is definitely a driving force for me.

You’ve been in this industry for twenty years now. Is there any piece of advice you would give to DJs looking to make a career out of music?

I would say do you. Do yourself. Don’t try to hop on the next trend of whatever genre that is or record label that is. Just stay true to your sound, and definitely hone your craft. Try to set yourself apart from the masses, because no one notices that. People notice when they’re taking chances and they have a uniqueness to them. I have seen it now so many times where there’s a new hot label that has a certain sound, and every demo we’ll get for the label will all sound like that. As a record label owner, that’s not what we look for. We look for raw talent and people who have a uniqueness to them, not who sound like the hundred other producers who are floating around. If you're truly passionate about it and you’re truly dedicated to it, it will happen.

Do you have any dreams or goals for yourself on a more personal level that you want to achieve?

Absolutely. I really want to put an album out. I have been talking about it for two or three years, but it just hasn’t been that moment. I have been compiling tracks that I feel are something I’d like to put out as an album. Personally, and in my music career, that is definitely something that i want to do. It has been a constant learning process for me in the studio. Being more confident in the studio and gaining more knowledge about sound and sound design is something that I am always working towards. Traveling to new, exciting places never gets old to me. I am making my first trip to Iceland at the end of June to play this big festival called Secret Solstice where Radiohead is headlining.

Kristin Gray

Kristin is Media Relations Manager and Atlanta native. Music is her passion (duh), but so are planes, trains and automobiles. Basically anything that will get her to the next adventure. Other talents include awkward yet unashamed dance moves, terribly punny jokes, and finding hidden spots around Atlanta.