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[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.

[Interview] Carlo Lio talks upcoming releases, kitties and his new label.

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By Frank Duke

Photos by Teddy Williams

Anticipation, hunger, timelessness, power, and restraint. Carlo Lio is known to shred dance floors and bring heat to any city. I have been waiting for this unforgettable moment ever since his last appearance in Atlanta.

I walk down the wooden staircase of The Music Room. Christian Chotro is bringing a warm driving groove that pumps through the speakers. In Atlanta, there is no question that the community of underground electronic music has any unfamiliar faces. We are family. As the crowd socializes, Christian opens up the atmosphere. Showcasing the vastness that is capable for the evening with lush melodics accompanied by ethnic percussions.

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The music evolves into a dense texture. Laughter fills that air. The crowd begins to adhere into one another. Bobi ready’s himself to warm up the room for Carlo. I sense an endearment of passion, culture, and an understanding of the crowd from Bobi. He keeps the groove flowing through the speakers. He begins to warp the tonality and the atmosphere of the music. The bass-lines become more aggressive, the melodies are not so tangible, and the breaks have a strong structure of movement.

The night progresses, the crowd prepares themselves for the man of the hour. Feet are tapping, heads are bobbing, bodies are moving, the music has engulfed the dance floor. Carlo arrives and the crowd awakens with even more excitement. This man carries himself with a humble and sincere demeanor. They start cheering and clapping for him as he sets up. Carlo Lio is no stranger to techno fans from all over the world. He has played some of the most prolific venues, and frequents festivals to the likes of OFFSonar, Lovefest, BPM, Get Wet, and ADE.

I spoke with Carlo Lio briefly before his set. When he arrived to the venue, I greeted him outside with some friends of mine. We walked to an undisclosed location and start talking a bit about his career, music, travels, and personal life.

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How has everything been with the New Year, recent travels, new releases, and with you?

The New Year's been great, I've had a bit of time off. I always take some time off after BPM because it’s just ten days of madness. For the New Year, I just had the release on Suara which is Coyu’s label. I also have an EP release on This and That, which is Davide Squillace's label. Then later, around March, I’ll have an EP on Art Department’s label, No.19. And yeah, that’s it for now.

 
 

How is it living in Toronto during the winter and in Barcelona during the summer? What’s the best part about it, and the not so good stuff about it?

I mean, I kind of get best of both worlds. I love my city. I’m going to live and die there. People always ask why it’s not the opposite. Obviously, in Europe the parties are always in the summer, so I need to be there. But I travel so much that I kind of boycott the winter. During the winters in Toronto is when I do South America, so that way I get to escape it.

How do you balance making music throughout your touring?

When I first started touring, I used to never make music on the road, I had to be in the studio. Lately as its been getting more busy, I had no choice but to figure out how to feel comfortable on a laptop and headphones, and now the tables are turned. It’s kind of hard for me to get comfortable in the studio now that I’m used to the laptop. It’s good, because you get some inspiration, and then you’re instantly banging out some beats. I like it.

You’re known to have a soft spot for kitties. Tell us a bit about your cats and the part they play in your life.

My first pet was a cat. My parents wouldn’t ever let us have pets. When we first got a cat, it was something very special. I found a huge love for them. Now with all the traveling I do; having cats is very convenient. I have two cats. One is named Treble and the other one is Clefy. Treble is the oldest one, and he's kind of psycho, a bit of a Jykell and Hyde personality. The other one, Celfy, is just the nicest cat in the world.

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You started Rawthentic Music back in 2005, last year was your ten year anniversary! How was the journey of building up the imprint, what does the future hold for it?

Rawthentic has been a staple in my life. It actually wasn’t started by me. It was started by Nathan Barato. We’re best friends and we were a DJ duo at one point. He started it in 2005 and I jumped on board in 2006. Rawthentic is now kind of on the back burner. It’s been ten years and I feel like it's kind of ran its course. I have started a new label called On Edge Society. It's only four releases in, and it’s catered to more stripped down, chunky techno. It was vinyl only and then we moved into digital four or five months later after launching. Check it out when you get a chance.

 
 

Can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to make music, and what steps you took to get to where you are now?

It all stemmed from the Toronto rave scene. I was just a partier. Toronto raves were so big and in a blink of an eye they just shut down. DJing and production were just my way to fill that void. I started messing around with them both at the same time. Playing around with vinyl and messing around with any music software I could find. I kept doing that and I wasn’t really releasing anything. I was just making tracks. My friends were telling me “Oh this is good! You should do something with this." If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have thought to send it out. I was super nervous, and in my head it wasn't good enough. It definitely worked out.

So you like sneakers a lot. What are some of your favorite brands? How many pairs do you have?

I stick to Jordan’s. I’m a Jordan guy. I would probably say I have about 100 pairs of shoes. In terms of other brands, I like what Adidas has recently been putting out. They are on point and have turned a new leaf. But I stick to the Jordans mostly.

What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions for yourself and career? What can we expect from you in 2016?

This year I have all those releases that I told you that I have coming up. I want to show another side. In this industry. You’re put into a box very fast, there is more to me than just techno. I love all styles of electronic music. I’m planning to show that with certain labels that I’m releasing on, venture into new styles, and keep attacking new labels that I haven’t been on.

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Carlo begins his journey and I make myself comfortable on the dance floor. I am ready to be swept away. I quickly become lost in the finest driving techno known to man. The room sounds pristine and powerful, a perfect match for Carlo’s style. He begins to elaborate on the dark, tech house vibe filling the air. He showcases Latin percussion elements, pounding basslines and saturated techno elements.

His set pays tribute to the theories of first wave techno with a new age flair. Sequenced melodies with atonal qualities that are contrasted with a vibrant low-end. The crowd is filled with joy as his unique and fresh style takes over. I watch his technique from a far as he utilizes Traktor and corresponding controllers. He has such an original use of effects, mixing, and track manipulation. You rarely see his hands stop moving. He is always working to bring in new track elements, while simultaneously using effects in a subtle but prominent fashion.

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As the night begins to close, the crowd stays strong, soaking up as much music as they can. Carlo closes out his final statement and thanks the crowd for such a great time. We all cheer and shout for giving us an indescribable and timeless evening. After his set I thanked him for everything. He replied, “Frank, this city is really starting to catch on.” I couldn’t agree more with him more. Atlanta is my home, and watching it become on the international map for underground electronic music makes me damn proud.