Nitin has been a major player in the explosion of Toronto dance music artists on the world stage.
Nitin’s DJ career has spanned over 15 years having played everywhere from Ultra Music Festival to The BPM Festival and across the oceans to the UK, Europe, and beyond. Along with such festivals, Nitin has also been privileged of spinning at notable venues including BLK|Market Membership in Brooklyn and the Standard Rooftop in LA.
Back in 2008, Nitin launched the well-respected No.19 Music with partner Jonny White, which has seen releases from dance music heavyweights like DJ Sneak, Stacey Pullen, Osunlade, Maceo Plex, Art Department, Jamie Jones, Soul Clap, and many more, playing a significant role in the formation of a new wave of dance music and their masters.
Much more could be said about Nitin, but let our interview play that role, as we were lucky enough to catch up with him earlier this month in his hometown of Toronto, where he shared the stage with the likes of Paul Kalkrenner, andhim, and Kenny Glasgow at Electric Island. For those part of the Electric Island faithful, remember, there is one more event to go as the two day season finale brings Dixon, Ame, Bicep, Nicole Moudaber, Justin Martin, Loco Dice, Fatima Yamaha, and way more over September 4&5.
“In this day and age, not many good DJs make it because they’re good DJs”
Where do you get your influences from?
I’m originally from London, Ontario, which is two hours from Toronto, and it just so happens London is the middle point between Detroit and Toronto. So I’ve had many influences. Mainly from Detroit to be honest, which has really shaped my sound. Early Detroit, Underground Resistance, 430 west, Octave One. Shopping at Record Time, which doesn’t exist anymore. It was one of the main record stores where Mike Huckaby gave me my first, and most important, early techno records. Not just Detroit but Basic Channel from Germany, who were selling through the shop as well. Those records really shaped me, my sound, and who I am as a DJ.
How did you get your start playing out in clubs?
I started DJ’ing because I loved music, hip hop, and everything. It seemed like my way in was by buying a set of turntables. So when I was 13 years old I bought my first set of Turntables, and I started DJing at my high school dances. There was a guy throwing parties in his parents house who was a few years older than me. The first party I played was in the basement of his house with John Acquaviva, who is also from London, Ontario.
He took a real liking to me. He heard me play and was like “Who the hell are you?” John and I have been real close friends ever since, but he also helped me along the way with introducing me to people, giving me music. My second gig was with Richie Hawtin in London.
That’s how it started, and since then I’d been been in Toronto for 11 years. I’d been living in London up until then doing parties, travelling a little bit. It’s only in the last 4 or 5 years that I’ve started touring internationally with the launch of the label No.19. And the success of Art Department, which has really helped me get out there internationally.
How do you find time to manage running your own label, touring internationally,and studio work? How do you manage to flip between these roles?
It’s very tough actually, because you want to do everything as good as possible. The challenge is being a jack of all trades, but the master of none. You know, it’s like you want to be the master of something. My passion right now is being in the studio as much as possible, but I’m constantly being taken away from the studio. When I’m home I try to find time with my family, my fiancé, and give as much attention to each thing as possible.
It’s not without it’s challenges. But I honestly couldn’t trade it in, because I don’t think I could just do one of those things. I’m also one of the talent buyers for the BPM Festival, and I’ve been the marketing director for many years, since it started. I wear many hats, not quite a renaissance man, but working on it.
What advice would you give to the next generation?
In this day and age, not many good DJ’s make it because they’re a good DJ, so really what sets you apart and what gets you onto that international stage is your production.
I tell people “Work on your music.” If that’s not your thing, you should really have a great personality and try to get in with the people that make a difference who can get you booked places. I’ve been fortunate with circumstances. The label, working with Johnny and Kenny, and having them put me onto gigs that have brought me onto some of the best clubs in the world.
Those opportunities wouldn’t have happened without that, so it’s like a perfect storm almost that needs to happen sometimes in order for you to get that visibility and recognition outside of your own city. But I do feel that as a local DJ make your presence known inside your local scene, because it’s hard to excel. Few people do it, but your production has to be on such a higher level that it gives you that recognition outside.
4&5 September | Electric Island | Tickets | Toronto
Prepared by: Ian MacKenzie
Carried out by: Arielle Munshaw