Pop sensation and electronica producer Ritviz, who is all set to release his new collaborative album Baaraat with Nucleya talks to us about the album, his process of creating music, thoughts on being the most streamed artist last year, his first experience with NFTs and a lot more.
Catch the interview to know more about this amazing artist.
So, your new singles Sathi and Ari Ari from your collaborative album “Baaraat” with Nucleya are out. Tell us about this collaborative album and how it came to be and why now.
Udyan and I have known each other for a good while now. We met each other in 2015 and obviously, at that point, I was just a 19-year-old kid who was just starting out and like every other kid in the country, Udyan/Nucleya was the biggest thing in the country, and it was just amazing to have him watch me perform for the first time back in 2015.
And then when we met, obviously like a sync pretty much started to build, we spoke a little bit and a relationship started to form. And then over a period, from there until now, we’ve cooked up a song pretty much every time we’ve met.
That’s the amount of music that we’ve written together because I think that the both of us really have a very similar understanding of what our music is, which is a reaction to whatever we have been going through, so if it’s a good conversation with me and Udyan – that’s a song.
That’s how it’s been with him over the last couple of years. This is the year you know with the pandemic and everything, we got so much time to just sit and organise a little bit, so we figured this is the year that we are going to put some of the music out. There are only eight songs that we‘ve hand-picked but there’s so much more that didn’t make it to the track list.
Your tracks Udd Gaye and Sage also had phenomenal music videos. Do you think that videos are very essential for an album to amplify its success?
For sure, I think a visual identity is important to make the listener experience the world that you are trying to create with the song. We always believe with the kind of music videos that we’ve done, specifically, my solo stuff has been a very different video world meeting the audio.
They are not in the same sphere so that just became like a format of sorts. It’s just a very epic experience for the listeners, that was always the goal. The thought behind doing the MV was to give a new flavour to the track altogether, now it’s become like we’ve built a little universe with all the MVs and the characters and try to connect them in some way.
Honestly, I am so lucky to work with such people who come up with such bizarre and exciting ideas. If you listen to Sage or Udd Gaye, it could’ve been such a traditional, boy meets girl video, but just the fact that we decided to pick an idea where one wonders do I focus on the audio, do I focus on the video, the two just merge together. I am very lucky to have found the right people, so a shout out to my visual people folks, Catnip, Jugaad. Much Love!
So, a month ago you released Khamoshi with Karan, again it received a lot of love just like your other singles. But you had to move your release dates for these tracks, so did they hamper your creative process and how did you deal with it?
Okay, this is funny because I set these deadlines. I am my worst enemy. I tell myself; I know that around this date I will deliver but the creative juices sometimes stop flowing. My very hardcore fans hate me for it but I truly believe I want to deliver quality. Once the song is out, it’s out, there’s no reverse.
I try my best to stick to the deadlines I set so that it pushes me to come closer to the finished product. But it’s caused enough problems a lot of times with my close people, you know like ‘Why did you announce the date?’ But anyway, now we are at a point, my team and a lot of people around me, we believe in putting out the best, 100% version of something that we truly believe in. And I hope to get back on track with the deadlines and all. Time management is a learning for me, haha.
Could you talk to us about Khamoshi?
So Khamoshi was a very interesting song for us, me and Karan. When we started writing, it took us around a year to finish it. It was centred around the fact of being at home, where the pandemic had left us and the feeling of being isolated. I had released Roshni and Khamoshi under the same umbrella about our experiences through the pandemic and how our state of mind was 2 or 3 years ago.
So, you and Nucleya are releasing a series of NFTS (Non-Fungible Tokens). What made you venture into a new trend and how has the response been so far. Would you recommend this to other artists?
Oh, this was a very big experiment. A huge shout-out to my manager Rahul because it was his idea. He had been reading about NFTs and the whole crypto world. Once we understood more about it and felt like this could blow up, we were the first set of artists who were doing this. We sold out our first round of NFTS, around 10 NFTS in the first day or two. It was pretty EPIC.
I wasn’t expecting that response but just to know that this is a new possible set of work displays, it opens up your horizon a little bit. I am still learning a lot about that world but I have people that are educating me about it. It’s very exciting. I just feel like this is awfully fun. It’s giving us new ideas to present my music or Udyan’s music. There are over like 60 NFTS that we are planning to drop over the course of the next six months. We are like totally going for it!
Last year, you were the most streamed artist in the Indie scene, how did that feel? Did you expect that to happen? What would you tell artists who are still trying to make their mark in the industry?
Extremely humbled. When we found out, it brought perspective. I got into a very retrospective mood like that, OKAY, we are in 2021 now. I was just looking back at my last 6 years to how the journey has been like.
We are constantly on the move, I could speak for a lot of artists, my friends you know, it’s things like these that put you in that retrospective mood, alright 6 years ago I was over there and the love has been like so constant and amazing. I am so grateful to everybody that cares about my music. It’s extremely humbling.
And it’s also a huge responsibility, right? Now there’s more expectation from people.
Although I’ll tell you that’s always been something, I’ve tried to mull away from a little bit. That is a really good point that you’ve presented. I would love to talk about it. For me, people’s expectations and people’s understanding of my music is very different. Everybody perceives my music in a different/certain way. When I started writing music, I wrote it for me in the hopes that people would enjoy.
Even today, I cannot let people come in the way of how I feel about my music. Today, I need to continue feeling if I am enjoying it. As narcissistic as it may sound, it needs to be this format in order to put out music that’ll cater to the crowd. The moment I start thinking about people, I try to stay away from social media and stuff, I don’t immerse myself in the feedback, I think it’s something that will affect the way I make music.
I might have an audience today that loves my music but I would rather have an audience that likes me. My only thing is if I talk about the audience, I would like them to evolve with me, because I know that my sound is also changing a lot.
You were talking about your sound, so coming to your music and your sound, we’ve been trained in classical music and we can see that influence in music. How did you decide that this was your sound, this was your music?
This is a very subconscious decision. For me, making music is like how we go through something and our first reaction is to tell our friends, music is basically expression. I purely look at it like my expression in music, my output is music. If I am feeling sad today or happy today, then my output would be around those emotions.
Over time, with my learning of Indian classical music and my influence of hip-hop, what probably happened in my subconscious mind, the culmination took place. My format would’ve been western but the content was very classically inclined. That formula probably must’ve happened inside my head. I just focused on writing and not how I was writing, coming through as a flow.
It’s just a set of influences in your life that make you. That’s why probably I’ve now started listening and learning other styles and a lot more that would probably inspire more crazy culminations in the future. The idea is to keep a constant set of learning, haha.
We currently live in an age where collaborations have become a huge thing, especially post-pandemic we see a lot of artists collaborating with each other. You’ve also done a few collaborations with different artists, so what is your take on them and how do you pick the artist you want to collaborate with?
See, collaboration for me is a new world. I don’t think I am the best person to collaborate with. I am usually the villain here; I am very nit-picky about the little things and it’s always been the case with me. But I got very lucky, so my album with Seedhe Maut and Nucleya both happened very effortlessly. Both acts I had a very good sync with and once that match sort of takes place in the first go, we are just like grabbing chai and talking about things and the next thing we know is that we’ve written down a couple of lines.
That format doesn’t feel like we’re collaborating, it’s how I write music. But it’s so rare to find that, when you find like-minded people, things are effortless, coming in sync, it almost feels like me writing music solo.
That’s how it’s worked for me in the past, for the longest time, up until last year, it was all about establishing my sound, I was still figuring out what it is that Ritviz wanted to do.
I felt like my solo stuff had to be established before I collaborated with others. So last year, I felt like okay cool, I have an understanding of what Ritviz is, but what Ritviz can be is where the collaboration started and my sound with Seedhe Maut or Nucleya together is a new sound, I and Nucleya are Baaraat. Together we are a new sound. Collaborations for me is exciting because it’s two sounds meeting each other and it’s the third sound.
Could talk a little bit about Baaraat, upcoming songs from the album
We’ve released Saathi and Ari Ari, and 6 more songs are yet to be released. The rest of the songs will be coming out over the course of the weeks till October, so we are going to try and wrap this up as soon as we can and then we will get on with the Seedhe Maut album.
Will we get to hear your music in mainstream Bollywood?
Umm…Maybe. Haha. There are a couple of projects in the pipeline. It’s refreshing to know in every sector everywhere, in the course of last 3-4 years being in the music industry, having learnt whatever I’ve learned about the film industry and the fashion industry is that there are like-minded people everywhere so there is a scope of collaboration in all the fields. So, it’s epic. It’s lovely to be in this position that I can collaborate with some epic minds. But to answer your question again – Maybe, haha.
As an artist, could you break down your process of making music? What is it that comes to your mind first, what are you inspired by? If you can just take us through your process.
I wish it was an exciting thing to share. It’s a very boring process. It’s as simple as taking a walk, it’s all the basic human stuff that all of us do. The only difference is how I channel all those emotions, I could have a regular conversation with my dad about things, however, I feel about that. Anything can inspire me. The other day my dogs inspired me to write a song that I didn’t think was possible because I didn’t have pets all my life, but now I am attached to my dogs.
I just recently became a dog owner to give you context. Anything or anybody that we feel strongly for will naturally affect us in a good way or a bad way and then there will be an outflow. So it’s a regular day as a 25-year-old, I am going to the gym and coming back, something inspires me I sit on my laptop and create. I think my latest thing that inspires me, first it used to be very instantaneous, where I would feel things and I would write music.
Now it’s become more like I am understanding what I am feeling when I am writing the song. Earlier it used to be more mysterious, now I take a serious amount of time to think. Sometimes we don’t even know what’s going in our subconscious mind. Writing music is the most boring thing one can imagine because you are just in front of the screen, playing around with melodies, this note sounds nice okay this doesn’. It’s a lot of trial and error, sometimes it happens over time, sometimes it takes two years.
Tell us about Major Lazer’s Light It Up Remix? How did it happen?
That was very exciting! For me, there are very few artists that I truly enjoy and look up to and Major Lazer is the band for me. I feel like my music is very synonymous with their music. They are very celebratory, so when they reached out in 2019 Diwali, it was like ‘hello! I am on it’.
I remember making that remix overnight, I had just gotten done with a show and I remember writing the song there and cut to now there was another remix that was in the works but didn’t work out but it’s epic to just have them as people I can send my music to. I just love them. “I love you guys” – to Major Lazer.
Can you tell us about your gear or the softwares you use?
My gear is basically the laptop, my Macbook Pro. I remember using a pair of Skullcandy when I was starting out, when I was in school, in the early days of composing. I always keep a pair of Skullcandy with me because it reminds me of who I listened to music back in the day. My gear is all very anti-musician gear, all the flat frequency headphones and all I tend to leave to my dear sound-engineer, my listening has to be the same as it used to be back in the day which is a pair of Skullcandy, I have a couple of Beats lying around.
If I was just following the simple rules of a music producer and listening to music on the monitor speakers and flat frequency headphones, I would not have to listen to music on four different things. But I am a rebel, I keep doing that, that’s my process of listening to audio.
I am basically telling brand names that people will judge me on. I use an Akai Midi Keyboard, that’s like a tiny keyboard I carry with my laptop. I am all about the portable life, I am always on the run so I don’t have a desktop set-up, I have a laptop set-up. So, I make sure all my gear is travel friendly. All of my gears are plugins and software oriented, so in hardware that’s pretty much it.
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