Nitri ‘Secrets’ Interview

by • October 7, 2013 • Blog, D&B, Features, Interviews, Music

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Brazil has long produced some of the finest d&b about, from Marky’s summery, funk injected sound to BTK’s heavy tech, and has a knack of creating d&b that’s both dark and soulfully up beat at once. Perhaps that’s in part due to Nitri’s home city of Sao Paulo. The hub of Brazil’s d&b scene, it’s intense clash of cultures merges the sunshine of the hot, tropical Atlantic coast it’s set just inland from with the shadows of a towering concrete jungle, covered in Pixacao graffiti and bordered by sprawling favelas.

The latest in a long line of d&b talent to break out of the city, Nitri has been garnering both critical acclaim and dance floor attention with a string of releases on labels such as Program, Viper and Horizon’s Music, the imprint that’s home to perhaps his finest output yet; the Secrets EP. Treading a variety of the sounds encompassed by his varied style it’s a release that shows a development and refinement of his sound while also providing variety for both the thinker and the dancer. Accompanied by vocalist Grimm on the two opening tracks, Secrets and Lies, his soulful and descriptive vocals go a long way to defining the concept of the EP, tying it’s sound together with tales of emotion and heartbreak.

The up front, euphoric vocals and electronic pads of Secrets kick things off with a hands in the air sound that blends a warm bass line with rising synths over tight drums, while Lies treads deeper territory.

My personal stand out, Level 2 joins Nitri on production duties as they weave a more laid back number, the emotive pianos and subtle atmospherics of which allow Grimm’s vocals to really stand out as he switches into a more thoughtful style.

Dispatch Recording’s DLR takes on the C side with a remix of Secrets, morphing it into a tech banger that cuts out of a really engaging intro, where the originals piano and sax melody’s are put to great use around menacing atmospherics, into a tense break down. Eventually dropping into a hard drum break and seething synths, DLR almost completely sets aside the vocals to concentrate on twisting the up beat melody’s into his dark sound scape. Lastly, The Map sees Nitri finish off with an extra dose of variety with a light hearted intro bubbling over into a funk fueled stepper defined by it’s rising, wobbling bass line, electronic beeps and twanging vocal for another really strong track that finishes off on with a completely different mood to it’s predecessors.

Another top quality release on a label that seems to be able to do no wrong, Nitri once again showcases the talent coming out of South America’s samba and caipirinha fueled nation, collaborating across shores to put together a varied release that treads the slightly more up front sound of Horizon’s output. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about the Secrets EP.

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Easy Nitri, thanks for coming through firstly. You’ve recently found your break on the international d&b scene, but how long have you been producing or been involved on a local level?
Hello, thanks for the interview. I’ve been involved with d&b for some time now. I started producing about 4 years ago but I’ve been involved in the local scene in some way or another since around 2000.

So what encouraged you to start producing after all that time?
I began to follow the work of some Brazilian producers and that really motivated me to start producing, seeing people local to me making a name for themselves gave me that bit of encouragement I needed. I received some great advice when I first got involved as well so I’m really grateful to everyone who’s been helped me through in the whole process.

Your from the concrete jungle that’s Brazil’s Sao Paulo, a city that, judging from when I briefly passed through it, seems to have an amazing underground culture of graffiti and music. How would you describe the d&b scene there?
Yes São Paulo is a very very diverse city, it’s a massive clash of cultures. The Brazilian drum & bass scene is centered here so the large majority of producers and parties are here. The city seems to go through waves so at times the scene is refreshed with new producers and nights which I think is really good for it.

What nights, hot spots or attractions would you recommend for a d&b lover visiting the city?
Well we get a lot of the big names coming through such as Marky and Andy who always manage to pull big crowds and put on amazing nights. I’d recommend some of the tourist spots though, such as Paulista Avenue (the heart of Sao Paulo) and MASP.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three albums, what would they be?
That’s a difficult one, there’s just so many! I think if I really had to narrow it down though I’d go for these three at the minute…

Break – Resistance (Symmetry)
Calyx & Teebee – All or Nothing (RAM)
Alix Perez – Chroma Chords (Shogun)

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You just released an EP on Horizons entitled Secrets, how did it all come together?
I loved doing this EP, being involved 100% with all the tracks across a whole release was really inspiring so I think I’ve put together my best output yet. Lies is particularly close to my heart. Level 2 is an old friend so I was already excited when we decided to do a track together, but the support of Grimm on vocals just took it to the next level.

So how would you describe the EPs sound and vibe? What did you set out to achieve at its inception?
With all the music I make I always try and touch the listener in some way, this project is no different. Like I say it’s the first release where I feel I’ve really been able to fully sculpt everything myself so all the tracks were made with the same concept and vibe. Overall it’s a deep sound with a lot of futuristic elements.

As you mentioned earlier, two of its three original tracks feature vocalist Grimm, what made you so keen to work with him and how did you link up?
I’ve always admired Grimm’s work so I reached out to him and it just clicked. We made Secrets first and from there we just had a flow going so we were all really excited to put Lies together. He’s a great singer and it was all so natural so I know we’ll be collaborating together in the future.

Did you work together in the studio, or was it a case of you sending him beats and then him adding his vocal touch? Did the beats inspiring the lyrics or vice versa?
Well the distance meant that it just wasn’t possible for us to work together, so I was creating the tracks and then sending them to him to put the vocals on. We bounced back and forward though so that in the final stages everyone was involved.

Between Secrets and Lies, two things that so often come together, it’s a fairly conceptual release. What inspired you to write music about these topics, is it inspired by recent events in your life or simply a topic you were interested in?
To be honest the concept of the vocals was purely Grimm’s doing. I encouraged him to write whatever he felt and put his own slant on the music, but I think he summed up the tracks well and people seem to be able to identify with the lyrics which is definitely the sign of a good job.

The third original track, The Map, features a much more funky, shuffling style to the other two and shows the variety in your sound. Do you find different styles come naturally across when your in certain situations or moods, or do you have a solid idea of the kind of track you want to make when you sit down in the studio?
Good question! It all varies heavily depending on what kind of day I’ve had and what ideas are floating around my head. Sometime’s I’m thinking more deeply about something I’ve been through and I think that emotion comes out. Other days though, I might have had a good day so I’m in a light hearted, funny mood and that’s where the more funky sound comes from. I always try to keep a lot of diversity in my beats though and not be too repetitive. I think it’s good for me to experiment like that, sometimes I find myself focusing on one style too much so I have to try and switch it up.

DLR provides the fourth tune on the release with a rework of Secrets, adding an element of filth with hard drums and stinging synths. Did he deliver what you were expecting from the remix? How do you think the different backing changes the tone or meaning of the vocals?
It was exactly what I expected, in a good way! I love DLRs sound and what he did with Secrets is really strong, it uses a lot of elements of the original but, as you say, completely switches up the style. It’s nice how my original idea can take a different form like that and he definitely got the best out of it.

As always, I’m loving the artwork Horizons have commissioned for it. I assume it’s once again by Sig Vicious? Did you have any input into its imagery, or did you simply let him interpret the music himself?
Sig’s a monster! He’s such a great designer and so easy to work with. He’s open to suggestions as well, so I told him what kind of imagery I wanted and then he came back with a great final product.

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What else is coming up from you release wise?
I’m working on a couple of projects and collabs at the minute. I’ve got tracks forthcoming on Liquid V, Viper and Horizons music and I’ve been working with people like DJ Chap, Zoe Klick and Tiiu so there’s a lot for me to look forward to.

Cheers Nitri! Anything you’d like to end on?
Thanks for the interview and big up to everyone that supports my music! Special thanks to the Horizons crew and everyone around them.

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