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MitiS: Going Back To My Roots

MitiS Press Photo

How do you feel when one of your favourite artists suddenly switches up their styles and drops something completely fresh and unsuspecting?

If the answer is ‘I hate it and I hate them’ then stop reading now. MitiS’s current headspace and attitude isn’t for you. If the answer is more along the lines of ‘cool, I respect that, I want to hear my favourite artist at their happiest and most creatively fulfilled’ then read on…

MitiS’s latest EP – Foundations – is all about the Pennsylvanian artist pursuing his original passions and remembering why he dropped rigorous classical studies for electronic production in the first place. As a result is crosses the sonic spectrum like no other release he’s done to date. From deep melodic dubstep to evangelic trance-tinged house, it’s his most comprehensive self-snapshot to date. We copped Breathe…

Naturally with MitiS – real name Joe Torre – there’s a rich musical consistency regardless of any confident genre-leaping. He may have dropped classical piano studies but the rudiments, theory and dynamics will never leave his music. His first time on UKF we caught up with him (on Foundations release day) to find out more, see where he’s at right now… And see what he’s up to in the future (spoiler: he’s got even more exciting departures in store!)

Get to know….

It’s been a while since the last EP…

Yeah, too much touring has taken me away from my studio!

I bet you miss your piano when you’re away?

Like you wouldn’t believe!

Are you the type of guy who just jumps on a piano if you see one in a public space?

I am! I forget which airport it is but there’s one with a grand piano and I jump on it until they kick me off or my flight arrives.

Player. So we’re chatting on Foundations release day… Is a release day like Christmas or more like exam results day?

I’ve been thinking about today for a long, long time. I got up early, let the puppy out and made sure all my pages were up to date with it and everyone could hear it. It’s exciting. Much more like Christmas than exam results day. Not just because I can finally let people hear this music but also because I can finally start working on new material on a fresh slate.

I’m sure you’ve got a lot of things already in progress…

Oh yeah I had around 12 tracks in progress when we put Foundations together so there are a lot of ideas to work on for the next EP and releases beyond.

Back to Foundations, it feels like your broadest release to date. Is that fair to say?

Completely! That was the point of it; I went back to the foundations of why I started producing  in the first place; not caring about styles or genres and just writing whatever I want to write. It was very liberating and is definitely my broadest spectrum on one EP.

It’s very easy to get lost in the genre wilderness and worry about what people expect from you isn’t it?

Yes, and every artist will experience it over their careers. It’s easy to get sucked into it all; you see these guys making one particular sound and getting bigger and bigger from it and you do think ‘well maybe that’s the way I should do it?’ But I have to stick to my guns and make music for myself. That’s how you find the best ideas and results and not just by following a formula.

I think fans need to be given more credit sometimes; no one likes just one sound and people love seeing their favourite artists doing exciting new things…

Hell yeah, I think that’s how people relate to the music.

Let’s talk about your roots as a classical pianist; when I see ‘classically trained’ I think of really strict regimes and very little time to have fun as a child. Is that a stereotype or true?

It’s true! You have to be so dedicated as the competition is immense. There are kids from around the world who have been playing since they were two, living and breathing classical music. I started at 11 so my route was different but just as disciplined, especially as I’d made the decision myself to do it at such a level. When I had concerts coming up I would have six lessons a week ranging from one to four or five hour per lessons. It was very intense.

There was a point when you could have opted for a classical musician career instead of production wasn’t there?

I could have pursued it but the auditions were so cutthroat it’s unreal. Even my parents experienced it from other parents; they’d drive me to an audition and there’d be this tension in the whole room. Totally the opposite to our musical world. But these people thrive off it. It’s their lives. It was my life right up until I jumped into electronic music the plan was to study music theory and go to Julliard. But deep down I knew it wasn’t me. I’m a very chill, laidback person; live free and have fun you know? I’m not the type of guy who thrives off such a cutthroat culture. So electronic music is definitely more suited to my style.

You’re a father, so how will you approach your son’s relationship with music?

Cool question! It’s a hard one because you really want your child to have the same enjoyment and fulfilment from music and arts but you don’t ever want to force them. A friend I make music with, Mahi, comes from a very musical family and his dad summed it up perfectly; he just gave his kids the option and left instruments around the house. If they want to play it then great, if they don’t then no worries. It’s just ensuring that they know they have that option and accessibility.

How about your entry point into electronica. I heard it was trance?

Oh yeah totally. I was that 14 year old dude on the school bus listening to house and trance and everyone would be like ‘what the hell is this?’ But I love it. So gorgeous and vibey. Lots of old ATB, Tiesto and deadmau5; it was all so inspiring. I loved the idea that you could do anything with electronic music. The only limit is your own creativity. On more of a bass angle then Bassnectar was obviously a huge influence; he does what he wants and that’s so inspiring.

Personal connections also seem to be an inspiration for you. Born – the track and label – is inspired by your son and your friend named you MitiS in his sleep, right?

Yeah of course! It’s all about the personal connection; you go out, you have fun, you meet people, you fall in love, you make friends, you have these energies and vibes from people. I don’t want to sound super hippie about it all but these things exist and they have an effect on me. I’m sure they have an effect on all people – things makes you happy or sad or mad whatever and you express that when you’re making music. Any emotion will be channelled through the outlet of music. It’s a very natural approach. Creative comes from the soul; it’s a gift for us to be free!

Right on! So you’ve teased us that more music is en route but can we get any more specifics?

Yes… Expect a lot more of it than last year! I plan on dropping a wide range of things this year including some liquid drum & bass. I’ve got one that has my vocals on it which is a first. I’m exciting to see what people think of that.

Cool! Is this all coming on your label Born Records too, right?

Yes. We’ve been building a team in the background and we’ve got some great friends with amazing music; Kicks N Licks, SubLion, MaHi, Fathom and myself… I’m really excited about it all. Watch this space.

MitiS – Foundations is out now on Born Records

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