Exclusive Interview: Shmittee
July, 12, 2018
1. When did you start making music? Was there anyone that influenced you in the beginning, and how have your influences changed (if they did)
So I've been a musician my whole life, my dad went out and bought be several instruments before I finally settled on the drums. I fell in love with it, covering my favorite songs in the basement basically. My kit grew, and I was really involved with school programs, marching band, orchestra etc.. it turned into much more than just drums, I really fell in love with all forms of percussion. But my priorities change and I kind of gave up on it for a little while. So once I got to college, i personally hated all the music they were playing at parties, even if everyone else loved it, I didn't. I'm not into all this mumble rap crap, it's not music to me.
So I thought to myself, what if I just made the music I enjoy listening to? I really enjoyed 2009-2011 Tiesto. Not that I don't now, but that's what really hooked me in. I just really enjoyed the good feels. Not that I didn't appreciate the genius of Skrillex's debut album, I really loved it, it was next level at the time, but if I were to make music, it would be the good feels personally.
So I bought Logic on my laptop and started playing around with it, and in my head I was hyping myself up sooooo much. Then I realized wow, like this isn't half bad and then the rest is history. But my influences really haven't changed, I've always closely followed the Musical Freedom label, MOTI i'm a big fan of, but obviously Dzeko and Torres played a big part in the direction I wanted to go.
I realized recently I have to move with the times, I missed the big room and progressive house boat awhile ago, while what I made was quality, people moved on as new genres and styles emerged, so as much as people make fun of it, I found that the future bass vibe is as close as I can personally get to making both sides happy, with the melodies I enjoy and a beat others will too.
2. When did you play your first live show? Can you tell us how you felt, espicially since your playing at some of the most poular clubs/venues in Philly now.
My first show was actually a DJ battle in Philadelphia that I found on Craigslist. hahah, I told my mom "listen I got my first show in Philadelphia, we gotta go." She got me a hotel room and drove me there, this is like freshman year of college, like October. I show up, there's nobody there, but I met this cool dude, his name is Shizzlo.. that's like 5.5-6 years ago, now he's one of my best friends here in Philly haha. I felt great and not so great, I got paid, I got to spin, but there was like nobody there, but you know it's experience.
But I really started playing shows at Penn State. I literally drove up with this kid I went to high school with over my winter break in college, PSU still had classes, and we knew nobody and had no place to stay. I figured I better be aggressive about it. I found the biggest frat house with the biggest line out the door, and walked to the front of the line and told them "Your DJ sucks, I'll do it better, and free the first time". After that the next few years, my phone was blowing up and I was driving 2-hours to Penn State Thursday nights, driving back at 2AM for class the next day, then driving back and playing 2-3 shows Friday-Saturday. I loved it, it was always packed, it was like a mini-festival, but it also let me hone my skills so that when a real opportunity came i'd be ready for it.
I mean, i'm by no means famous, but it feels amazing playing the clubs I do now. I love NOTO, the booth and setup is really professional, and it's a breathe of fresh air being able to just roll up with my flash drive and plugging it in and going for an hour or so.
3. Has Philadelphia influenced your music in any way, and if so how?
I wouldn't say Philadelphia has influenced my music really. But what I would say is, the friends in the industry that I've made here have. Seeing the drive these guys have, keeps me going and wanting more. You have Bok Nero out here literally pushing boundaries, I couldn't be happier for that guy, he works so hard and you see what he's doing. Then you have Shizzlo or "Papa Shizz" who is kind of the wise-guy that keeps everyone in check, his production has come long way and it's just getting better, the stuff he has with Bok and our buddy Erich is next level stuff. Erich, or Sweet Teeth, he's the homie, we've known each other for a good while now, it's an internet friendship that just happened to happen in real life haha. He's always given me valuable feedback on my stuff, while I don't listen half the time, I do try to take it and put it to work, but I really just need the verification that i'm doing something right. Those guys are the best for that, so I think that the people I've met in my own craft in Philadelphia have influenced me more than anything, if I hadn't of moved here a year ago, I probably would've quit by now.
4. Give us a little background into your production process, if you want to go into a little detail on how 'Clouds' started as an example that would be awesome!
My production process is honestly really simple. I think of ideas going through the day, i'm literally always listening to music. So even if it's not electronic music related, I try to separate that melody and maybe create a different variations from it. Clouds started when I found this harpsichord preset in sylenth, and after playing with it, I kind of put it aside for later. I was literally just on the train listening to Spotify, and a John Mayer song came on this playlist shuffle, I couldn't even tell you what it was to be honest, I literally go through at least 100+ songs a day, but it had a twangy sound to the guitar, like kind of a blues style. I sat in front of my laptop and literally just played around on the piano roll for 2 hours and found a rough of what I wanted, threw on the harpsichord preset to see what it sounded like and that's how I got the drop rhythm for Clouds. Everyone's different, I need a melody to build around, so once I had that, it took me 2-3 days to finish it, just building around the main idea.
5. Clouds is about to be our fourth song to crack 10,000 plays (congrats) and with almost 2,000 followers on your SoundCloud and more to come as you release more music, do you have any plans for bigger shows or collaborations in the future?
I really want to get some shows I actually fit with in the remainder of the year. Supporting artist I have something in common with. I haven't really gotten a chance to really showcase myself since I changed up my production style.
I have a lot of new music done, but i'm in no rush. I'm not doing it to be famous, I just like making music. It'll come out as I get bored I guess. haha.