Nitin Digs Through the Memory Crate to Find Treasure
Nitin Kalyan is one-half of the No.19 label and potentially one of Toronto's busiest industry men.
Since buying his first set of turntables at 14, Nitin has gone on to produce, DJ, promote, and curate events on stages across the globe—but it wasn't always about the underground. "I always had a passion for music early on," Nitin tells THUMP. "I loved hip-hop and grew up on hip-hop and wanted to be a part of it somehow. I thought the best way was to buy a set of turntables."
It wasn't long until Nitin was exposed to a different kind of beat-based music. "Every Friday and Saturday night, I would hear DJs playing a lot of underground house and Detroit techno on the university radio station," he says. "Once I discovered underground house and techno it pretty much took over everything. Of course, it wasn't as accessible as it is now." Back in the 90s, the reach of underground music didn't span as far as it does today. Originally from London, Ontario, Nitin knows this all too well. "I would have to travel to Detroit, to Record Time or to Toronto to Play de Record to go record shopping."
Although he calls Toronto home now, it was in London where the story really begins. "We did a lot of parties back in the day, we were sort of a DJ crew—myself, AndyCapp, and Matthew Butterworth, who is now my studio partner," he says. "We definitely cut our teeth in London, DJing and throwing events in the 90s."
Around that same time, Nitin was regularly spinning records of a certain Parallel 9, unaware that the moniker belonged to Steve Rachmad—and unaware that they would work together over a decade later. "Somehow, it eluded me," says Nitin. "Then I met him at DC10 and I asked him about Parallel 9. I told him how much I loved those records and he told me how he still does some stuff under Parallel 9."
When the time arrived to remix Nitin's new Dubbed Out EP, Nitin sought the missing piece to his puzzle: both a Steve Rachmad mix and a Parallel 9 mix. "He more than exceeded our expectations by doing both and also provided us with some bonus mixes—just basically DJ tools, two DJ tools that are amazing."
The EP is being released on May 25 and if you are interested in the wax version—which you should be—you can get your hands on it two weeks prior to the digital version. As an analog gear head at heart, Nitin says his new studio has made the difference. "I feel a lot more comfortable and confident. Having a new space outside of my home was really beneficial to my workflow. I have a lot more material that I plan to release before the end of the year, it is definitely a nice change."
Nitin manages the No.19 label with Art Department's Jonny White, which has taken a refreshing perspective on the occasionally oversaturated industry. "We love working with new artists, and trying to help them develop as well," he says. "We just look for quality music. There are tracks that I go back to now, that we released four years ago and play because it has a timeless quality to it."
Part of artist development is exposure and Nitin and the No.19 crew have managed that through pairing up-and-coming artists with those who have valuable experience to share. One such artist is Toronto resident, DJ Sneak, who recently remixed Jakkin Rabbit's new track, "Love Or Money." "Sneak has been a big supporter of the label since day one," says Nitin. "To have him part of the team, now going on six years, is amazing and he has always delivered amazing music."
Nitin does not limit himself to only DJing or production, he is also a respected talent curator. He was a driving force behind the No.19 Social Experiment Stage at Digital Dreams in 2014, as well one part in the growth of the BPM festival. His peers from foreign shores are joining him to open and manage Nest—where he will be the talent-buyer for the venue that was formerly Ryze, which is set to open on May 15.
"It's great to see when promoters or clubs are pushing the envelope and booking stuff that the average club-goer may not know," explains Nitin. "But because there's a trust with the venue, they will go check it out and be exposed to something they weren't aware of prior to that."
There is no rush to expand past current endeavours though. "I believe that organic growth is the best that you can do when it comes to creativity, art, and culture—it needs to happen naturally."
Although many Toronto fans aren't happy about the exclusion of No.19 from this year's Digital Dreams, Nitin says have hope. "We definitely have something special in the works for Toronto right now," he says. "I can't really go into too much detail at the moment, but we are going to do something special here."
Catch Nitin's performance in Toronto on May 15 at Nest with Black Coffee and Richard Brooks.