Musician Ritviz on how to make a new tune: Music should be your priority
On India Today Mind Rocks Delhi 2019, musician Ritviz spoke about his journey into music, overcoming creative block and trying to maintain a work-life balance as an artiste.
Ritviz rose to fame with Ud Gaye, and with Sage, he secured a steady fan base for himself. On India Today Mind Rocks New Delhi 2019, during a session titled What it takes to Compose a Whole New Tune, the ace musician drawing inspiration for his music, dealing with a creative block and composing a tune.
ON BEING DRAWN TOWARDS MUSIC
My folks are classical musicians. So I would wake up to the sound of alaap. That was a natural process. I don’t know when I ended up being attracted to music. From the age of seven, I was around music. But electronic music happened later, I got exposed to it when I turned 15-16. Before that, I would listen to VH1 but that’s it. As a child, I was trained in Indian classical music, I would stay at the guru’s house and do chores. Then there was a phase where I was influenced by western music and I got the freedom to mixed both and find my niche.
ON THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC
It was tough establishing myself but every artiste faces their own struggles. I never had to worry about support from family, because I always had it. I’m privileged that way. I dropped out of school and that’s a taboo in our country. If my parents were okay with that then you don’t need anything else.
HIS ADVICE TO THE YOUTH
Don’t think of money, even though it sounds absurd. You have to give music the topmost priority. If you chase anything else then you’ll be caught up in other things. Everything is built around music for me. When I sit and make music, I don’t do it to please, but because I like it. The minute you lose that, you lose the plot, you lose music. It’s hard, so either find the support system or find that confidence to carry on.
ON HIS TRACK UD GAYE
This was the first song after a long time for me. This was complex, it had a lot of element. Everyone told me before this that I over-do things by adding too many elements into one song. Here I sat down with one idea and built everything around it.
ON HIS CORE IDENTITY
The first idea is your core identity. In this song, the RP sound was the core. This was part of another song, I used it as the base here. Then I built on it by adding other notes and drums. Other elements were added to complement the main idea. Then I started building the vocal. Things fall in place as long as you know the centre. That’s my process.
ON HIS FAVOURITE MUSICIAN
My mother is my favourite. I draw inspiration from her. For every new song, her nod is a validation and a push. I’m also a huge Lady Gaga fan.
ON ARTISTS BLOCK
It’s a defeating phase, you start feeling and thinking. They take away from your work and de-motivate you. I get into a negative zone, I start questioning myself. But the minute I’m working on a song, everything starts making sense. I was stuck for a whole 1-2 years before Sage. It was horrible and taxing. My block was due to me being tired. I was on tour after Ud Gaye things were moving too fast, I was in a rut. After Sage, it all worked out. This was a breakup song, I went through extreme mental trauma. It was an expression of my restlessness. After the song, I was relieved. You can’t keep making music, you need a break.
ON DEALING WITH HEARTBREAK
I make music to deal with anything. That’s how I channelize. When I couldn’t do maths in school, and I’d go home and make music. That’s therapy for me. And every creative person will understand what I’m talking about. After I made this (Sage) song, I realised what I was actually going through.
ON HIS FAVOURITE CONTEMPORARIES
I adore Nucleya, he’s a mentor to me as well. We’re very parallel to each other. In hip-hop, I like Divine and Neazy. I’m a huge fan. I like MIDIval Punditz and Reggae Rajahs, they pulled to the Indie music scene 5 years ago.
ON THE PATTERN OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
It’s what you make it. It’s hard to get recognition. Today people like me, but 5 years ago they wouldn’t maybe. They’d prefer covers and more famous singers. It’s important to celebrate new talent because the lack of support causes bitterness later. If I didn’t have support, today I want to make sure I support others who need it.
QUESTION AND ANSWER
Ultimate dream come true moment?
Playing a big festival was a dream since I became a DJ. In 2017 NH7 Weekender I finally did it. This was after Ud Gaye. I went up without expectations, but there were 3000 people waiting for me.
How to get out of an artist’s block?
Just take it easy. Don’t force, don’t write if you’re not in the zone. Don’t push it. Wait for the right time, it will come to you.
What are your upcoming projects?
We announced a new album Dev, it’s coming in October.
Define a balanced life as an artiste?
There’s no balance in an artiste’s life. Maybe divide the artist Ritviz and everyday Ritviz. So you don’t stress out when something goes wrong in your professional life. A solid personal life is very important, it gives you strength.
What was your inspiration for music?
It’s not one thing, but a constant association with and love for music. School pushed me to prove myself, to show that I can do something. And I just found expression in music.