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INTERVIEW: Ricca Vita

Hi Timothy, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! Thanks for having me. I’m good- currently far too caffeinated to be sleepy but definitely tired as I’ve been pushing to finish an EP for a gentleman named Curtis McCabe today. But it’s exciting stuff – so, I’m good.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Dirty Cop”?

Yeah! It was the third song written from the new EP. It actually began as a song I wrote with Marshall Cunningham, probably about two years ago, but I essentially just sampled parts here and there from the song we recorded together- it sounds altogether different and much more dark and funkier than the original. Lyrically I was drawing from a place of hopelessness that seems to be pertinent to modern culture with the political unrest and abuse of power. But I didn’t want to make it too much of a political statement from a macro viewpoint. I wanted it to be personal with a sense of intimacy so I began with the idea of a love story. A love story in the midst of a chaotic society, where those in power abuse their power and wherein the person you love had been taken advantage of by the powers that be. I kept the lyrics vague while trying to be emphatic about the feelings and emotions that would result from said circumstance.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Not necessarily, although I was drawing from a story some friends in Minneapolis shared with me a while ago. Some dick cop was on a power trip and pepper sprayed/detained them even though they were the ones that called the cops- I can’t even remember what about. I just drew from how helpless someone would feel in that situation, watching the abuse of your friends while not being able to do anything about it, as well as how helpless I think a lot of our generation feels when it comes to the political system.

How was the film experience?

On a lighter note! The film experience was phenomenal! I was blown away by the support so many people provided! Hannah Johnson did a killer job with conceptualizing the make-up, Patience Anderson and Erin Robison were great sounding boards for the constantly changing storyline and helped a ton with costume and hair. And of course, Rift Media took everything to the next level- all of the best shots were them improvising as hair, costume and make-up started to eat into the daylight and we only had the one day at Copper Canyon Ranch. They’re complete film genius’ and the result looks a million times better than I ever imagined it would, I can’t thank them enough! I wish I could just name everybody that was there because it really couldn’t have been done without every single one of them.

The single comes off your new EP – any title in mind?

It’s self titled, I suppose!

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing/recording process was pretty therapeutic actually! I had a reached a point in my life where I was so sick of waiting as my perfectionism had become debilitating. So I said to myself “fuck it!” I was serving at a restaurant at the time, so pretty much every hour I wasn’t at work I spent locked in my room, working on the music, recording parts as I wrote them. I had pretty much everything in place within a week baring the last song “WHIP” which needed some extra TLC. And then it took me another few weeks to mix and wrap up loose ends on a much less busy schedule. Shout out to my roomies at the time for putting up with me endlessly blasting the same song over and over and over etc…

Known for starting your early career in Church – does Faith still influences your music in any way?

It seems unavoidable for faith to influence my music, whether it’s indirect or not, as it was such a large part of where I came from. But I suppose I still have a lot of faith, it’s just evolved drastically from when I was a Pastor’s kid, and isn’t as concrete, verbiage or know-it-all-y, if you would. There are quite a few Christian and satanic ideas that I toy with in the EP which were really descriptive of something else entirely. Although, I did get my first bit of hate mail from an emphatic Christian for “pushing that devil shit on him.” (It was through Facebook and his default picture was the confederate flag) Oddly enough, I was kind of stoked about it! If someone can’t look past an expletive or the use of the devil as an idiom to hear what the message actually is then I suppose it’s not really for them anyway. My point is never to piss people off, just for the sake of offending someone, but if the right people are rejecting it then I think it’s a step towards the right people receiving it.

Does Nashville plays a role in your music?

Of course! We’re all shaped by our environment and I’ve always said that the context fosters what’s created. There’s a lot going on in Nashville and having the opportunity to rub shoulders with so many creative and motivated people is inspiring! Although I did find that, compared to other music scenes I had been in, that there was much more of a business mentality when it came to music. I didn’t know a lot of people that were making art just because they felt like it – as a form of expression without any financial or career motivation attached to it. Which there really isn’t anything inherently wrong with that mentality, and I’m sure that’s part of the reason Nashville is as successful as it is. But it did sort of bug me that, as far as I had experienced, it was so lopsided. So when I took the plunge that week to write and record an EP, I really tried to drain my head of any sort of self-gain and possible outside criticism. Sometimes it’s hard not to think “oh what would so-and-so think of this?” Or “whats-her-face would really dig this” while you’re creating something, but it’s funny because it’s really just your perception of a hypothetical perception and thus, false. So everything that’s happened since the release, the music videos, the reviews, this interview, I’m grateful and blown away that it’s all happening because for all I knew it could have collected dust and cobwebs on soundcloud- which would have been ok too. Ultimately, I love this city and I love all of the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. I really couldn’t imagine myself being able to do what I get to do in other city.

Known for blending different genres together – does tends to shine the most in one song depending on the lyrics’ theme or any other element in particular?

Not really! For this project I really just wrote things as they came, as I heard it in my head, with no thought-out intention as it pertains to genre. But when it comes to producing other people’s music, what I do is much more intentional, based on the vision of the artist as well as what I think the song needs.

Any plans to hit the road?

No plans as of right now! I still have to put a band together and really want the right people involved. Preferably, I would want musicians involved that would take part in RICCA VITA and make it their own baby as well. I would rather not simply hire on random musicians as I want it to be something that evokes passion with every element being founded in the idea of “just cause I wanna.”

What else is happening next in Ricca Vita’s world?

I just moved in with my gorgeous girlfriend two months ago which has been great! I’ve also been producing full-time for about 6 months now, which is both time-consuming and extremely exciting! I don’t get the chance to touch base with friends as much as I would like to, but I think once I get a steadier routine with my production business going that will change. I’m also involved in a danceable R&B project with Marshall Cunningham and John Hanna which Im pretty excited about. And oh yeah! I just started playing drums with Zachariah Red, some really cool country infused rock ‘n roll, my first show with them is May 26th at The Country over on the west end. Come check it out!

But thanks for taking the time to do this and my apologies for all the wordy rants.

Sayonara!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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