Recently, we caught up with Ryan Sinatra, better known as Notixx. We got the chance to dive deeper into his musical background, his plans for the future, and his inspirations!
Electric Hawk: I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us for our artist spotlight! Can you give us a brief overview of yourself? Name, age, where your from, etc…
Notixx: Ryan Sinatra, 29, I grew up and have lived in western NY my whole life. I was born in Buffalo, NY and grew up about an hour drive away in Jamestown, NY. About 6 years ago I moved to Buffalo permanently.
EH: Why the name Notixx?
N: “Notixx” is technically supposed to be half of the word “hypnotics” – I had to use a unique spelling to guaranteed proper placement in google searches and whatnot. I knew that i wanted to make unique electronic music that perplexed the senses. The name seemed fitting, and once i came up with it, I just rolled with it. I know a lot of people mis-pronounce my name, but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. It’s about the music, and people can pronounce my artist name however they want I suppose.
EH: When did you start making music and what got you into it? How have you grown as an artist since then?
I started making music at the beginning of my college years, so it’s been about 10 years now I guess (damn, it feels weird to say that) – I had always played guitar during high school, and a career in music always interested me. It just seemed so far from possible. Being in a band wasn’t really my thing.
I tried it a few times, but being in a band meant agreeing with 3-5 other people about EVERYTHING to make the music work. Meeting for band practice meant setting aside time on a schedule every week. Beyond that, developing a brand around a band means dealing with merch, marketing, social media, tours, and all that. It’s a lot easier to tackle all that when you don’t have to compromise on creative input.
When dubstep started to become popular in America around 2011, I was very much into it. The idea of creating music by yourself and having the ability to develop every part of it on your own was refreshing to me. I instantly jumped into Ableton and started to learn. MAN was my music terrible back then haha (you can still listen to some of it on Spotify and youtube and whatnot)
EH: How would you describe your sound?
N: It’s tough for me to describe really since I’m not a “listener” – I just make what I feel like making. I make noises, I add more noises. I add drums, then more drums, details come in, and finally, I have a finished song. It’s hard for me to listen to a finished song and hear it as a whole, rather than the pieces I put together.
I think my sound draws from a lot of percussive influences. When I hear trap/rap/hip hop/beats, I draw some inspiration from the simplicity of half-time and drum & bass. I draw influences from the obnoxious in-your-face headbanging “dubstep” that has become popular today. Every track has different inspirations, and I just try and wrap all those into something that still fits a consistent feel.
EH: What’s your biggest inspiration when it comes to making music? What’s your process like?
Lately, my biggest inspiration for making music has been seeing the GIANT crowds that artists have been playing my music. Seeing Rusko, Bassnectar and other big names playing my music to crowds of thousands is wild. I’m all like “wow, I wrote that track while sitting at my dining room table and now 25,000 people are raging to it”.
I want the chance to be able to share all my music in that way. To play a set of all-original music to a crowd of that size, with that much energy, would be a dream come true, and lately, that is what drives me to keep creating.
My process of making music is really pretty simple. I think most creatives work this way. I spend a certain amount of time brainstorming and just making “ideas” – could be bass sounds, synth riffs, drum patterns, anything. After I have a bunch of ideas, I spend time trying to transform those ideas into more developed projects, maybe a couple of bars or a full “drop”.
After I have a more developed idea of what the track will sound like, I start to add more melody and details, and I build outward into the intro and breakdown/outro.
I think a lot of producers start with the intro, but I tend to start with the “meat” of the track and build outward. It doesn’t always work that way though, but most times.
EH: Do you see your sound changing in the future?
N: I really don’t think I have much control over that. I’m never going to purposefully change “my sound”. The influences around me are always changing though. I always hope to grow my sound and improve what I know about making music.
EH: What was your first big ‘woah’ moment in your career? Something that really made you realize your career was growing.
N: Seeing Bassnectar playing my music on New Years’ last year was pretty huge for me. I don’t think I’ve had too many of these moments yet. Playing at Electric Forest on a renegade bus for thousands of people was pretty huge too. That felt great.
EH: You just recently dropped two killer EPs within 8 days! Where did the inspiration for that come from?
N: I had 8 tracks finished and no labels were biting. I kept sending them around and getting responses asking for new material, or saying that they wouldn’t be able to release them for 6 months or so. Working with labels can be a huge headache. I just wanted all this music out. I worked really hard for a couple of weeks to get the concept and art done for the two EP’s and spent some time making videos and promo material, and then I scheduled them to be released all on my own. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the idea of releasing music by myself and not depending on labels to help.
EH: I saw you recently opened the sold-out show in Buffalo for GWN on The One tour, what did that feel like?
I had been looking forward to this show for a very long time. After releasing some music with Subcarbon, I had been chatting over email with the guys for some time now, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet with them in person yet. It was good to get some time to chat with them and warm up the crowd. I recently just finished up a remix for SubDocta as well, so it was good to meet him in person finally too. That should be out on Subcarbon sometime in the new year.
EH: So we know that Electric Forest is one of your favorite places and that you play the Panky Rang bus every year. What makes Electric Forest so special to you?
N: I’ve been attending Electric Forest for like 7 years now. It’s my “vacation” that I get to look forward to with all my friends. My twin brother usually goes with me, and I don’t get to see him too often since he lives in Cleveland. The Panky Rang guys have been more than amazing by giving me a platform to play the last couple of years. I really appreciate it, probably more than they realize.
I think Electric Forest is a very unique festival. I’ve been to my fair share of festivals all over the country and nothing is quite the same. The location plays a huge role in that. The memories I’ve created there also make it very special to me. Hopefully, I can get booked to play an official stage someday!
EH: What is one location/festival you would love to play and why?
N: RED ROCKS because DUHHHH. I went and visited the venue during the day when I played in Denver last summer. I gotta play there sometime!
EH: What can we expect from you in 2020? Any big goals or secrets we can be let in on?!
N: A couple of remixes dropping early in the year that I’m excited about. I don’t have much in the line of “secret plans” to hint at. I’d really like to get a small tour together. There’s a chance I may be hopping on some support dates for a bigger artist, and that’s something I can’t speak much about 🙂 EXPECT A LOT OF NEW MUSIC!
EH: We love your Dusty Bits project, any more music coming from that anytime soon?
N: Dusty Bits has kind of taken a back seat for now. Focusing my energy on two projects means I can’t give 100% to my project, and right now, I need to give it my all if I want to get this project off the ground. Right now I still work a day job almost 40 hours per week, and I’d really like to turn music into a career so I can give it my all.
In the future, if music does become a full-time job for me, I think I’d definitely have the time to keep Dusty Bits going! We shall see.
EH: What was the influence behind starting Dusty Bits?
Wobble House/Breakbeat seemed to be on the rise at the time and I really liked making it. Didn’t seem to fit in with my other stuff though. At the same time, Jake Broffman (the other half of Dusty Bits) seemed to be experiencing some discouragement in his position with production and the music industry, so the project was used as a source of fresh inspiration.
EH: Random question: I was told you have a 3D printing hobby. What’s up with that?
N: I like making things. Coffee, Beer, Food, whatever. I’m a producer in the fullest sense of the word I suppose. As a creative person with a background in art, 3D printing has always interested me. Once I found out how affordable they are these days, I had to grab one.
EH: What’s your favorite bird? (pls say hawk)
N: Sure, hawk. Because they are named after Tony Hawk and he’s rad af duh.
EH: What kind of music have you been listening to a lot lately?
CharlesTheFirst, 5AM and 5AM Trio, Kromuh, Supertask, Of The Trees. I guess a lot of times I listen to stuff that’s a bit more chill than what I make, but not always. It depends on my mood and the application. I like it all.
EH: Annnnd last but not least… pineapple on pizza? Yes or no? Why?
N: Probably gonna lose some fans over this but whateverrrr. Yeah sure, I’m ok with pineapple on pizza. Pineapple + Jalapeno is one of the best combos for real. If you don’t like it that’s ok too. No need to get heated over pizza toppings lol
EH: Anything else you’d like to add?
Not particularly. I just hope fans can continue to see that artists are people too. Stop trying to hold us to a higher standard than the average human. The type of stress and social pressure we undergo in this industry is insane. It can cripple our mental and physical health in no time. Instead of adding to that stress, try being a fan that understands. Show support, show love, practice understanding and patience with your favorite artists. So many of us are sacrificing a lot to pursue a career in such a saturated market. I know it might look like we have it all, touring, traveling and living the life. But you don’t see behind the scenes.