a Georgian DJ and resident of the Bassiani club in Tbilisi
Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: George Nebieridze
Zitto will perform at the ICKPA festival organized by the Bassiani team that will take place in Kyiv on the 23-24th of July. Tickets available here.
What is great about your life right now?
I am happy to perform again, that is one for sure. It’s been a tough time for everyone, and the dance scene is no exception. Now, I think the virus is backing down, and lockdowns are easing up, so I have been able to play again, and I am happy to continue doing what I love the most.
How did you get involved with the realm of music? When did you first experience the power music carries within itself?
I was 13 years old when my friend took me to a club for the first time. It was one of the earliest clubs in Tbilisi – Adjara Music Hall. I sat on the chair all night long whilst being captured by watching people partying, having fun. It was the first time I have been directly exposed to the power of dance music. I vividly remember that night, even today.
Do you remember the very first time you performed? What was it like?
I need to start from the second one. First and foremost, I just talked about capturing that moment, and I mean it; from the first experience of nightclubbing, I knew I would tie my bonds with the club culture, and that it would become my passion, something I would dedicate myself to.
The first gig is not a fairytale story; most of the well-selling DJs can tell. It was a humble start with a company of good friends, maybe 17 years ago. I continued playing house gatherings and birthday occasions and rented small spaces with friends to do parties and shared my music with people I cared about. These stories and times differ from today’s perception of partying and DJing – now it’s all hyped and polished, but those days mean the world to me because it was so real, and I was happy to be a part of it.
What are your most destructive and productive places?
I try to avoid destructive ones mostly, but yes, there are some. I think those are places when I overthink too much and feel that chaos surrounds me at that moment. When possible, I try to find peace and release it into productivity in nature. Shortly,
destructivity is the state of mind when I can’t fully express my emotions, and productivity begins when I start to transform my own pain, thoughts, joy, and love into music.
What’s it like to be a resident of one of the most renowned clubs in the world? What makes Bassiani so unique from your standpoint and your personal experience?
To say it first and make it clear, being a Bassiani Resident is a huge responsibility, along with it being a great honor and a personal challenge for me.
I organized parties for quite some time and performed on many occasions in many environments before 2014 when my first gig at Bassiani happened. That truly changed my life and in a very unexpected, very good way. As Bassiani residents, we should always be extra cautious and responsible for our involvement in the culture. We should always consider places we will play and associate our names and community with (especially during this hard time of the pandemic, when the club is closed) because not every space, not every dancefloor can give the listener and the dancer the experience Bassiani can and that experience in a whole is the most precious thing for us.
Bassiani itself is a little beyond and little more than a club.
Bassiani being open and having parties on a regular basis is vital not only for DJs or the club culture but for ordinary residents, for the common people of Tbilisi, who find their peace and comfort on the dancefloor.
It is an environment where we grow together, musically and emotionally – a cultural bonding experience that is no similar to any other place.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
Music. Short and clear. Music is the queen of my emotions and all the emotions, in general. I am happy to be alive because of it.
What are some of the important life lessons you’ve learned throughout your childhood that you still use to this day?
1) Never identify with the mind. Be the observer.
2) Knowing the difference between Ego and Higher Self.
3) Never stop learning.
4) Challenges make us stronger.
5) Focus on the narrative you want to live.
6) Experimenting is one of the best ways to learn.
7) Giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences.
Do you see the best in people, or are you cautious of the less attractive side of human nature?
It’s about a balance, I think. Of course, I try to see best and listen to every human being I meet, because everyone has their own vision and brings their own perception of music and life in general.
But you always have to stay real too, real to yourself and real to your surroundings, and remember that a human being is not a linear, one-sided poster, but a vastly shaped artwork that can act or think differently, according to the situation.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Oh, I hate this one “fake it until you make it.” You should never fake it, not for fame, not for money, not for anything. Life is too short for that.
What is the wisest thing you’ve heard recently?
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”
Is it possible to judge music objectively?
There is no such thing as judging music or any other form of artistic expression objectively. When you say “This is music is good,” is, in fact, you saying “I, personally, like this music.” There are no all-accepted, aesthetical assessments independent of personal taste.
Some might argue that you can judge the technical perfectness of music, which is also true, but technical accuracy and pleasure from listening to music are entirely different things.
The joy of interpreting how good music only lies in the listener’s ear and as many listeners you have, the more ears you get, and it goes like this.
If you could have a conversation with any historical or famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
As cars are my passion and object of immense interest, I would say Henry Ford. I would have asked a lot.
What new experiences do you desire?
I want to leave my own imprint on the dance culture and maybe start a special party series someday.
What themes are you exploring right now? What topics do you find fascinating at the moment?
At this stage, I find myself really centered on my personal life and my development in both material and spiritual realms. To say more, I am trying to learn how to live a new life, get used to a new reality the pandemic brought upon us, try to spend more time with my family, and lay some bricks in the foundations of the new ideas and new projects that go through my mind. But most importantly, I think giving and receiving love from my family comes first right now.
Does commercial success interest you to some extent?
Not at all!
Do you have a clear understanding of who you are, or are you still seeking certain truths about yourself?
I think I am at the age (31) when a person should have a clear idea of who they are.
I know one thing for sure – understanding ourselves is the way to understand others around you.
But every journey has its obstacles, and life does too, of course. Sometimes we try to lead our path towards success; sometimes, we are chasing happiness. Sometimes we even forget that those two are very close-knit.
There is no success without happiness, and I mean, if you feel happy then you can say that you succeeded in life.
To cut it short, I feel that I am pretty sure where I am right now, and I am happy about it.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview, and what would you answer?
Questions that are connected to my work and passion – music.