Mitus talks Rihanna

Noisey: If we had to compress 2016’s music so far down to just two releases, the chances are we’d land on Rihanna’s Anti and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. Twenty-year-old beatmaker Mitus was on both of them.

As with both RiRi and Yeezy, the scope of a major album’s production team gets more ambitious with every release. You only need to consider Yeezus, which paired Daft Punk alongside Arca, to get a feel for the constant search for curveballs. Anti and TLOP have proven no exceptions to this rule.

You’d be forgiven for not necessarily recognising the name, Mitus – he currently has 160 followers on Soundcloud – but the 20-year-old American is behind the beats on both Rihanna’s “Goodnight Gotham,” and Kanye’s “FML”, making him responsible for more late-night feels than a year’s worth of Titanic re-runs. His sound is full of echoing space, charred rattles, and distorted crescendos. In effect, it sounds like he makes beats, then stamps on them, sets them on fire, and then submits the smoky remains.

His career to date has been one of jaw-dropping level ups. The first beat he ever sold was to Rihanna, and the first professional studio he ever walked into was with Kanye. In fact, his career is moving so quickly that even in the couple of days that have elapsed since us speaking to him, he’s emailed to say he’s just signed a five song deal with G.O.O.D. Music.

How did your Rihanna collab come about?
It was quite weird to be honest. I’d actually never sold a beat before, so the first beat I ever sold was to Rihanna. Which is kinda crazy. It was for $18,000. Prior to that, I couldn’t sell one for $100. I had signed a deal when I was 18 and my publicist was going into the studio with Rihanna so played them to her. A few months later, she had bought the first track off of me. She invited me to the studio and we worked together.

How was it working with Rihanna?
Dude she is the nicest person I’ve ever met. She is super chill.

How long ago was this?
He played her the tracks in June 2014 and I finally got in the studio with her in January 2015.

How did you cope entering rooms with so many of your idols/massive producers?
It was interesting. The first time I worked with Rihanna, I walked in there and thankfully she was very welcoming – but it was nerve-wracking at first. Kanye then showed up later. It was weird just taking it all in, but then after that, the next Rihanna session and the one with Kanye, I got used to it. Nerve-wracking but fun nonetheless.

And then you worked with Kanye? How did that happen?
The first song I did for Rihanna was “Mitus Touch”. You might remember that—people were asking why it was spelt wrong but it’s because it was named after me. So, that happened because she’d originally wanted that for her album and Kanye had written most of it. That’s how Kanye got wind of my stuff, by writing over it for Rihanna. After that I started sending stuff to his label because they’d asked for it. Then it was supposed to be on his album, but I don’t know what happened to it in the end.

What would you class as the dopest moment of the past couple of years?
It’s got to be the first time I got in the studio with Rihanna. We’re playing my beat and Kanye just comes out of nowhere and starts dancing. You know that famous Yeezy dance that he does? He just starts doing that out of nowhere. I’m going crazy in my mind, but trying to compose myself. I didn’t even know he was going to be there. I will never forget that.

Read the whole interview here.