One of Miami’s finest, Nii Tei has been creating a name for himself with his expertly crafted sets featuring a wide range of music seamlessly mixed.
Crediting his Ghanaian roots as the soul of his music style, Nii Tei is a Miami, FL based DJ who has been a music enthusiast since birth. Also an avid fan of disco, house, techno, minimal, and Afro-influenced sounds, his sets are electrically infused with musical components of his mother country, a style he’s developed and perfected over the course of 7 years. Today, he talks about his music career and his roots.
Electronic Groove: Hi Nii Tei, thanks for chatting with us. Where are you right now and what are you up to?
Nii Tei: Thanks for having me! I just finished work at my day job doing some IT work, finally home relaxing a little.
Electronic Groove: Can you let our readers know a bit about your background as an artist and how you got interested in dance music?
Nii Tei: I moved to Miami after finishing my Master’s Degree in Engineering Tech in Tennessee. Originally I’m from Ghana and moved to the states for my undergraduate degree but continued to get my masters after. I’ve always been a music-head and one to always show my friends new music; be it by making CD’s to give out to friends or whatnot. Upon my move to Miami, I picked up a weekly gig at a restaurant on Ocean drive with the encouragement of mentors I had at that time. One thing led to the other and here I am now.
Electronic Groove: How would you describe your sound and your style of playing?
Nii Tei: I do like all the styles and genres well except EDM, with that said the foundation of my sound is composed of the deep, dark, bass and melodic sounds of minimal, techno, disco, house kissed by delicate, beautiful melodies and the playful percussion rhythms of Afro. I enjoy and play other stuff as well. It’s all about the range and what the situation or scenario begs of me. The last thing I’d like is to be associated with only one style of sound thus pigeonholing myself.
“Part of the Dj’s job is to figure out what they’d like and can receive well”
Electronic Groove: To which extent does the crowd or the venue influence your style of play? Do you go with the flow or do you try to impose your will upon them? How do you balance this energy?
Nii Tei: To a great extent I’d say, every venue has a certain clientele, the crowd they cater to and also a vibe they try to create. Part of the Dj’s job is to figure out what they’d like and can receive well. You can have all bangers and great tracks but that doesn’t mean that’s what the people want to hear or will receive well at a said time.
Most of the time my goal is to the slowly reel them in. I fish till the hook is bit after I carefully navigate through tracks to educate and at the same time putting in rotation some old familiar ones to create some sort of comfort and connection with the listener. Keeping a wide coherent range has always been advantageous. It always keeps patrons guessing and anxious to hear and enjoy whatever comes next. There is something for everyone in my sets.
Electronic Groove: We have some idea about the scene in Miami. What’s your take on its current state and how do you see it evolving in the next few years?
Nii Tei: It’s definitely a refreshing one if you ask me. There’s a lot of variety on any given weekend. Promoters in Miami do an excellent job at bringing in new talent every weekend in addition to regular town favourites. You could go out to enjoy some chill stuff if you want and also go out to enjoy some hard heavy pounding techno, the choice is all yours. I don’t see it changing in the future; if anything it’ll be more venues popping up to cater to continuously growing scene.
Electronic Groove: You’re a current resident at the Miami based and worldwide brand Do Not Sit On The Furniture. How did this relationship come together? What can you tell us about the clubs and its philosophy?
Nii Tei: Megan and Behrouz saw my growth and potential in the earlier years some time ago and reached out to me to play more for them. It has been a journey and continuous improvement process for me. I’m grateful to them for that. Well, you know their main goal is to continuously bring new talents to the city with different music offerings to educate patrons while growing said artists at the same time.
Electronic Groove: Are you also involved with any other collectives or events in the city?
Nii Tei: Besides being a resident at Do Not Sit on The Furniture, I also play the guest resident role with the Link Miami Rebels for some club nights. I also partner with my brothers and local favorites DudeSkywalker of Deep Playa and Nervous Record for some events. A partnership and friendship I’m excited about and glad to see grow.
Electronic Groove: Can you elaborate on the preparation that goes into your DJ sets?
Nii Tei: If I’m warming up then I tailor my set just a little to what headliners style is; to some little extent. Though sometimes that’s not the case when I’m at the venue. But having that preparation ready serves as a backup, just in case. Unless I’m headlining then my goal is to take listeners on a roller coaster journey of my styles one with climax points, plateaus, and lows.
Electronic Groove: Miami also hosts two yearly weeks of industry events as in Art Basel and MMW. What can you tell us about these two and the differences between them?
Nii Tei: MMW is more for the music whereas Art Basel is more for the art and stuff but slowly becoming more for the music.
“My dad taught me everything I know”
Electronic Groove: In your lifetime, who has played and imprint part in your growth, not only as an artist but also on a personal level?
Nii Tei: My dad, (RIP) hands down, taught me everything I know. I’m the way I am today because of him.
Electronic Groove: Are there any artists that you look forward to in terms of inspiration?
Nii Tei: Of course they are countless; I can mention Davi, Till Von Sein, MegaBlast, Brian Cid, KMLN, La Fleur, Mark Slee, Atish, Jonathan Kaspar and the list goes on and on; Behrouz of course; but you can get a gist with these mentioned.
Electronic Groove: What do you like to do away from music, how do you relax and spend your extra time?
Nii Tei: If I’m not watching a movie on my downtime, I’m mostly catching up with friends. Working monday to friday and Djing on the weekends, sometimes takes a toll on your friendships. Keeping healthy balance is best. I hate missing birthdays.
Electronic Groove: It seems that your international career is about to take off. Are you ready for this?
Nii Tei: I’m ready to embrace what may come but I’m certainly not in a rush. It’s always best when things happen organically; but yeah I’m super ready.
Electronic Groove: Finally, What do you like to listen to when you’re chilling out and unwinding?
Nii Tei: I mostly listen to and download music all day so by the time I’m back at home from work. It’s just silence for a while unless I still have more listening to do.
In summary, to unwind I just listen to my daily finds to hear how they sound on the monitor speakers to decide whether I still like them or not.
Electronic Groove: You will soon be sharing the decks with Mathew Dekay. How are you preparing for this one?
Nii Tei: Oh, we all know Mathew reigns king and it will be his show 100 %, that said I’m definitely keeping the vibes happy and vibey, housy here and there with little hints of dub / minimal and little dreamy if the opportunity presents itself. It’s definitely a chance to get some of my favorite tracks/finds into the rotation, but who knows what will happen. Guess we’ll find out the day off.
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