RICCA VITA is the brainchild of Nashville, TN-based producer and drummer, Timothy J. Ryssemus, who at the age of 11 began his musical career by hitting things with sticks until he was able to get his hands on a rusty drum kit; however, his musical career truly started in earnest when Ryssemus began playing in his father’s pentecostal church band and continued playing throughout high school in a variety of genres and styles including punk and hip-hop before studying jazz at Blackhawk College in Illinois. And as the story goes, Ryssemus was almost finished with school when his brother, who had relocated to Chicago and was in a local touring band called Ryssemus and asked his brother to join his stoner metal band Norman Toronto. “I had already been in school for a few years and the band was offering me something school couldn’t – booze infused rock n’ roll,” Ryssemus recalls in press notes.
Interestingly as Ryssemus’s interest in electronic production began to grow, he caught wind of Nashville’s burgeoning electro pop scene and relocated to Nashville as he did when he relocated to Chicago — on a whim. After producing a number of local pop and indie rock acts, Ryssemus spent the first few months of this year crafting the material that would eventually comprise his self-titled debut EP as RICCA VITA, an EP that quickly received praise from No More Division for his songwriting and production chops — and perhaps for a sound that Ryssemus has jokingly described as the sort of “. . .pop music they listen to in Hell . . ”
Ryssemus’ material caught the attention of another local producer J. Hanna, who was so intrigued that he wanted to collaborate with Ryssemus and they immediately began working together on a remember of the RICCA VITA EP’s breakthrough single “Abba Dabba.” The original single is a lush, dreamy and ethereal bit of synth pop in which shimmering synths, gently swirling electronics are paired with plaintive vocals in a song that sounds as though it drew from Tame Impala, Vinyl Williams and others. However, the J. Hanna remix turns the psychedelic-leaning song into a slick, futuristic R&B-leaning synth pop in which the original’s plaintive vocals are paired with propulsive drum programming and boom bap-like beats, cascading layers of shimmering synths and razor sharp, contemporary pop-leaning hooks, essentially turning the song into a radio-friendly, club-banging track.
Interestingly, the video was shot not for the original song but for the remix. Shot in just four-and-a-half hours with most of it shot at Ryssemus’ home and segments shot at a few abandoned factories in downtown Nashville. As Ryssemus explains in press notes, “The remix was being released in a few days, and I was spastically [sic] struck with an idea to make and release the music video in the next three days. So I started frantically calling people and trying to make arrangements and the more people that got involved the more it took shape.” “All the neon scenes came first,” Ryssemus explains. “A friend of mine had an idea for doing a photoshoot with neon paint, which as I thought about the concept it spiraled into a place and time- a people. An almost tribal somewhat hedonistic, neon people. With this video, as oppose to the first two, I wanted to make something that felt visually exactly how the music felt. As oppose to taking someone on a journey in a linear logical storyline and I wanted to take someone on more of an emotional journey.” Visually, the video reminds me quite a bit of several videos shot in the 90s.