Opiuo Talks His Creative Process in iEDM Interview
Opiuo was one of the hottest sets at Hulaween this year! iEDM got to sit down with this awesome producer hailing from New Zealand right before his set to chat about his upcoming tour schedule, playing in live band to solo performance and his go to for making his sounds.
iEDM: It's been a busy tour schedule for you this month. Where has been the most fun to play?
Oscar: Well the most insane thing I did was Red Rocks with an orchestra.
iEDM: Oh yeah?
Oscar: That kinda was like a dream my whole life, or something like that. So this year kinda got based around that, and everything since then has been really interesting, cause I spent six months building an orchestra, doing that show, and then after that I just went back, and I've been writing pure electronic music again. Just like having the freedom to do whatever, like completely free. This year's been epic for that.
iEDM: Very good.
Oscar: Lots of cool shows, lots of people turning up.
iEDM: Awesome. So do you have any shows, or special venues coming up?
Oscar: In one week, I'm playing Yorkshire and Melbourne in Australia.
iEDM: Hell yeah.
Oscar: The second show I've ever done there, and don't know how many I'll do in my life, but this is the next go. Yeah, and then I'm going to come back to the states next year, we're gonna have some tours playing, and make some more music with that. I'm very excited, some really cool music on that one. The Forum, oh yeah the venue's beautiful.
iEDM: Oh, very cool.
Oscar: They just renovated it, so it sounds even better, bigger sound system.
iEDM: Excellent, excellent.
iEDM: So you talked about doing an orchestra, and performing with a full live band. What's your favorite part about playing with a full band, and can you talk about the process of bringing that orchestra together?
Oscar: Yeah, I mean playing with people on stage is such a- having come from a solo world, it's such a cool thing cause it's kinda so much based around what can go wrong, and what can go right. There're moments where something epic happens, and it's just like buzzing on that thing, and then there're just moments you're like "I hope everyone keeps up.", or like "Hope it works.", and it does. It's just, you know- trust them, and that's cool cause it's not all about you at the time. Make sure you go over everything together, also it's sitting on them, which- I love that. It's exciting, yeah. Keeps the life in it. Building both of those things are two very different experiences. The band was a bunch of friends that I put together, and we practiced for months and started touring, it went very well. Then I needed another challenge, got given the Red Rocks date, and thought "Why not do an orchestra?" Something that I didn't even know how I was going to do it, how I was going to write it. Found the right guy to write with, he put the orchestra together, and it happened.
iEDM: You guys just released that recording as well, just recently.
iEDM: Excellent. Man, that's awesome. Can you tell us about somethings, or persons who have influenced your creative process?
Oscar: From when I was young, I grew up around festivals. From being super young, like in a band kind of world, then electronic music, then 90's came about, I was going to festivals with alternative music, and was experiencing big sound systems with, big sounds, you know? That was massively influential for me, because I saw, before I had even gotten into playing music, and saw where I could kind of go. It was really cool as a kid to see, and be around that, the epic side of that culture, in New Zealand. So that probably set me off, on a bit of a journey to do it, but I never really put pressure to be that, I always really enjoyed it. Early days of like, there's a band called Super Groove in New Zealand, which is part of the hippie, rock, hip-hop, cross kind of stuff. The Beastie Boys, and their live band thing, with the hip-hop stuff was super influential in the days.
iEDM: Yeah, that's wonderful.
iEDM: We talked about an upcoming tour date you got in Melbourne, but any upcoming projects or songs, or?
Oscar: Yeah, I'm gonna play a lot of new music today. I've just been making lots of new music.
Oscar: Writing with some people, maybe we're going to release EP's together. Just writing as much music- it's kind of like in that freedom phase, you know? Just writing whatever, and writing that way, I'm feeling excited about that kind of style today, and I've definitely got a lot of new music to release now so, I'll figure out how to release it.
iEDM: On that note, how do you get into your creative flow state? When you're that magical, anything goes, creative music maker.
Oscar: There're days where you're not feeling creative, and you have to pick up on that and not sit in the studio and try to force myself, so I go and do something else, ride a bike, or do something outside, and then there's days where you're like, "I know I've got it in me, I'm tired but let's just go, and sit in there." And I normally just turn on a synth and just completely forget, and try to make a song, and something comes out. Some mornings I get up and I got a song in my head, fully- and it never comes out like it is in my head, but at least it's like I know the tempo, I know a couple of the sounds I'm looking for, I know what I'm trying to do, it can be inspired from a song I've heard, or sometimes I just, yeah. When I was a kid I had like full tracks in my head, and I'd make the build up, the break down, before I even knew how to make stuff on a computer, but I was listening to a lot of music, so I thought that's what everyone kinda had. A lot of people have said that they come from a space of finding a sound, and that inspires the song, and some come from the opposite way, where it's first the song, "I gotta find the song, and fit it into this thing."
iEDM: That's cool.
Oscar: It varies.
iEDM: Very cool. So, we know you're playing here at Hulaween, and we know you've got some shows all over the world, but when you're trying to enjoy some music, do you ever get the chance to go to festival and relax these days, or are you too busy?
Oscar: Honestly, no.
iEDM: Any favorite festivals, that you have enjoyed?
Oscar: Yeah, I've been too many festivals, from Glastonbury in the UK, it was amazing. Shambhala in Canada. There's been a bunch in America, I can't think of right now. It's kinda funny, that it's been this really cool, expansive, many festivals coming up, and they all support each other, all have really cool hypes going on, they shout each other out, it's like artists in the same way. This country has a lot of good vibes here.
iEDM: Yeah, so much music in our hearts.
Oscar: Yeah, people love it, and they show up, they buy tickets, people feel like they are directly responsible for making it awesome as well, not just the music. It's awesome.
iEDM: So is that different from where you grew up? Is the music scene more supportive here?
Oscar: I don't know it's more or less supportive, I just think you got more people, and there's more artists, and there's a lot more going on. And that's just population, and there's a good history here, there's good technology here, bands have been here forever, and they still play. It's just great.
iEDM: So you're really known for your creative sound design. What are your favorite couple of tricks, your go-tos, favorite processes?
Oscar: I have a Profit Six Synthesizer.
iEDM: The real one?
Oscar: Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know the song Ginger Lizard?
Oscar: I made all the synths with that synth. The sounds, the baseline, everything. So for me, it's really fun to try, and use one or two things to make a song, cause when you got the endless amounts of sounds, you kinda never really settle on something, and when you've got a limitation I think it can kind of help, in some weird way. It's not like the norm, and yeah, I like that challenge of like, "Alright, I've got to try to make this thing that fits here, and is this big, or whatever, from this thing here." I'm not just going to keep flipping through a million different things, I really want to try and make it from this, and that's inspiring for me normally cause I'd find other sounds I never even thought about cause this thing, yeah. Then once I get the sounds in there I do a lot of busing past the frequencies to different buses, or groups, and then just work on those within that sound. So instead of making a sub, and making a mid, and making a high, it's all going to be coming from the same one sound to start, and then just working on each part. Which is kind of cool, cause then when you want to change one, you just got this one thing to edit.
Thank you Opiuo for sharing your creative process and insight with us! We look forward to your many upcoming U.S. tour dates HERE.