Skrillex is known not only for his own music, but also for his music curation and ability to identify young talent and bring it to fruition. After picking up on OddKidOut, Skrillex saw the potential and over the course of a year has been working with the up-and-coming artist for the release of his EP, Solstice. This EP is a little different than others, considering it’s made up of samples from the OWSLA catalog, ranging from Yogi‘s “Money On My Mind” and Tennyson‘s “Cry Bird,” to Skrillex’s “Would You Ever.”
Each track is strategically composed with vibrant elements that allow each song to stand out on its own, but also come together as a beautifully cohesive body of work. All four tracks also come with complementing music videos that start with a time of day and a range of scenes from dancing, friends, cryptic messages and more. The addition of the videos allows the listener to further understand and relate to each song.
OddKidOut shows excellent production proficiency in this EP and truly shows his ability to pull inspiration from multiple places, while still remaining true to his sultry lo-fi and slightly trappy style.
There is no denying Canadian producer Ekali has had a big few years with a sold-out headlining tour and hit collaborations with the likes of ZHU. The producer is back with new music in the form of OWSLA release “Blood Moon,” a collaboration with TYNAN and Hekler.
The track is a cutting bass-trap fusion with commanding drops that will undoubtedly be featured in future festival and club performances. Ekali commented on his Twitter that he considers co-producers TYNAN and Hekler to be some of the most talented up-and-coming bass producers in the scene, and “Blood Moon” certainly speaks to that. Fans who like the song can download it for free via SoundCloud.
Getting signed to a record label is no small feat for any artist, though OddKidOut’s initiation into OWSLA‘s rankings might be the most nerve racking trial by fire any new signee has ever faced. The young Philadelphia-native’s first assignment, handed down from Skrillex, was to dig through OWSLA’s discography, chop up his favorite samples, and to turn them into something entirely new.
The final returned product from the prodigious beatsmith is a spectacular four-track debut EP titled Solstice, that recreates some of the label’s finest sonic snippets. On the EP’s latest offering, “Napa Street,” OddKidOut reconstructs the hook of Skrillex and Poo Bear‘s “Would You Ever,” into an echoing lo-fi hip-hop gem, piecing together an unwinding downtempo glitch primed for hazy summer night cruising. Ahead of the track and Liam Underwood-directed music video premiere, OddKidOut sat down with Dancing Astronaut to dive into the producer’s storied come up that amounted to his new OWSLA EP.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. You’ve been a touring dummer since you were 13. How did drumming impact the transition to making electronic music?
I started drumming when I was six and eventually got into producing when I was 15. I had been listening to everything from hip-hop to death metal, dubstep to jazz. Once I got my chops up on producing after a few years, I started to combine all those genres into something that was exciting to me. The transition wasn’t that hard because I was just doing what I thought sounded cool. I never really labeled it as a “genre” though. But all those years of learning the drums, plus working in a bunch of different environments made producing a bit easier from the jump.
Diplo (among others) is on record as saying that Skrillex is one of the best drummers alive in the way that he understands and designs percussion. Working closely with him now, can you speak to that?
What’s really cool about Sonny’s music is that even when it’s not a percussive element, it’s still super rhythmic and has a ton of motion. Listening to his music is so fun when you’re a percussionist because you’re picking up on all the cadences of the way he chops vocals, to the way he programs his signature sounds. And even better…getting to watch his workflow a few times really opened up the way I program my sounds now.
We’d be hard pressed to find another instance in which a newly signed artist is first tasked with remixing pieces of the label’s existing discography. Was making Solstice stressful? Tell us a little bit about going through OWSLA’s discography for this EP.
It was definitely an unorthodox approach for a debut project, but I loved making it. Sonny knew I was good at chopping up samples, so he sent OWSLA’s full discography to me and I spent like five to six months creating all types of new tracks [with] them. I probably made [something] like 45 songs, but ended up only wanting to release four of them. I had a lot of time to myself in Los Angeles so I would go through, artist by artist, and just flip them over and over until I got something I really liked. We all thought it was just a cool concept.
Some projects experience trouble translating the studio output into a live performance; and a typical CDJ setup doesn’t really seem to align with your style. What would your ideal live performance hardware setup look like?
I try not to pigeon-hole myself with anything musically. I do spin a lot with just CDJ’s…but I think you’re right in the sense that I want my live show to be more than just that. Ideally, I would have CDJ’s, a Native Instruments Maschine MK3 and Jam, and an acoustic drum set, preferably a Gretsch. That way I could trigger a shit-ton of loops and be able to spazz out percussively on a few different mediums.
Sampling is obviously a huge part of your craft. How does hip-hop culture’s use of sampling inspire what you do? Who initially sparked that interest in you?
The 90’s boom-bap era is one of the defining reasons why I love music. I remember playing Tony Hawk’s Underground on my PS2 when I was younger and hearing “Low Class Conspiracy” by Quasimoto. That lead me to start listening to Madlib, and then from there came J Dilla, Pete Rock, etc. Watching these guys inspired me to get an MPC and to start flipping up records. I always loved older music, and music with soul, so the whole process of flipping up records quickly became my favorite thing to do.
2018 looks to be your breakout year and OWSLA feels like a fitting home for you. What’s next for OKO?
EKALI released the fifth episode in his Awakening mix series, getting particularly sentimental in this episode by kicking it off with a tribute remix to Avicii’s “Levels” by Laxcity. This sets the tone and sequence for the rest of the mix, given the major role emotive melodies play throughout the string of songs the OWSLA artist has selected for this edition.
Via Twitter, the Canadian producer expressed his anxieties about the darkness and chaos in his life and the world today. In response to this, Awakening, Vol. 5 was born, telling his fans this mix might be on the sadder side. The 42 minute stream certainly carries a melancholic vibe with beautiful harmonies, hugging synth ambiances, and sultry vocal arrangements. Artists represented on the mix are Droeloe, Kasbo, Mr. Carmack, Two Feet, Louis Futon, Porter Robinson, Illenium, and more.
Back in 2014, we saw Skrillex‘s career reach its first real peak with the release of his seminal debut album and the ensuing Mothership Tour that followed. But four years in dance music can feel more like an eternity, and since then, detours with Jack Ü and massive collaboration opportunities with some of the world’s biggest pop stars have generally occupied the majority of Skrillex’s creative output, leaving fans starved for any semblance of hope that a pick-up-where-Recess-left-off scenario might still occur. Rumors of a sophomore record have been circulating for some time now, most notably with Diplo spilling the beans in passing, but while we hold our collective breath waiting for that to materialize into anything substantial, we can still revisit the pinnacle of Recess-era Skrillex on the fourth anniversary of his famed Red Rocks Mothership performance.
From the moment the curtain drops in front of the life-sized spaceship rig, the OWSLA figurehead rattles Red Rocks Amphitheater with a full two hours of heavy bass essentials for what is undoubtedly one of Skrillex’s most memorable outings to date. A lot can change in four years, and in the life of an internationally renown global dance icon, four years probably feels more like eight. But something tells us were approaching something big from Skrillex, and a revisiting of his Red Rocks set might be the perfect primer.
Skrillex‘s OWSLA label is at it again with another strong signing of OddKidOut from West Philadelphia. The young producer moved to L.A. last year to work with the dubstep trendsetter turned label boss. Solstice EP was the result, which combined a multitude of samples from past OWSLA releases.
“Getaway” uses samples from Skrillex’s “Pretty Bye Bye” to create a chilled-out, electro, hip-hop vibe. The label also released a music video that has aesthetics similar to any major apparel brand: chic and cool. The colors are on point, and the music fits the look.
Josh Pan has undoubtedly become known for his unabashedly diverse soundscapes, and with his signature sultry vocals that he frequently graces tracks with. He carefully crafts his brand from the artwork, production, singing and songwriting, which allows him to uniquely tailor his messages on all platforms. His off-kilter style has been a fitting addition to Skrillex‘s LA-based artist collective, OWSLA.
Now, the emerging experimenter is bringing an hourlong showcase to Diplo and Friends with a mix that perfectly captures his personality and personal rotation. It’s not every day that a track list is composed completely of the artist’s music, which is a testament to Pan’s undeniable appeal as a creator. Josh Pan creatively pieces in elements from different pop songs, his own products, unreleased music and personal edits. Addictive percussion dances through the mix as Josh leads the adventure through a multitude of genres and sounds.
Hundred Waters have shared their first new music since last year’s Communicating LP, which found the band taking a deep dive into the intimate nature of their creation method and the struggle each of their personal connections to one another have endured as the band has evolved over the years. Now, the OWSLA-signed synth-folk trio has dropped off a new single, “Mushroom Cloud,” which was derived from the same studio sessions that led to their most recent album. The ballad is carried by weighty, melancholic piano chords and lead singer Nicole Miglis’ raw, expressive vocalizing, culminating into a cloud of textured white noise — appropriately setting the tone for the accompanying Communicating mini-documentary.
Releasing the new tour documentary between the band’s two Coachella appearances, and just a month ahead of their fifth annual FORM event, Communicating largely explores the six-year relationship between Miglis and her band mate and boyfriend Trayer Tryon. The relationship appears to be deteriorating as the band prepares to embark on a three-month road trip, with Tryon suggesting that Hundred Waters may even dissolve as a result upon their return home. Interestingly, the mini-doc is shot through a keyhole perspective, suggesting there’s more to the story than what meets the eye. And while Miglis, Tryon, and drummer Zach Tetreault have created a catalog of beautifully haunting electro-folk masterworks together at the expense of their now-strained relationships, perhaps Hundred Waters’ incredibly special run may sadly be nearing the end of its course.
Team EZY just released a remix of the Poo Bear-assisted Skrillex record, “Would You Ever.” With an effervescent approach and futuristic special effects, Team EZY adds a splash of color to the 2017 track.
Team EZY and Skrillex also collaborated on the 2016 track “Pretty Bye Bye” featuring NJOMZA, and the artist has even worked in the A&R division of Skrillex’s OWSLA label. Judging by the merits of this track, hopefully, it won’t be the last of their work together either.
After the release of their EP, Uh Oh!, and the conclusion of their second headlining tour, Canadian sibling duo Tennyson shared a new visual for “Cry Bird,” out now via OWSLA.
Using quippy CGI to illustrate the playful world the two have created, they unleash the second visual inspired by the song, following an animated reproduction of Luke and Tess’ dance moves put together through a collaboration of their fans.
“Cry Bird” is an off-kilter breed of electro-pop that is both catchy and daringly experimental, which plays off the use of everyday sounds, and equally assures Tennyson’s an act electronica fans ought to keep an eye on.