By Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER – “After my last album, Omniversal, I just went for it and made whatever music I wanted to,” muses innovative bass-music artist Oscar Davey-Wraight, famously known as Opiuo. “I didn’t have an idea of how or when I would release it but I knew I didn’t want to be restricted by the traditional album format. I tried new tempos, brought some new synths, I loved the freedom to really make what I wanted on this one. I took my time, flew to places like New Orleans to record horns and guitars, mixed the record in various locations, and just had as much fun with it is as I could.”
SYZYGY 01 is the most recent EP from Davey-Wraight. Known for his experimental blend of glitch-hop, future-funk, and a plethora of other genres, the New Zealand-born, Australia-based producer has explored out-of-this-world elements to create an atmospheric new cut, the first of an upcoming concept-EP series. By definition, the word “syzygy” means “a conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon and sun,” which, in many ways, fits with the vibrancy of the record.
“The meaning [of the title] plays into the relationship between the music itself, the listener, and myself as well,” Davey-Wraight explains. “It’s about the push and pull of music in all our lives. I love how powerful it is. SYZYGY 02 is almost complete, but I’m not rushing it, so who knows when it’s going to actually make it out?”
SYZYGY 01 is a psychedelically enhanced space exploration through soundscape. The album serves video game-esque ethereal synths alongside spacey 1980s disco-party grooves and robotic drops. The fourth track, “Boogie Latch” is the most traditional Opiuo selection of the bunch, re-engaging his famous future-funky sound. “Dalmations” opens with a jazzy sax solo that leads into a dark, mechanical synth rhythm complemented with melodic leads, building into a magnum opus. The record’s final piece, “Dalmations” is undoubtedly one of Opiuo’s most mature offerings since hitting the scene.
On the themes of space and psychedelia, Opiuo shares how these subjects have affected him as a musical artist.
“I definitely had many years when I was younger experimenting with various psychedelics,” Davey-Wraight admits. “It helped open the mind to what’s really possible, removing us from the premise that any one of us is any more important than the other. Helping understand we’re all in this together, and we all have the power to change not only ourselves, but those around us for the better. So, yes, it has definitely had an influence on me.”
Our universe is also a point of great interest for the producer. He was asked on his opinion on alien life, and whether or not they have their own forms of music on their home planets.
“I believe in anything that is possible. I think there are other lifeforms for sure, but the chance that they are even remotely close to us at the very same time that we are here on this rock for this incredibly small amount of time relative to space time, to me is almost impossible. I’m not saying it’s not possible, because anything is possible, but I do not think we have neighbours that look or feel or act anything like us. I cannot wait to be proven wrong,” Davey-Wraight states. “Being that we live on a planet with a very fragile and unique atmosphere, and that music is purely air particles moving in a particular way, changed by temperature and wind, interpreted by our extremely interesting ear drums, I think that their sound mechanisms and therefor music response would be infinitely different to ours. Maybe though, they would dance like crazy to what we do here on this flying rock… As I said, anything is possible. Space is never ending. I have no idea what is out there, and I love that. The fact that it is bigger than we can possibly comprehend is what makes it so exciting.”
In terms of his upcoming tour, Opiuo concludes:
“I will be touring a new fully live solo set up with synths, drum machines, visual lighting components. I’ve been having insane amounts of fun diving deep into what’s possible with live shows recently, and I love the dramatic feelings you can create with the ability to transform music on the spot.”
Opiuo plays Celebrities Nightclub on May 5.Bass, Celebrities Nightclub, EDM, Opiuo, Underground Hip-Hop