One of the bands we’ll be welcoming back to Rockopelli is OBY, a collective of a dozen musicians with non-traditional style of music. OBY combines a DJ with a rhythm section to create a sound they call “Big Band/Hip Hop.” Chris Peters got a chance to talk to the band about their sound, their process and their goals for the future. Don’t forget to check out OBY on the Rockopelli stage June 15th at 6:25 p.m.
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
My mom put me in drum lessons when I was 4. By the age of 9 I was playing drums in church (I’m a pastor’s kid). Those are my earliest memories playing in front of people.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I had sort of an idea I wanted to do it my whole life. I had a full ride to study engineering and turned it down to study music after an open house at the college. I was 17 at the time.
Back to music, I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you produce?
I try my best to write about whatever I’m going through at the moment. The themes, textures, styles, etc. change as I do. Whatever I’m learning goes into the art. I love riddles, storytelling and wordplay. Everything from the song name to its key fit in the story as a whole. I would describe my music as “adventurous, witty and nostalgic.”
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
My musical influences span from Hiatus Kaiyote to the Jonas Brothers, Snarky Puppy to Zaytoven, Childish Gambino to Zedd. I try my best to be a sponge and soak it all in. I think that relays during my live shows.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into that. Are you someone who always has to write by yourself or do you like collaborating with others?
Collaborating when I create is new to me. I’m used to coming into rehearsal with an entire song and giving the band freedom to play around with it. As I’ve become more of a producer I’ve been collaborating on song creation a lot more. I’m producing a few artists records which is strictly collaborative. My own art is still pretty isolated. I take a long time to write. I pace around the house and mumble. I love putting puzzles in my lyrics. I’m also pretty distracted. All of these make It a little uncomfortable to bring someone into that process - although I’m hoping to start that soon.
What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
Grammy’s in 5.