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Interview: Opiuo

NH7 talks with Kiwi glitch hop artist Opiuo before his impending visit to India this weekend to play MTV’s Bloc Party in Mumbai.

14 Jan, 2013

Abhimanyu Meer


Kiwi glitch hop exponent Opiuo has been making waves in the bass music scene for a few years. Prior to his trip to India to play MTV’s Bloc Party this weekend, Opiuo talked to NH7 about his music, the bass music scene down under, and what he uses on stage and in studio to create his brand of funky-ass bass music.

NH7: In a world where mainstream bass music seems dominated by what is (allegedly) dubstep, do you feel like your brand of glitch hop is something that has crossover potential?
Opiuo: Absolutely. Music, for me, is about bringing together everything I love about music – soul, funk, rock, psychedelia. Bass music culture is very inclusive now. I’ve played parties for dubstep crowds, tech house crowds, pretty much a variety of people, and it definitely seems to be crossing over.

Your music seems influenced heavily by funk and soul music from the ’60s and ’70s. Is that the music you grew up listening to? What other music do you listen to nowadays?
Not at all actually. I grew up listening to more punk rock and reggae. I recently grew towards listening to funk and soul. But, I don’t listen to a lot of bass music. If I was listening too much to what I do, I wouldn’t be doing what I do.

What is bass music scene currently like in New Zealand and Australia?
It’s amazing. Right now, it’s still really young, and it’s really supportive of everything we want to do as artists. There’s no obligation to be tied down to a specific genre. And it seems like you can take this music anywhere, and everybody has room to be more experimental. We do get a lot of big international acts coming down because of our great summers, and that’s definitely helped promote bass music down here.

Check out this insane piece of work, ‘Ripple’ off Opiuo’s 2012 Butternut Slap Part 2 EP.

What kind of equipment do you use when you play live, and what are your go-to tools in the studio? 
When I’m playing live, I use a laptop running Ableton Live, a Yamaha DTX 12 Multi Pad (drum machine), an Access Virus analogue synthesizer, an iPad, and a couple of MIDI controllers to control and trigger effects. In the studio, I run everything off Logic Pro. I feel like Logic sounds better than Ableton in a studio setting, and that’s just me personally. I also use an Access Virus TI Polar Synth, and a Moog Voyager.

You clearly prefer playing live. Do you ever play DJ sets?
I haven’t for a long time (DJ sets), because I’ve been mainly playing live shows. Back in the day, I did play DJ sets because I didn’t have enough of my own music to play. Later on, after creating more music, I found it really hard to find other music that was even remotely like mine, so I just kept on creating. Nowadays, there’s a lot more music similar to mine. Playing live is what I prefer.

You’ve got a rather large following now, and you’re on your way to India to play a gig. How did all of this start out and come to fruition?
12 years ago, I went to a really big outdoor festival, and I heard electronic music for the first time on a big sound system. Two or three years later, I got myself a computer to do some design work, and to make music for fun. I realized pretty quickly that making music was amazing, making a song was an adventure. I started playing around more and more and realised I could actually do this, and being a drummer, this musicality was in-built. I like electronica because on a big sound system, it has power, it has the energy to transform people. You can dial out any sound you want. I’ve been touring all around the world recently, and I can’t wait to come to India. I’ve had so many friends go and they tell me crazy stories about it. It’s like a dream come true.

Opiuo will play the MTV Bloc Party in Mumbai on the weekend of  January 18 and 19, at the Juhu Hotel, Mumbai. Buy tickets here. Stay tuned for more interviews with MTV Bloc Party artists and a preview in the run up to the massive weekend.  And check out another bomb dot com Opiuo track below.

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