Pic by Marcello Ambriz

INTERVIEW: obli

Hi obli, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me, overall I’ve been good!  A tough year for sure especially as a musician not being able to tour etc. but I think being able to stay creative and having things to work on from home and in the studio helps.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Hold It”?

Yes, it was a song that I started working on during quarantine. My now wife and I were mostly seeing just each other but we had one friend who we would go see every other weekend or so and we would have some really fun dance nights. We would all DJ a little or put on playlists and I wanted to have a song that would fit in with those nights. I also think when you find a good vocal sample like that song has it sparks good ideas right away and it’s easier to put a tune together.

The single comes off your new EP Change – what’s the story behind the title?

There’s a song on the EP called Change that I have had around for awhile. It’s gone through many different versions but it always had this lyric “I didn’t know I could change, hang on to me”. For many reasons this always felt really important to me with what I have gone through in life in the last 3-4 years with a lot of change happening to me personally. Felt right to title the EP after that song.

How was the recording and writing process?

I do almost everything on my laptop. I use actual synthesizers and guitars and things but a lot of the work is done in Ableton which is the program I first learned to make electronic music on. The process varies from idea to idea. Sometimes I will start by playing guitar or keys and coming up with a chord arrangement or melodic idea, sometimes a drum loop or pattern will spark an idea and sometimes just hearing a great vocal sample will take me somewhere.  I never quite know what that thing will be but I feel like I always have a recognition of the thing when I hear it.  I have many times taken an idea to completion to realize it’s not the best thing I could do and I’ll strip it all away except for the one thing like a melody, drum part, vocal sample etc. that keeps bringing me back and write a whole new idea around that part.  It really helped having a label involved this year as it gave me more of a sounding board for ideas and it helped having other opinions.  Making music on your own can be wonderful but at the end of the day music is meant to be shared and talked about with your friends and I love talking music with the  team at FFC.

What role does LA play in your music?

I’m not sure that LA plays much of a role in my music making process.  I think I am more influenced by the space I am recording in and what instruments I have at my disposal.  I do have a community of musicians and friends here and being able to hear what they are working on and to play them what I am working on is always inspiring.

How has Aphex Twins and Autechre influenced your writing?

Before I moved to LA I met Sonny Moore (Skrillex) and eventually played in a band with him for about 2 years.  Sonny and some of his friends exposed me to electronic music for the first time.  I was such a “rock” dude that was from the midwest that I had never heard any electronic music really.  Sonny played me Aphex Twin and Autechre, Aphex was definitely and I think still is his favorite and it blew me away.  I think that experience and discovery has always stuck with me even as I have found other dance and electronic artists that I have gotten into.

How would you say your background on other genres like rock influences your current work?

I think I still approach music the same way I did even when I was more into guitar and rock music.  I want to make something that feels unique and feels like me.  That can be hard to define but I know it when I feel it and hear it.  Even when I was kid and was writing riffs on a guitar I would keep messing with a riff until I felt like I got somewhere “new” and felt that if I played that riff for someone else that it would turn their head.  I’m glad that my musical influences are wide and varied, I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t look down on any type of music anymore – I love it all and love the people that pursue it.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Well most of the “lyrics” or vocals are samples that I have chopped up.  I don’t think about songs too often from a lyrical perspective usually more from an emotional one, but I think it would be cool to dig into that moving forward with new obli material and hopefully working with more vocalists.

What else is happening next in obli’s world?

Like most of the musical community I am waiting for the world to resume where shows can safely happen again.  I miss shows so much.  I’m really excited to try and figure out what obli will be like live so looking I’m forward to that.  Other than that there should be some more remixes I have gotten a chance to work on coming out soon and hoping for more new original material in 2020 as well. 

STREAM EP HERE

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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