Before The Music Interview Series – Obayashi
For those who don’t know you personally, can you explain your alias?
My alias is just my last name. A lot of people don’t believe me when I say that, which is kind of funny. I didn’t know what else to use as an alias, so I went with my last name. I grew up with people calling me Obayashi – they could never spell it worth shit.
What is Priss Collective?
Priss Collective is a collective of all female DJs and Producers. It started way back in the day with Julliette and Tinkfu. They started it as a was to create equality for females in the industry. There is such a small percentage of females that make up the industry regardless of what role they play. It’s basically a good way for female DJs and Producers to feel empowered.
How did you get involved with Priss Collective?
I originally met Casanova when I worked at iVape. She came in when I was a little bedroom DJ. We started talking about music and I mentioned I had recently got into DJing. We got to know one another a bit more after that. She told me Priss Collective was thinking about putting on a show and wanted me to send her a mix. I made them a brand new personal one and they booked me for the show. That’s how I initially met everyone in Priss Collective. I played a few more shows of theirs and they ended up asking me to join.
Since they are hosting events, are they also a production company?
Not really, we do more takeovers than anything else, kind of pop up takeovers vs a full on production. I mean I could probably buy some strobe lights, but I don’t know how far that will get me.
Sometimes minimal production is cooler than trying to go all out, but not really having the budget to do so.
That’s where I would like to move to. More minimal and focused on the music itself than a huge stage. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a huge production where there’s fire and lasers everywhere. Like fuck yeah, I want to do that, that’s awesome. I’m usually on the outside perspective looking up at this tiny little person up there and all this shit happening around them. However, I love the concept of a show being very minimal and dark. That’s even what I went for at my last show, direct support for Malaa. I got to Sky early and told the stage crew I wanted it to feel underground and dark for my set. I’m also a little self conscious about myself. Being up there with lights directly on you is a bit nerve racking. Ultimately I wanted to bring a darker feel to things, where you feel like you are indulging in your experience.
Being a fan of the more underground side of things, are you more inclined to play underground shows?
I feel like a good combo of both underground and big productions. Everything is a different experience on my end. I played Get Lucky this year which was the first and first festival I’ve played. It was insane. You stand up there and you’re like “I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.” You know? I guess I’d lean a bit more towards being able to create that underground feel. At the same time I want well rounded opportunities.
Speaking of well rounded opportunities, you just played Scrapefest. How was that?
I’m friends with Joe, which is one of the guys who runs Scrapefest. We were joking one time about me DJing and he ended up wanting to do it. Cars are dope and I’ve never done anything like that before. It’s probably one of those things I probably wouldn’t do that often.
What kind of music did you play for Scrapefest?
Not gonna lie, I just gave people house music. I played the Wax Motif Tokyo Drift remix. You could see people kind of looking around when it came on. Anyway, those events are probably where you should DJ more open format, I just don’t do that. It’s not that I can’t, I just don’t. It’s not what I enjoy, it’s not fun for me. I played house music and nobody complained.
What can you tell me about your new EP?
I played a song at Sky called ‘Brand New Spaceship.’ I’ve remade that motherfucker six times. I start out with one idea like “Sick I like that.” Then I hate everything. I kept the bassline and vocals, but everything else I changed. It’s going to be kind of a Techno/Tech House EP with an Alien theme. I’m calling it ‘The Space Travelers EP.’ I’m going to have a full into for it with an old school news report of a ufo sighting. The first track is called ‘Is This Real’ and will be a very kick heavy Techno song. Maybe it will be three or four tracks long; I haven’t decided. I have one track finished, one half way done, and one I need to start.
When will the EP be released?
I set a deadline to be finished with it by the end of November. I’ll then send it off for mastering and release it at the beginning of next year. I’m going to try to push it out to some labels, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll try sending it to some artists directly. Maybe it can get some plays that way. I don’t have a problem self releasing; it gives me freedom to do things when I want. But, I feel like my main goal is to make quality tracks so I can get signed by a label.
How long have you been making music?
Probably this entire year is when I started diving deep into it. I played around with it before, but didn’t really understand it. Basically the beginning of this year is when I committed to it.
Do you have a specific mentor?
I get a lot of help from SHSTR and Malixe; they help out a lot. I’ll hit up Zendlo too. Sometimes I’ll hit him up for feedback. He’s a solid, humble dude and never makes me feel like I am bothering him with questions. Casanova has helped a lot as well, especially when I first started.
Touching back on your last show, what was more stressful, Malaa or Get Lucky?
Malaa. Malaa was more intense. He and Tchami are the reasons I got into House music. I started with Tchami because Malaa didn’t have anything out at that time. I’ve played at Sky before, but playing a sold out Therapy show is a whole new experience. Especially when the club is packed top to bottom for your set. I had a lot more original content in my Malaa set too. I only had one of my own tracks in my Get Lucky set. Since then my thing is thing is to always make sure I have at least one new song of mine to play at Sky. This time I even had a full intro, followed up with a track I have with Malixe. I think I played another four tracks that were mine. I’m slowly getting up there. To be playing my own music and see a positive crowd response from it is pretty empowering. I think it was more nerve racking because I’m trying to create the whole ‘In Control with Obayashi’’ thing.
What is In Control with Obayashi?
Basically this is where I lead things back to the underground feel. Everything is pretty dark. All you have is the music and the people around you. It’s not as much focused on the visuals. I feel I have full control in the scenario. I’m in control of the vibe. I’m literally in control of people’s heart rate. I have had a lot of feedback and hear people are vibing with it a lot. I want to create a new experience. Like G Jones, he basically brainwashes you live.
I noticed some Obayashi visuals during your set at Sky. Do you have someone you with exclusively for those?
What you saw was work from Haili who does i_o’s visuals. He mentioned on twitter that he had some extra time and was offering professional visuals. I took advantage of the situation and asked him to make me some.
I heard one of your friends flew out from Denver to see your set at Sky
Yeah I had no idea that was happening. One of my friends at work told me she knew something I didn’t know. I texted my girlfriend and asked what the secret was, but she didn’t tell me. I figured they were probably going to make a sign with my girlfriends tits on them or something. I mean, that’s cool too, but not what happened. I walked outside of Sky and saw my friend standing there next to my girlfriend. She bought her ticket to the show, flew out, and then flew home three hours after I was done playing. She also drive through a snowstorm in Wyoming to come to my Get Lucky set.
What can you tell me about your quote “This is the Chevy of vacuum cleaners?”
Oh man, how do you know that? My roommate, Savy, has been gathering these terrible vacuum cleaners. We had one of those shitty $20 Walmart vacuums and that thing was awful. So she ended up getting a new vacuum cleaner and I ended up saying “Yo this is the Chevy of vacuum cleaners.” It was just one of those stupid, but funny things.
What is something you are proud of, but don’t have a reason to talk about publicly?
Probably the fact that I don’t party like I used to. I’m pretty sober for the most part. I was always known for how hard I partied. I’m at a point now where I’ll refuse shorts and whatnot. I might have a drink occasionally, but don’t have a desire to party like I used to. It was something that negatively affected my life. I didn’t have any control over myself. I’m proud of myself for being alive at this point, as cheesy as that may sound. When you struggle with addiction, getting to a point where you are comfortable with being sober is cool. I didn’t like the feeling of not being able to have fun without it. Another thing that hit me hard to was with Erica and her wife, Celeste. I had a real bad night about a year ago. I was super fucked up and only remember this part of the conversation. They were telling me I had to take a step back and take a look at myself. People that don’t know you see what you are doing and look up to you. I don’t want to represent myself that way. I don’t want people to look at me and think “She’s doing cool stuff and she’s doing this so it must be okay.”
If we were to end this interview and you found a winning lottery ticket for 500 million, what would you spend the money on?
I would buy my mom and dad a house. I would probably spoil my family, buy more Weiner dogs, and build a fat studio. I’d also want to donate money to music programs for those less fortunate, kind of like what Skrillex recently did in South Africa. I’d also like to be able to go grocery shopping without looking at the price of a bag of shredded cheese, that shits expensive.
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Ethan Freeman – V2 Presents Intern