Most kids today are accustomed to seeing DJs twirl around on stage with their hands in the air under bright lights and laser beams, and OddKidOut’s physical dexterity is a deft reminder that form and function are now more critical than ever.
Drumming since the age of six, OddKidOut joined Philly’s acclaimed School of Rock at age 11. By 13 he was on tour and began producing music 2 years later. Other feats include: holding studio time with Grammy Award-winning producer David Ivory, soul singer Jaguar Wright, and members of Digable Planets. Blowing Skrillex’s mind to smithereens by way of a self-made YouTube video and ultimately becoming his protégé, which he credits as his “proudest professional achievement.” And most recently, his Solstice EP via OWSLA that saw him sample records from the label’s discography and recreate them into tracks of his own. Tunes like Skrillex & Poo Bear’s “Would You Ever,” Skrillex & Team EZY’s “Pretty Bye Bye,” Yogi’s “Money On My Mind” with Juicy J, and Tennyson’s “Cry Bird” and “Your Face Tastes Like My Happy Place.” If you have not yet heard it, it is beautiful, ambitious and just one reason why Philly producer OddKidOut deserves to be on your radar…
The kid’s a performer and bangs on Maschine like NAS rocks a mic. He’s on a mission to bridge the divide between underground and mass appeal. “I want to be the gap in the chain that plays music that gets people hype, but also pushes them to elevate themselves from an artistic perspective,” says OddKidOut. The plan is coming together.
We had the opportunity to chat with OddKidOut on the heels of his Solstice EP. We talked cannabis and creativity. Enjoy…
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
Environment is everything. Not so much in the way that it dictates the type of music that I make, but rather just puts me in the mood to be as creative as possible. I could make a super hard dubstep track sitting on the dock of a peaceful lake, or make an ambient track in the middle of a busy subway station. I just need to be comfortable (sitting or standing), feel like I can tune out from the rest of the world (easy with headphones) and just feel safe and unbothered. I produce in Ubers all the time.
What was your last creative block like?
I had writers block when I first moved back to Philly from LA. Back to our environment convo, the biggest issue for me is getting comfortable in one spot and then packing up and going to another. I had trouble producing simply because I didn’t feel normal in my space yet and I was overwhelmed with trying to make it my new home. Once I got more comfortable with where I was, the inspiration and the desire to produce came back to its normal state.
Are you impulsive with your work?
It depends. If I’m working on a project or a remix, I will sketch out what I’m gonna do beforehand. I do this so that everything is cohesive and makes sense. On the other hand, if I’m looking to find inspiration for a project with no concept, or just want to make a beat for the fun of it, I smoke and let my imagination run wild with sounds that I would usually not use.
What’s your relationship with cannabis?
I like it lot, but I’m not a heavy smoker. I’ll partake maybe half the week and only a bowl or two when I do. Is that considered a heavy smoker? I don’t know. I like to take small hits throughout the day that keep me elevated. I usually only smoke if I’m doing something creative or hanging out with people who just want to vibe. Otherwise, I like to stay sober.
How did you discover Mezz?
My manager George put me on to you guys a few months ago and we’ve been talking about it ever since. I fell in love with your mission statement because it’s something I’ve always tried to convince my suburban-ass environment as a kid… that weed can be used to your advantage and it doesn’t make you a couch potato.
Outside of music, where else do you look for inspiration—films, art, books, literature, etc.?
My biggest inspiration usually comes from visual arts. Whether it’s a film, a documentary, or a visualizer… I like to pair eyes with ears. The last thing that inspired me was a Chad Muska documentary. Obviously the guy is a beast, but they told the story of how he was not smart with his money and got sucked into the Hollywood party lifestyle. I sat down after watching it and made a beat called “Ignant” which was a trap beat that had super soulful samples over it. To me, it represented the idea that you can be popular and in the limelight without being an asshole. Also FYI, I don’t think Chad Muska is an asshole.
What keeps you on your toes?
My peers. I hear amazing music from people that are younger, the same age, and older than me. When I fall in love with a song, there’s a small portion of me that’s like “fuck I need to get on this level”. It pushes me to be better all the time, and makes me appreciate hard work even more.
Is an artist just someone who does something better than most? What does being an artist mean to you?
Artistry has nothing to do with being the best. That doesn’t always matter. It’s more about how you convey your message and your art, and how unique you are in doing so. Also, having a strong brand that people can identify with is almost as important to your success as your musical talent. Being an artist is someone who has a stance on life, someone who fights against the normalcy of the world, they create a safe-haven for other’s to confide in and they never are fueled by fame or money, but rather by pushing culture forward and disrupting what the world tells us is right.
Who are some of your cultural heroes?
The real heroes are everyday people who choose to be nice and do the right thing when they get the opportunity to do so…
Best thing so far for you in 2018?
Getting a million views on one of my tracks. That’s been a goal of mine for a while so it felt nice to hit that milestone.
What should everyone shut the fuck up about?
Religion and politics.