Another day, another guest post here on FatKidOnFire. Michael recently hit me up with an article idea he had and suggested it might have a home here on FKOF and, after reading it, I couldn’t have agreed with him more…
There are many things Holland is known for. Besides the tulips, there are windmills and of course the (now in)famous weed policy. When it comes to EDM, this tiny country has been responsible for bringing some of the most influential DJs of our time.
Dubstep was introduced as early as 2004 and slowly but surely caught a foothold. Being quite densely populated, Holland seems to make up for its relatively small size. New musical influences spread quite effectively and, gradually, the dubstep scene has grown in both depth and variety.
© Ali Mousavi
Obey is a name that has been ringing a lot of bells lately – as a clothing brand, but also as a dubstep artist. Through a string of successful bookings on established nights, Obey has been climbing the ranks rather quickly. We caught up with him to discuss the story behind his name, his music and a bunch of other things. Read on…
Where do you get your inspiration from (aside from music)? Seeing other people grow and accomplishing goals gives me inspiration and motivation to do so myself. I also really enjoy modern design, but that doesn’t really give me inspiration music-wise.
Holland has seen you taking a big leap forward in the recent months. What do you think are the most important factors that made this possible (and why)? To be honest there is one major factor… That is Cisco Chicano, the CEO of Access FM.
A while after I had bought my DJ gear, a friend of mine named Lucas Kosters noticed one of my recorded sets online and linked them to Cisco. At this point, Cisco offered me to join Access FM for a weekly show. Obviously I took the offer and began doing live sets there on Sundays.
As time progressed I became much better at mixing. The promoters noticed it too. This resulted in my first official booking on Fyah back in early 2012. Cisco also decided to start a booking agency and invited me to join – he has done much for me. I can’t really thank him enough!
What is your opinion on where dubstep currently is and could be going in 2013? I see a lot of people complaining about what’s happening to the dubstep scene. I do think it will turn out ok eventually though, but only time can tell.
As long as people put their heart and soul in their productions there is hope, even if you don’t like the tracks that some producers make. People in Holland have this saying; ‘There is a lid for every jar’.
Have you got any upcoming releases or bookings you can tell us about? What are your plans for the next few months? I’m playing during Paaspop at the Oi! stage on the 31st of March, my first festival booking for 2013. Something I’m really excited about obviously!
Currently I’m really busy with my final exams. After that I’m planning to take a year off from school and completely focus on my production skills. I’m almost done with school so I suggest you keep an eye out for what’s coming!
How did you come up with the name Obey? Many people seem to associate it with the streetwear brand. Was this your intention in the first place? What’s the story? Before I became more serious at DJing, I played at small parties in Zaandam. A non-profit organisation for starting artists called De Fik organised nights there. All of this took place in an old factory…
At one point a fire destroyed the whole building. Equipment they worked so hard for and invested their own money in… It was gone. We DJs couldn’t just stand there and do nothing – so we decided to organize a charity event to raise money for De Fik.
We also decided to make our own tracks that we would sell on a compilation CD. I had never made a tune in my whole life – I didn’t even have an artist name! Obviously I had to pick a name, else I would just be labelled as ‘untitled producer’. I decided to pick Obey as a name. Yes, based on the brand, but also because it’s a really strong name with real attitude. I never knew that it would become this big! Everything went really fast.
© Randy Isaak
How did you find out about dubstep? Wow, this was a long time ago, about 5 years or so. I still remember it well! At the time I was working at a fast food restaurant and delivering food by moped. One day, the manager on shift was counting the money and he was playing a kind of music I had never heard before. You know that moment, when you see something really fast and after that you look away and then you immediately look back? That happened right there.
I had never heard anything like this before. In those days I used to listen to drum & bass, oldschool hip-hop and even gabba from time to time. When I heard this music he played I swear to god my heart skipped a beat. I asked him what this music was and he replied “this is dubstep man.” I think he was playing ‘Jahova‘ by Caspa & Rusko. I will never forget that day.
You often represent filth these days. What motivated you to make that your focus? I’ve been listening to dubstep for a long time. I liked the harder side of dubstep, but when Skrillex and all those guys came along – that then disappeared completely. Then I found that new sound I was looking for. It was different. Hard, yet it had characteristics of the older dubstep, as in a somewhat deeper sound. I think it’s the perfect combination of the harder and deeper sides of dubstep. That’s why I enjoy it so much and play it so often.
What do you think differentiates between the ‘best’ DJs and the good ones? To be honest I don’t really think there is a ‘best’ DJ. You can distinguish yourself from other DJs by putting something extra in your sets. Shiverz for instance, by using extreme technical skills, he chops up songs and is able to make completely new tunes. Those are the things that make you stand out.
A good DJ should always be prepared to play something different than what he or she has planned. For example, if you prepare a track list in advance of a gig, but the crowd doesn’t feel those tunes. You should always be able to switch up to whatever pleases the crowd. I also think you should be able to dream the tunes you play. Knowing your tunes inside out makes you flexible as a DJ.
Every decent DJ has certain tunes that are “nuclear weapons.” If you would choose two, which ones would it be and why? Haha, how about you come and see for yourself!
Any shoutouts you would like to do in conclusion to this interview? Yes, shoutouts to the whole Access FM crew. Also the Monsters family – and to all my fans!
Obey’s recently given one of his tunes away online. You can find the download below or stream from the SoundCloud widget below:
Click to DOWNLOAD
Thanks to Michael for the brilliant interview and Obey for the brilliant answers! If you want to write for FKOF – or have an article you’d like to pitch, get in touch.