Think elegant violins, think dramatic marching drums, think distorted vocals. Throw these all together with electronic embellishments and a sprinkling of the neoclassical and you have obylx. The future-bass producer has just released his latest track, ‘Flicker’ via Guise Records, heralding the approach of his new album, Twice. The album will be fully shared on Friday the 13th, just in time to embrace any theatrics that may occur.
Based in Bristol, UK obylx previously released his full-length album, Once last year. Since January 2018, he has marked the beginning of each month with a release. Taking these tracks along with the release of his first album, obylx has gifted his listeners with a staggering 37 songs in the space of 24 months.
We decided to sit down with Oliver Johnson, the man behind the pseudonym in our exclusive interview below
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
I grew up listening to a lot of the Beatles, Stevie Wonder & Bowie… Those were really the first times I got goosebumps listening to music. As I got older, I found that people like Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and Gorillaz were also giving me goosebumps but more from noises and how it sounded. I guess that was an appreciation of the production.
Give us a sense of the music scene where you are based.
In Bristol (UK) it’s great. all sorts of music everywhere, spoilt for choice really!
What key pieces of software/gear are you using to define your sound? *
I work in logic mostly using plugins and virtual instruments… I’m a big fan of native instruments and arturia alongside UAD plugins. I find their quality means that I can focus more on the writing elements initially. I also use an Oberheim matrix-1000 & proteus orchestral for some analog sounds.
What are some of your key musical influences?
Bowie, Radiohead, Grandaddy, J Dilla, Gorillaz, Kanye, Beatles… I could go on for about 2 weeks
You’re currently using obylx as means to chronicle self-discovery. What have been some of your highlights of self-discovery?
The main thing I’ve learnt is how to express myself through writing. When I used to feel sad or worried about something, I would let it consume me. Like everyone else, I still get all of that of course but I feel I can write about it. It’s like I can turn it into a physical thing, which I can go back to and understand how I was feeling at that point. It doesn’t solve any of the problems but it does help me deal with it… it’s like a form of therapy. It’s taught me to embrace any emotions and celebrate it as part of being human.
What is your personal favourite track from your upcoming album, Twice?
As the majority of the album has been released each month of the year, I’ve had the joy of allowing each one to be my favourite in that given month. I think overall though ‘Let Go’ has to be my favourite as it means so much to me. I do also really like ‘Onwards’ as a final track, it feels like a positive yet reflective big step leading into 2020 🙂
What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?
The internet is really useful for accessing information and learning new things. Any plugin or sound I want is just at my fingertips. It is also really nice to get to and from around the world. Besides being a pretty big distraction sometimes, overall it is definitely a massive help for the creative process.
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
I would like to keep making music until I die, I feel that would be a great achievement. I’d like to be able to look back and be pleased that I’d be leaving some music for future generations that wouldn’t have existed without me. As far as I’m concerned, each day that I get to make music is a success for me.
If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist of your choice, who would it be?
I would love to work with Rick Rubin.
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
I’m excited to go into 2020 and continue with the track a month thing. As it stands, I only have January’s track written so I really can’t wait to see what else is written. the only thing you can expect is new music each month!