Interview: Opolopo

Opolopo is a Swedish music producer whose soul laced productions span sounds from house and disco to funk and boogie and mesh wonderfully and very musically somewhere in the ether. We caught up with him ahead of a very busy release schedule with EPs and a remix LP for three different labels as well as a sample CD at the end of summer to figure out what inspires him, get some pro tips, and talk about the difference between music and simply groups of sounds…

Oh Drat: How’s your day been?

Opolopo: It’s been good – I’m just messing around with video now…

“why would you care what you use or how you use it as long as the end results are there?”

OD: Oh okay, is that something you do quite often when it comes to music – looking at the whole in terms of video and so on?

O: Well I dunno… people posting things up on blogs and facebook and stuff like if there’s some kind of video footage to go with it, it’s more interesting for people and grabs their attention more. We don’t have the nice artwork and record sleeves anymore so we have to provide some other kind of visual eye candy, I guess!

OD: Is that something that always comes after the music is finished for you, or do the two ever work side by side, so to speak?

O: I’ve never really… I’ve been messing a little with it before but it’s always been like an afterthought I guess – ‘ this track would be nice if it had a little something extra to it’, it’s never been part of the initial process although that would be cool, I like cinematic stuff and I’d love to make music to moving images but in my case I guess it’s been the other way round.

OD: Gotcha. So, I hear when it comes to music you work entirely ‘in the box’?

O: Yeah, that’s true….

OD: In a way that’s surprising because of the style of sound you achieve, and also because many of your contemporaries (stylistically) seem to have a lot of outboard stuff – how do you approach doing things totally in the box?

O: Well… I find it quite amusing actually because there’s always a debate going on with the heads and gear geeks about analogue this and digital that, MP3 vs. vinyl and all that, and to a certain point I find that interesting too but really I can’t be bothered – to me it’s about the end product and what comes out, so why would you care what you use or how you use it as long as the end results are there? I used to use hardware like everybody else, synths and mixers and whatnot, but for me it was so liberating when the plugins actually started sounding good. In the beginning everything was kinda thin and aliasing but these days I find that if you use them right the plugins sound  really good and it makes me more creative because if I imagine something I know how to achieve it and it’s easy to do the automation stuff, and having everything in one project file so you can work on multiple projects at the same time, it’s so easy to just open up a project and everything is exactly where you left it. In the old days I used to take photos of my mixer and EQ settings if I ever needed to recall that mix and it’d take like three hours just to set up the damn track to work on it again (laughs). I really don’t miss that part, but what I do miss is the hands on feel of an analogue synth. If I could justify it economically I would buy every piece of gear available, just for inspiration if nothing else because that is still something different, touching, feeling something and it making an immediate sound when you twist a knob and all that.

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