Next up in our Gamechanger series we have the young American trap producer Ookay: a man who’s not afraid to take a risk and really challenge himself as an artist, exploring his creativity and not getting too comfortable in sticking to what he knows.
Released last week on Dim Mak, his Ghost EP explores many different sounds and styles but remains wholly consistent. We had the chance to talk about the EP and what’s coming up next and found ourselves compiling a list of every reason why you should keep an eye on this guy.
Cop Ghost now: smarturl.it/ghost_
One time I got a pizza in Nashville that had pepperoni spelling Ookay on it, I cried.
He’s pushing the boundaries with his fans to show them a deeper side to his music
“The whole purpose of the EP was to really push the boundaries. I’ve dabbled with house and moombahton in the past as Ookay just to see how the fans would react to something other than trap and some were pretty open, some were not. But of course that always happens; a lot of people aren’t going to like change and it’s understandable. You fall in love with an artist because of their sound and then they try to change that. But what I wanted to do was keep my personality and keep my style as far as the sound changes to still sound like Ookay.
There’s still some stuff that people are still trying to process like Ghost because it’s more melodic than stuff I’ve done in the past, same with Matters and Dafuq, all the tracks on the EP are very different from each other so they all have their own individuality which is really what I wanted to get at.
The theme was to have more of a personal journey through my mind and what kind of music I want to make. I wanted people to really connect with me through this EP. I think it’s important to dance and think and have feelings. Every track is different and each track brings different emotions.”
He acknowledges the ones who have watched him grow since the start
“Kennedy Jones and I have watched each other grow since day one. I remember two or three years ago he was MCing this trap show I was closing and I actually played one of his songs not knowing it was him. Afterwards he was like, ‘hey man loved your set. We’re starting a team with Buygore and want you to be a part of it.’ Obviously I was all aboard! So we’ve watched each other grow from day one and I guess that’s why we have a really good connection and we really understand each other when we still play now.
Prior to EDC Orlando, I hadn’t seen him for like two or three months and right when we got to the festival grounds, that’s when we really started talking about what was going to be our first song. We did what we did at EDC Vegas and prior festivals, we just wing it, and that works for us. It was more like a showcase of what we’ve been playing out recently. We’ve been friends for a while, so we wanted to do that this year and really just help each other out and support each other. It’s like a huge high five for both of us.
We’re at a point where really anyone can DJ, and it’s like you don’t even have to DJ to be a DJ. That’s the unfortunate way things are going. So I think performance is a key element now as an artist.
He’ll make you high five strangers
“The high five thing–I think it’s a great icebreaker, especially for people around each other. I mean you’re dancing next to people you have no idea who they are you might as well get acquainted at least. It’s just a fun thing; I think interacting with the crowd is really important with a DJ otherwise there’s just this invisible wall between you and the fans.
We’re at a point where really anyone can DJ, and it’s like you don’t even have to DJ to be a DJ. That’s the unfortunate way things are going. So I think performance is a key element now as an artist. It’s not just how cool your visuals are or what songs you’re playing, it needs to go beyond that and you need to stand out from who plays before you and who plays after you and really shine. Crowd interaction is really important; otherwise you’re just another set on the festival line up.
I also think it’s good to be active on social media and let your fans know that you’re doing well and that their support is really affecting you as an artist. That’s why we’ve started these fun YouTube videos that showcase behind the scenes and what I’m doing. We try to make it funny and as attention grabbing as possible. Kind of like super ADD, crazy graphics and loud noises all the time. A lot of fans get to see themselves in the videos too which I think is really important. It also entices people to bring me pizza to shows, one time I got a pizza in Nashville that had pepperoni spelling “Ookay” on it, I cried. People will even make me pizza inspired kandi, which is so cool.”
Expect serious experimentation as he tours on the Buygore Show…
“There is going to be a lot of experimenting because there are shows every day. I know for sure I’m going to get bored of hearing my set over and over again, not that it’s the same every time but I guess the song selections can only be limited when you’re playing everyday. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to try new songs and play new things that I normally wouldn’t play and really see what works on the dance floor. Because we’ll all be on the bus together so I’ll have a lot of time to just be on my laptop producing tracks and edits and remixes or whatever. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.
Borgore likes the fact that I was trying to do something different. He thought it was awesome to be more flexible and really grow the genres out that can be released as a Buygore artist and with Dim Mak. He’s proud of me, you know he was one of the first people to really pick me up and give me support. We’re working on a new song together that actually has me singing on it. You’re the first person to know that. On the EP the song Matters is me singing. That was the first time I got to sing on a song, I actually wanted a vocalist but I ran out of time. So I got drunk enough to get confident and sing on the track, and that’s what happened.”
He’s got widescreen vision…
“I really want to direct a music video, maybe next year. And I really want to do an album. I want to take time and really just focus on that and not on remixes and free tracks, really sit in the studio and make something special. I really want to produce for pop artists too. And I want do movie scores and actually work with an orchestra. I really want to just try as much stuff as possible and see how far as an artist I can get. I really want to push myself to the point where I can do whatever I want.
I think Borgore has really transcended as an artist from just being a dubstep DJ to really making whatever he wants as well. Especially big room house, he GENUINELY loves big room house, he’s not trying to ride a train he’s just in love with it.
And Diplo. He has so many outlets open to him; especially having a label like Mad Decent that’s so open to different types of music. Artists that support other artists are people that I look up to. Because I was one of those artists that was in a bedroom and waiting for that moment and artists like Diplo and Asaf and Skrillex and Showtek really gave me that shine I needed to get my music to a broader audience.”
Ookay will be starting the Buygore Show tour alongside Borgore and Jauz starting January 15th. Tour dates and tickets available here.