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New York City and thoughts of mortality with Opiuo

The Australian-based DJ muses on the loss of a childhood icon ahead of his GLC gig



Oscar Davey-Wright is taking a little time off in New York City.

Better known by his electronic music moniker Opiuo, the Melbourne-based New Zealand DJ and producer just played a hot gig at Slake in Manhattan, and is taking a time out before heading to Whistler for a night of music at the Garibaldi Lift Company on June 16. And after that, he's off to England to perform two shows at Glastonbury for the first time.

"I'm in the middle of a crazy five-month tour. It's brilliant. New York was last weekend and it was a crazy packed room, the most insane show I've had here. New York is quite a hard market so I was stoked," he says.

"It's the most spread-out tour I've ever done. It's all over the place."

One recent gig was reviewed as "a funkadelic, glitch-hop, G-funk roller-coaster ride that oozes with pure fun."

Opiuo is keeping up this intense pace because of the release of his second and latest full album, Meraki, in March.

"I've done many, many EPs and free mixes and things like that. I embarked on doing tunes over the last few years, and then I took off three months over the summer (a.k.a. our winter) in Australia to finish it up."

Meraki is a departure for Opiuo and he clearly loves it. It even comes across on social media, with his Facebook status from June 11: "Making new music makes me more excited than anything else on the planet."

In conversation he is a little more contained: "I really wanted to put a bit of a journey together. I experimented with my last few EPs before that, I've gone very far down that glitch route. It was experimental, just for myself; to see how much glitchyness I could do and still make it approachable. With the album, I wanted to make it smoother and something people could put on and you don't have to pay attention intently to enjoy the music. There's some deep dub moments, live instrumentation, heavy funk and hip hop, and collaborations."

He is proud of the fact that he is "100-per-cent live," and will be bringing a drum machine, a couple of synthesizers, an iPad and he is able to replicate the album, with "enough movement to work with the crowd and have a good time.

"My album has done more than I expected it to in different areas; people who aren't very big electronic fans have taken to it, jazz fans, people like that. It's taking me to new places.

"Electronic music these days is massive and crazy and huge, but there's not a lot of soul in it. I think keeping live music in there is something people drift towards."

The recent death of British comic actor Rik Mayall, an icon from his childhood, also had Opiuo thoughtful about the work he's been doing and what matters to him, so much so that he posted a tribute to Mayall on social media.

"When I was a kid I grew up with the Young Ones and Bottom (Mayall's two most popular U.K. TV shows)... and Drop Dead Fred was my absolute hero. I was sad, for sure," he says.

"I actually have had those thoughts that if I died tomorrow, I wonder what my legacy would be. Not in the sense of an ego thing, but in terms of how many people have heard the music, whether they would enjoy it. Often, it's not until someone disappears that they are truly celebrated."