A Sit Down With DJ Ookay
Ookay is a California-based musician whos quickly risen to the forefront of the scene in just a few short years. In that time, hes been featured on countless festival lineups around the globe and has had track releases on multiple labels. Back in September, Ookay took to the stage at Nocturnal Wonderlandto put on the first live show of his career and hasnt looked back since.
"Luckily, I have a lot of really fucking good music that I find from all over, as well as stuff I make. Also, a lot of crowd participation."
Once you started producing music, was your current career the end goal for you? Did you have any idea your career would take off as much as it did?
I had no idea what to expect when I started doing this. I still think there is more potential to grow as an artist and as a DJ, but I am very excited about where I am and even more excited about where I can go from here.
Who's your biggest inspiration in the trap music realm?
I really like Boez Van De Beatz right now along with pretty much anything Yellow Claw is making.
What approach do you use when you start making a new song?
Its just the stuff I think in my head. I beat box a lot, not in public or anything, but like to myself. So all the noises I make like in my head or in my mouth I try to like translate them into an actual song. Like synths I have in my head I try and make them as close as possible. Its pretty cool, ya know it just depends. Depends on my mood, the vibe, even what it looks like outside.
You generally incorporate a wide variety of musical styles into your live sets. What is your selection selection process? Has that changed at all for this new tour?
Its all planned out; I wanted to tell a story. Ive definitely spent hours on-end on this show and making sure its perfect. It definitely has more thought into it than a DJ set because I cant really change much. I can definitely improvise but we did a lot of planning.
With as much as you have progressed in such a short amount of time, what are some other short term and long term goals you have?
Right now Im writing music, not just making bootlegs and working off of other tracks. I want to write lyrics, direct music videos, and do everything myself. Ive made my own logo. Ive made most of the artwork for all of my release. Anything that has to do with the marketing part of Ookay has really been me. I have a small crew that helps but thats the coolest part. I have the artistic vision and direction of what Ookay should be. I went to graphic design school and I know web development so Im lucky I am able to do all of that myself. Long term is make, maybe, pop hits, soundtracks for movies, and who knows. Hip-hop, pop, rock music. I want to see how far I can take this and make an empire. I would hate to be boxed in with dance music. I want to unleash and do whatever I want. But it is all coming in due time. Just for fans to be patient and see whats coming out. I know as much as you guys do about where Im going next.
You're relatively new to the scene as far as the electronic artists go, but you've received a lot of attention in that time. What is your reaction to your successes?
Just keep moving, just keep working. I dont like to look behind me too much. Theres much work to do. I dont feel like Im anywhere close to where I want to be. To others what may be a life-long feat, has become just a milestone.
A big part of how you have become successful is your personal branding and social media strategy. So many people go on social media and it ends up being a detriment to their career. You seem to understand the world of social media very well. What goes through your head when you are interacting and engaging with your fans.
It just comes down to being genuine. I never had Facebook or Twitter back in the day so it came down to interacting with people. Everyone wants to know about your personal life and what youre up to. Just by sharing that with them gives them hope and insight. By sharing that Im at home just playing Playstation someone might be like Oh! Okay! He just does normal shit too. Its important to interact with fans and show people that Im just another guy. Im naturally just a funny guy. I go on Twitter now and I have no filter and people seem to love it. I just keep doing what I do.
Now you're changing up your normal routine and adding live instrumentation and singing to your live sets on this new Wow! Cool! Tour. Do you like to add these touches?
I think it came down to my new music being nearly unplayable in sets. Just a complete pop/EDM vibe that has been untouched. I havent heard anything like it before. it only made sense to go a new direction.
What was the moment you realized you could make this a career?
The moment I was like Shit! I need to quit school, quit my job, and go on tour? That was definitely Borgore. That was my first offer. I can always go back to school. I can always get another job. This is the only shot I will have to do this and it got me here. Its worked out so far but its dicey. Its always the What If? factor. What if I dont do this. What if I didnt make it to this point? Would I be not as happy with what Im doing? I dont mean that like being the DJ is the top job ever. If you want to be a cook or chef, go do it. People are just so focused on pleasing other people that forget about pleasing themselves and lose track. Thats kind of where I was. I was in school and my parents were paying for it. I gave all of that up to do my dream and it was definitely a sacrifice. Above all else, Im just happy to be here and be doing this.
Do you prefer the festival or the club scene?
I like them both, clubs are always super intimate but you can reach a broader audience at the big festivals obviously. There are pros and cons for everything, ya know? So it depends, it just depends.
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