DJAO is Seattle producer Alex Osuch, who may have recently come onto your radar when his track Time To Stop Waiting headed up the Friends Of Friends ‘Show Me The Future’ compilation in January. He’s also a key part of Portland’s Dropping Gems, a label/collective we featured recently when we premiered Natasha Kmeto’s off-kilter dance pop with the ‘Dirty Mind Melt’ EP last month.
Dropping Gems will release the latest in their label compilation series next month, and here’s DJAO’s contribution with One – which splices its murmuring keyboards, hard-hitting bass and delicate brushed drums enticingly. We spoke with Alex over email – after he’d had a cup of tea – about progress on his new album and about what’s hot in Seattle right now; check that below the track.
Hi DJAO, how’re you?
Alex Osuch: “I’m good, thanks. I’m in Portland right now getting ready for a show this evening, playing with Shigeto, Eskmo and my homies Ghost Feet. Should be fun. Made the drive from Seattle (where I live) last night so I’m rested for today. Just drank some tea.”
Could you tell us a bit more about the Dropping Gems collective, and what we can expect from the compilation?
Alex: “Dropping Gems is basically a group of friends that formed in 2009-2010, to begin with, and since then things have evolved. Now we’re making records, throwing shows, continuing to connect with new people, seeking out future vibes, etc. It’s great. Aaron heads things up and the rest of us try to create and connect as much as possible. I’m always happy to be down in Portland because I get to see everybody. I’m the only one from Seattle.”
“The compilation is like a snapshot of what we’re up to at the moment. There’s an epic/progressive Philip Grass banger, a really zoney Citymouth excursion, an immaculate M Constant future beat, a gravelly Ghost Feet nightwalk, and then the Wires For Salu track. That one’s my favorite out of all of them, probably. It’s Devonwho’s side project, it’s got all the things I like about his music plus a bunch of new left field elements. The drums especially are way more main-y. I love it. We’re an eclectic group but we’re all into honest expression, so that’s what ties everything together.”
We hear you’re prepping an LP for Dropping Gems, how that’s going?
Alex: “It’s going well. I have it split up into segments and I’m working through how they all fit together. I’m going to be doing the same thing I did with my EP (Wuhn), where all the tracks blend seamlessly, whether they’re connected by interlude pieces or just straight-up interwoven. It’s supposed to be something that a given person can listen to all the way through, which makes it like most albums, I suppose, but I want to create that feeling, for example, of being able to step in somewhere in the middle and be hooked till the end. Just because it all fits together. Kind of like if you walked in on a good movie. I can’t really talk about it terms of specific vibes or content because it’s still evolving.”
Any artists/club nights/general goings-on in Seattle right now you’d like to enlighten us on?
Alex: “There are a lot, actually. First and foremost would be Hush Hush Records, my Seattle homies: Alex Ruder (label head), Kid Smpl (dope producer), Domokos (dope producer), Allen Huang/DJ Hojo (dope DJ/cultural theorist), and tons of other talented homies and homegirls.”
“Then there’s Nice Nate, a Seattle future beat producer I collaborate with on a regular basis, we have a side project called Nice&AO. He’s all right.”
“Beyond that there’s tons of other talented producers in Seattle, it would be hard to name them all. One name that comes to mind is 214, who has been producing under J.Alvarez lately, definitely a producer I look up to in terms of technical skill and consistency. I get a lot of inspiration from a DJ named Jon Francois Stone, he did a mix for Hush Hush under the name Mr. Bottomsly. He’s the type of record collector that doesn’t amass a huge library, he just maintains a rotating selection of gold.”