Sound Gallery is a Fuss feature where we interview a DJ or producer and invite them to curate a mix which exhibits their style, skill and talents. In this edition of the Sound Gallery we feature member of the BUTTER collective, Omar Morto. We discuss his decision to keep his identity anonymous, his relationship with music and Jersey Club and what more is to come him.
Who is Omar Morto?
Omar Morto isn’t really a who as much as it’s a ‘what’, it’s really about two personalities acting out in random outbursts, watching series way too much and have fun making music every now and then. It’s also the result of listening to way too much Aaliyah on a road trip to Durban.
Why the decision to keep your identity hidden?
There’s a few things that made OM an anonymous project- trust me there are people who know my real names. And when I say names I mean it plural, because OM is two people. And we decided to keep it shut because of legal stuff, wanting to put the music first before a look or an aesthetic and also to keep any possible shine on the two different personalities behind me at a safe distance.
If you’re clever enough to back trace the name you deserve a brownie.
Is Omar Morto a character you play or a part of who you are?
It’s both. I love the idea of acting but only in so far, as it’s based on something real. I’m not as rowdy as OM on stage in real life. Performing as him is a really special space to act as out there as I want without anyone knowing my face.
Talk us through your relationship with music. Can you recall what was the first song that really stuck with you as a listener? What was the first piece of music you paid for?
I grew up listening to Jazz, Disco and Classic Rock. Obviously from mom and dad, but like everyone, those things stick with you. Like right now – Lynne Collins’s ‘Think Break’ is the sample I use everywhere, whether it’s Jersey Club or not.
I think the first piece of music I ever paid for was a second hand NOW CD in the early 2000’s. And then pop punk hit and I was knee-deep in Simple Plan and Blink 182.
Eventually there was a point where the scales tipped and you decided to create your own music. What was the initial push that led to you producing music and has it always just been as Omar Morto?
I’ve always had some kind of relationship with music – but I’m not from a very musical family.
I pretty much just decided in my last year of high school that I wanted to sing, so I did. Since then I’ve been in bands and other projects. I started DJing as a way of performing from my band, a frontman all on my own. So I stuck it out, nearly ten years later comes Omar.
The niche Jersey Club sound heavily influences your production. Who introduced you to this genre and what is it about it that interests you?
Sjoe. Jersey was introduced to me while I was still doing my other project, in fact it influenced it even more directly, and back then I was one of a couple people playing it in CPT. I can’t tell you how I got introduced to it, honestly, I can’t remember myself. I just know some of the first Jersey tracks I heard were by the Brick Bandits and M.O.D. crews, guys like CZ, Lil Texas, Sliink and R3LL. To answer the second bit, I’m attracted to the rawness of it. Real straight up Jersey has this urgency and visceral nature, but it can be sexy and sensual too. I love music that’s fluid in what can be done with it.
Tell us a bit about your production methods. What hardware and software is involved and how do you go about using these to create music?
Nothing heavy’s involved, just a laptop, midi keyboard, FL Studio or Ableton. It also pairs well with lotsof coffee and Yung Jeezy for reaching my highest level of thug motivation.
“Daffy” was featured in #TheFussList and “Moonlight Nights” is doing really well on Soundcloud. Are there any more singles in the pipelines and when can we expect a full EP or LP?
I’m working on a few things; my laptop recently got wiped so a fair bit of building things up again is happening right now. But definitely, I have a track coming out on the next DRK & LVLY compilation with a Dutch producer called Crafs. Hopefully this year you’ll be seeing the name in bigger places than just Soundcloud though.
Producing or DJing? Which do you prefer more and why?
Both have a certain value to them. And I love each side, being able to create something no one’s heard before, from my mind, it’s pretty magical. On the flip side, DJing is as momentous; I don’t think I’d ever play a set just live because the idea of sharing the sounds and songs I love is pretty amazing. It’s like sharing a piece of who you are that people can dance to.
In your opinion, who is currently hosting the best parties in Cape Town?
It’s not an event or night, but Fiction in Long Street throws epic parties, the last few times I played there things got dangerously lit. I’m part of The BUTTER collective who throw dope parties too.
When can we expect a performance in Joburg?
Exchanges between cities in SA are pretty slim unless the act is commercially viable. But honestly all I need is to get booked, get a bus ticket up, and crash on someone’s couch and I’m there.
What are some of your favourite releases (singles / albums) thus far in 2016?
So far this year Future’s EVOL and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo have kicked the year off on a huge note. And on the producer side Daruma and Hebinomichi’s two latest compilations have changed the game early on in the year.
Do you have what we call a game changer? That one track you want to include in every one of your sets?
I have a few tracks that are standard in sets, like Future’s ‘Trap Niggas’ but one track I never leave out is Gutta and K-Deucez’ ‘He Loves Me 2’. That track goes so hard, it breaks my heart every time mixing out of it.
How many gigs of music do you have?
Before the great hard drive purge that happened in January, I had about a hundred gigs, since then I’ve built it back up to about 15. Slowly but surely.
Would you ever perform at a wedding?
Of course. But only if the wedding is at the beach and the bride and groom do their first dance to Moonlight Nights.