Opolopo - How I DJ
Opolopo is as close to the epitome of a one man band as you’ll ever see in dance music. One of Scandinavia’s most extraordinary producers, Peter Major aka Opolopo, has come along way from when he first started messing about with music by overdubbing on cassette decks with a Casio VL Tone toy keyboard in his early teens!
With a sound that is heavily influenced by jazz, disco and funk, his latest remixes of Los Charly’s Orchestra’s ‘All Around the World’ are some seriously next level business. In an era of cut and paste ghost producers, it’s great to see someone of Opolopo’s undoubted talent tearing up the world’s dance floors. He’s not all just about amazing keys and musicianship though, as we sat down with Opolopo to find out how he DJs.
Are you more of a DJ or Producer — or one in the same?
I’m a producer turned DJ. But I’m one in the same nowadays.
Describe what makes a good DJ in three words.
Selection, confidence and percipience.
Who or what inspired you to become a DJ?
And old friend suckered me into it.
When did you know you wanted to DJ?
Right after my friend suckered me into it! ha!
Who to you is/was “The DJs DJ”.
It would have to be the old pioneers like David Mancuso and Larry Heard.
Describe your main and preferred DJ set-up.
CDJs running in HID mode with Serato and DJM 900 or 2000.
Why do you choose this way of playing?
I love having my whole music library accessible. Sometimes I’ll also run Ableton in parallel with Serato, playing keys and vocoder while making beats on the fly. Having all my ‘instruments’ and tools in one laptop is very convenient when travelling.
Any special, unique, crazy things on your rider?
No, only the basic things like no brown M&Ms and inflatable dinghies! ha
Beverage of choice while playing?
I like things like a Dark & Stormy or a Whiskey Sour. But sparkling water will do as well.
Favorite country/club/city to play?
Hard to pick any specific place or country. There are many factors that contribute to a great experience. Spain, UK and France are high on my list though.
Do you Sync and what’s your view on this? Has it levelled the playing field for the better or worse?
I don’t sync. I like the satisfaction of manually getting the beats and transients to line up. And I get to look like I’m actually doing something. Having said that, I think only other DJs care whether you’re syncing or not. The crowd (in the best case) care about selection, transitions and the journey.
Any DJ Controllers?
No, but sometimes I’ll use a Korg pad Kontrol for setting loops and cues in Serato.
Favorite or “go-to” EFXs while playing?
The high/lowpass filters on the DJM900 and the echo are my go to FX.
Read the crowd or just pound it out?
Definitely read the crowd, but stick to your vision if you can and try to make it work.
Big festivals or intimate clubs?
Intimate clubs. I like to smell the crowd!
Ever miss the CDs or vinyl days?
I was never a vinyl DJ and don’t see the appeal of CDs.
How do you maintain your music library?
I try to organize things in Serato but it boggles my mind that they still, after so many years, haven’t improved on their library features.
AIFFs, Wavs OR MP3 — WHY? Is their a difference?
Now, that’s a big can of stinky smelly worms. Let’s just say that confirmation bias is a very real thing. There are studies of the brain that show that if you believe something to taste, feel or sound better, your brain can trick you and it will actually taste, feel or sound better to YOU. But if you do a double blind test, it’s a different story. In a club, nobody can hear the difference.
Any tips for aspiring young DJs?
As with everything else – do you! And develop your taste.
Do you do any of the obligatory DJ Poses?
My music doesn’t have enough drops for that I’m afraid.
How do you combat the ‘everyone is a DJ’ mentality?
I don’t. I just keep on making and playing music and let the rest sort itself out.