Q&A with Otto KnowsBy Joe Martone
It’s always an interesting dynamic when a music sensation comes from across the Atlantic to play in America. Occasionally you’ll get something unforgettable like The Beatles or Bjork. Swedish producer Otto Jettman a.k.a. Otto Knows is definitely unforgettable. A proven success in the U.K., the Scandinavian DJ is coming to the West and CULTURE was able to catch up with him.
You’re going to be playing in Los Angeles this month. Are you looking forward to the show?
Yes, I’m genuinely looking forward to it. I haven’t been to the States for a while, something like a month, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about this gig! Performing inAmericais always a pleasure, the crowd is really supportive and they know how to take things to the next level. I’m really excited to come back there; we always have some really precious moments there. My heart is balanced betweenNew YorkandLos Angeles, which are some of the busiest and most exciting places you can be at the moment.
Being a DJ seems to be more competitive than it has been before. How do you make yourself stand out?
Making great music is the key to success in my opinion. If you want to make something stand out you need to give it a soul. Now that everybody can put four kicks in a row on a computer and make a track, the musicality became a true added value. I think nowadays there are probably more producers than DJs: we are in a completely different context. This is really exciting for us to go out and play the music we spend so much time and efforts for to other people. I feel amazingly lucky and humble to be one of these guys who can actually make their music, travel the world and play it for a living.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists (Avicii, Imogen Heap, ATB, etc.)—who do you like to work with most, or do you prefer working solo?
Yes I think I prefer to concentrate my efforts on my own work at the moment. Maybe I will work on a couple of collaborations in the future, I don’t know. But right now I think I’m happy to work on my own, to give a real shape to my own sound is a good thing as well. Working with the Refune team as we call us—Sebastian Ingrosso, Alesso and me—is always an amazing experience, we are all good friends, helping each other and looking in the same direction. Everything is going very well.
Producing for others or making your own music—which do you like better?
I prefer to work for myself definitely. It’s easier. I know precisely where I want to go, what I want. It’s always more comfortable for me to rely on my own efforts and inspiration. I really need to make more music for myself; this is an important thing to focus on as well as a producer. When you’re alone in your studio you come to face your own flaws, your own difficulties, and no one can be of any help but yourself. It really enables you to progress as an artist and a producer. This way you can settle a healthy ground for good things to grow in the future.
You’re pretty popular in the United Kingdom. Did you anticipate that success or were you genuinely surprised?
Of course I was really surprised. You can never really expect something like that to happen. We already had good feedbacks inSweden, but the international reactions to my releases have been absolutely overwhelming and I wasn’t expecting such an enthusiasm for sure.
Anything else you’d like to add?
To my fans, I’m really happy and excited to be on tour and hopefully will be close to you soon. You can follow me on Twitter to be aware of where I’m heading on a day-to-day basis. Things are really exciting at the moment throughout the world for electronic music; we all need to seize the day. [I’ll] hopefully see you soon and let’s have some memorable moments together!
LIVE IN CONCERT
Performing Dec. 6 at Greystone Manor in Los Angeles.