The artist and producer known simply as Ott has been not-so-quietly making a name for himself in the world of dance music for a couple of decades now.
Known for his loping, organic electronic pop sound, U.K.-based Ott eschews urgent, beat-obsessed dance music in favor of a more hippie-twirl-friendly pace. As of last autumn, that pace got even more friendly, more organic and more hippie when he brought on board three comrades to form a live band, touring as Ott & The All-Seeing I. Ott handles the electronics while Naked Nick multitasks on vocals, guitar, synthesizers and percussion, Chris Barker lays down the groove on bass and Matt White keeps time on drums.
He may be All-Seeing, but Ott is hardly all-hearing — he was out of cell range twice when GO! attempted to interview him. Fortunately, his manager’s email was working, and Ott answered our questions with the same cool intelligence that informs his music:
GO! Magazine: What made you decide to take a live band on the road?
Ott: It was the obvious thing to do after touring solo for so long. And because loading up a tour bus with a bunch of friends and heaps of musical equipment, driving off round the USA and playing shows to some of the coolest people on Earth is amazingly good fun.
GO!: How did you come up with the name Ott & The All-Seeing I?
Ott: I dreamed it.
GO!: How hard is it to re-create the (album) sounds as a live group?
Ott: Much easier than I expected. Nick provided the original vocals on some of my songs like “Queen of All Everything" and “Adrift In Hilbert Space," so his job was to re-create what he originally did. Matt and Chris worked very hard to interpret my drums and bass and I think they do an immaculate job.
GO!: What’s the story behind Naked Nick’s name?
Ott: You’d have to ask him that. It’s a long but very funny story.
GO!: Any plans to write together as a live band?
Ott: Yes. The plan is to finish building my studio as soon as this tour is over and then we’re going to lock ourselves in with some microphones and a bunch of computers and see what comes out the other end.
We haven’t played a note yet, but I’m confident that we’ll come up with something which pleases us and hopefully a few others too. The thought of starting is very exciting but first we have to construct a lounge, kitchen and toilet in ... my studio building.
GO!: Do you see yourself touring in the years ahead with a live band, or is this pretty much a “You’d better come to this show if you want to see The All-Seeing I" situation?
Ott: I have no idea to be completely honest. I only know what I’m doing this week because my manager writes it all into a diary.
GO!: In recent years, electronic music has become much, much bigger — have you noticed a difference in the size or composition of your audiences?
Ott: Yes. I think my first visits to the USA as a performer coincided with the rise of psychedelic electronic music here, and I have seen a growth in awareness since then. It’s nice to feel the wave spread out across the country.
GO!: Do you have musical tastes or hobbies that would surprise your audience?
Ott: Probably. I love a lot of music from the last 100 years, and I don’t listen to what a lot of people think I listen to.
I was asked once in an interview what I listen to apart from “psy-trance and psybient." Pretty much the only types of music I’d never listen to. Most of the time I live in silence.
GO!: What musical goals lie ahead for you?
Ott: I don’t really have goals. I’m just enjoying a series of moments.
GO!: How would you describe your live show to someone who’s never heard it before?
Ott: I wouldn’t. I’d suggest they come along and hear it for themselves.