Interview with Opiuo x Syzygy Orchestra Live at Red Rocks
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Exclusive Interview: Opiuo x Syzygy Orchestra Live at Red Rocks

Inside the head of the artist who constructed a 21-piece electronic orchestral performance.

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Exclusive Interview: Opiuo x Syzygy Orchestra Live at Red Rocks

When it comes to New Zealand electronic producer Opiuo, a breath of fresh air is an understatement. Like many of his funk bass-inspired peers, Opiuo thrives on the live stage, performing his eclectic style around the world through live act The Opiuo Band in a manner that defies all expectations of a stereotypical electronic experience. Then, he took it one step further. Six months of meticulous planning and a whole lot of reworking later, Opiuo and DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman completely transformed his 'Syzygy 01' EP into a delightfully experimental 21-piece orchestral composition. By April, Opiuo and the Syzygy Orchestra were ready for their headlining debut at Red Rocks and a performance of a life-time.

Released September 21, Opiuo x Syzygy Orchestra Live At Red Rocksfeatures all seven movements from Opiuo's Red Rocks performance. Looking back on the process that brought together Syzygy Orchestra, Opiuo recounts facing challenges and reaping the rewards while exploring the inspiration behind the entirety of the Syzygy project and its personal meaning.

Listen to Opiuo x Syzygy Orchestra Live at Red Rocks.

Check out the full interview below:


Congrats on the release of 'Live From Red Rocks'! You must be reliving Red Rocks. It's been almost half a year since you performed, how does it feel?

Thank you so much! It still feels completely surreal. I listened to the album when it came out and it felt like someone else had actually played the show. Was so nice to hear it with almost fresh ears again. And to know that it was such a wild journey to get to where it did, made it feel that much more special.

You are continuously innovating your music and how you deliver it. Can we expect to see a live performance with Syzygy Orchestra or a similar concept in the future?

I have one more show planned with the orchestra this November 5th in Melbourne. We are taking it to another level again! Im so excited!!! But after that there isn't anything. Im not sure if there will be another, I would sure like to, but it is a mind blowing amount of work to do just one show. I take things as they come, one at a time, so who knows to be honest…

Did you have a favorite Movement to perform during the show? Is that the same or does that differ from your favorite to listen to now that it's been released?

During the writing process I was really struggling to find a favourite moment in the set, as we really worked to give each movement an identity of its own, so the journey through the show was as real and exciting as possible. Now that it's released I find myself caught between movement I and movement IV. Movement I because it was the start of the show, and I remember vividly the feeling of standing there on stage having no idea how this show was going to go. Movement IV because it was one of the most powerful moments performing of my life. I'll never forget this whole show though. I'm so proud of what we all achieved.

The precision, practice and planning involved in putting on a live show of this calibre is truly on another level. What were some challenges you faced knowing that?

I didn't really know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it when the whole process began. I just had an idea and ran with it. For the most part I just worked towards something I felt was the right thing. I didn't want it to sound like anything done before, and my good friend Tom Hagerman helped me get this vision across. But that was only just the beginning of the challenging adventure. The place, the instruments, the weather, the sound, the texture, the flow of the show. You name it, it had to be thought through, and worked on. For months & months. It was something I loved every second along the way though. It was such a rewarding challenge. One I'd never have had any other way.

When you were producing SYZYGY 01, did you already have the idea of potentially reworking it into an orchestral piece?

Not at all. I kind of think of ideas on the fly, and then just run with them. The orchestra was a spur of the moment thing in essence. I'd wanted to do one for years, but never actually thought that want would ever be real. So when making music, I just make what I like, and then try to perform it in a creative way, and this was one of those creative ways that just happened to work! I like this way of working as I am never putting myself into a box, Im letting the creativity out in every way possible at that very moment, and that keeps me hungry to do more.

Your music attracts a spectrum of listeners. I'm sure some of the Syzygy Orchestra members aren't too familiar with bass music. Did you have any interesting interactions?

I totally did! Many were unsure of what the show would entail right up until that one and only rehearsal we had. It was incredible to see their faces light up when they realised this show wasn't the norm. The mix of the two worlds really took some of them by surprise, but they were smiling and rocking out in between their parts. So cool. I want to send a huge thanks to all of them for not only braving the freezing temperatures, but also stepping outside their usual zone and believing in us. They truly are the champions of the day!

The concept of syzygy holds a deep meaning for you in relation to your music and your audience. Who were some of the artists that changed your life?

I have had so many life changing musical experiences. From watching the NZ band Supergroove on a balcony across from where they were playing in the 90's, to attending another NZ group Pitch Black in the early 2000's, to going to all night break beat parties in Melbourne in mid 2000's, to seeing Tipper outdoors for the first time around 2007 I think…. they all have varying, yet huge influences. And daily I am excited by things I hear as well. It would be impossible to mention the real life changers as I can never truly remember - as I am usually so caught up in just experiencing it.

What are your 3 tour essentials?

Noise cancelling headphones, new music to play, a positive attitude.

Any artist you'd love to collab with on a live set?

I would love to work with Nils Frahm on something one day! He's one of my favourite artists and live performers out there.

Any last words?

Never give up. Support your friends. Love each other. Be yourself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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