Meet DJ Odilon - live music maker, turntablist and beatmaker

Odilon doesn't need any introduction. Either you have one of his breaks/loopers in your laptop or one of his routines in mind.

DJ ND had a chance to catch Odilon for an exclusive interview about career, goals and vision on the current DJ/turntablist scene. 

DJ ND: Odilon, you’re active as a DJ, producer, you’re touring with Belgian and French artists (MC’s). Is it important for you to diversify your activities within the DJ world?

- Yes it is. I started as a party DJ for 18 years ago. After some time, I got into turntablism but I kept rocking parties. The past 5 years, I’ve been focusing much more on producing: loopers, breaks and beats. I’m also giving scratch lessons on a regular basis.
The next step is to start working on live performances. I want to make a show with a mix of audio and video. It’s a normal evolution in someone’s career. I don’t want to get stuck in one aspect of DJing. I want to discover new things, learn, and step my game up. That’s basically why I’m active in so many domains nowadays.

 

DJ Odilon_05.jpg

DJ ND: New disciplines have been emerging the past 5 years. Turntablists started specializing themselves. Some are just scratching, others are just making routines, yet others again entered the portablism world. Is it still possible to be up-to-date and be a «complete» DJ with all these trends?

- We have so many possibilities today! Due to the technological evolutions, the introduction of DVS systems, we even have opportunities to try things out and improve our skills in so many ways. Nowadays, we can create almost everything we want.
The less positive point of this is that there probably less research has been done. What I mean is that in the past, everybody was using the same breakbeats. The difference between DJs was only based on creativity and skills. Today, the artistic dimension and the production aspect take a bigger dimension. And of course, with the arrival of the portable solutions, we have the opportunity to share our art in other contexts than showcases or battles. Today you just plug and play, like you would do with an electric guitar.

 

DJ Odilon_04.jpg

DJ ND: The past 10 years, “DJs” (producers) became the new rock stars. They went from their small DJ booths to the top of the charts. Do you think turntablists could have the same success in their careers?
- Everything is possible. Artists like C2C and Birdy Nam Nam paved the way already. Of course, musicality is a key and we need to be more accessible in the way we share our art. Portablism has a role to play… By sharing our art, we can get closer to music lovers and gain their interest. I personally think that “live performances”, I mean “real live shows” with an artistic approach, the use of video will definitely help.

DJ ND : Sometimes we hear people say that turntablism is dying. Is the golden era gone for good or will there be a revival somehow?
- Trends come…and go… and come back again. I think there was more quality before. More research. It’s like the knowledge is stagnating a bit. Are turntablist really going to the next level like the hall of famers of turntablist used to do in the past? I’m not sure… But then again, technology makes everything easier. It’s an asset and a hindrance at the same time.

DJ ND: Do you have a certain routine, certain habits when you practice for a competition? Tell us how you start your journey?
- I like to build routines step by step. I always start with the intro. That’s the most logical to me. Like the beginning of a story. Then bit by bit I start building up things based on the inspiration I have. I must admit, usually I’m a bit behind the schedule. So I always struggle during the final sprint to finalize my routines on time before a competition.
DJ ND: Today there is no dedicated platform or ‘record pool’ for turntablists. How do you follow the trends?
- Facebook is a good database. I’m a member of several scratch groups where the members post content on a regular basis. Looking on other DJs routines inspires me a lot.
DJ ND: Besides skills and reputation, marketing got in important place in the life of the DJs. What’s your opinion on that?
- It all depends on the type of a career that you’re pursuing. But if you want to live by djing, than marketing is a key. That’s also why we enter battles. Titles are like diplomas. They give you visibility. This said, I’m more old school minded: I still believe that “hard work pays off” more than any marketing campaign.

 

DJ Odilon_06.png

DJ ND: Some really short questions now:
- Your favorite routine?  - “Beware of the average man” by Unkut.
- The website/platform where you download the most? - Nowadays, Bandcamp.
- Your favorite Ortofon cartridge? - DIGITAL MKII & the OM’s.

DJ ND: You just developed a looper in collaboration with Ortofon. Tell us a bit about that project.
- I made a looper of 62 beats. I made 47 of them. I tried to mix genres and tempi. I’m really proud of it and I hope DJs will like it. I’m already working on a dedicated looper for Ortofon. Fully branded. I don’t want to say too much about it, but I can reveal it will be released in January… So stay tuned.

DJ ND: Last question: What’s your worse stage experience?
- Having someone asking me for a drink, thinking I was the bar tender.