Wow! Cool Album! is greater than only a undertaking title — it’s Ookay‘s entire character. Hailing from Chula Vista, Abraham “Abe” Laguna just isn't the common producer. Beyond his heat and pleasant character that exudes constructive power, a rarity within the music sphere, he’s additionally one who places his vulnerability on full show in a number of sides of his life. One such little bit of himself he’s uncovered is his stylistic evolution, during which he’s been documenting his transition from heavy entice, home, and massive room into extra mainstream, pop-friendly sounds.
Exploding on the dance music scene together with his 2016 single, “Thief,” Ookay has since continued to good his craft as a singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and performer. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Ookay forward of his sold-out present at The Fonda in Hollywood.
For those that don’t know, who's ‘Ookay,’ and the place does he match within the realm of dance music?
Ookay is a bit of Mexican boy from San Diego, who makes music in his bed room. Gets to play for just about the world. I’ve been DJing for about 4 or 5 years. I not too long ago began doing a dwell present with my new album, which is one thing we’re debuting for the primary time. A bit little bit of the brand new album I’m engaged on at present, and the stuff folks know and love already.
My sound little little bit of the whole lot: entice, future, pop, dance parts — there’s dubstep, even. To be capable to do all these various kinds of issues like singing, songwriting, producing, and performing, I’m just about a one-man band.
How has your sound developed over time?
When I used to be making this album, it got here to a degree once I was taking part in reveals and DJing the place I wasn’t in a position to play the songs I used to be making anymore. It simply wasn’t becoming what I used to be taking part in prior due to the songs that individuals knew me for. I wanted to take a second method to what I do and the way I carry out my music.
Why did you're feeling it wasn’t a match so that you can carry out?
Just due to my background and what I've already created a fan base doing. It’s extra like put your arms up, rave, drops, buildups, and all that. To go a brand new path was one thing that I needed to educate myself. I needed to undertaking to folks in a method that ended up being a dwell present. For me, I didn’t actually have a selection virtually. I had a lot good music, however no method of taking part in it — correctly, in the correct setting. I couldn’t go from a heavy tremendous Excision dubstep observe after which play “Fight four U” or “Loved or Lost.” What I did was I took a while off to concentrate on ending the album and work on this dwell set, which took numerous my life span.
Wow! Cool Album! is your first album. How lengthy did it take you?
It took me three years. It’s a group of all of the music I’ve made in three years, that I used to be unable to play. Being in a position to lastly do that was nice.
At what level did you understand it was good to go?
We didn’t. What occurred was I received a reserving for an Ookay dwell present earlier than I even created it. I began to panic and thought, ‘Well now I've to determine this out!’ [laughs] I used to be form of placed on the new seat and the highlight, however it gave me the motivation I wanted. The stress actually helped me lastly put this collectively. Being in a position to sing, follow all of the devices, play the whole lot and carry out on stage, it was one thing I needed to follow daily for 10 to 12 hours. Even yesterday, I rehearsed for 10 to 12 hours. That’s simply how lengthy it takes.
“Thief” has greater than 9 million views on YouTube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
No method! I made that music in all probability a yr or two earlier than it even launched. I used to be all the time actually nervous. I bear in mind the primary time I performed it was with GRiZ on New Year’s Eve. The solely cause was as a result of I knew he performed saxophone in his set. I used to be like, ‘Oh, I feel the group would get pleasure from a music with saxophone.’ That was my first time ever taking part in that music, and I closed with it. I bear in mind pondering, ‘I actually hope this goes properly.’
I needed to cease all of the music as a result of at that time, that music didn’t slot in my set. That was my entire drawback, I used to be making music that I couldn’t play. To be capable to finish on that music was my first step to seeing the potential it had. People actually appreciated it they usually have been speaking about it on the web. I bear in mind my first supporter on that music was truly Mija. She was the primary individual to ever play it dwell, that wasn’t me. She gave me the push to really put it out. I didn’t suppose it could flip into what it's now, however I’m glad it has. It’s given me a platform to make much more superb music and attain an even bigger fan base.
What do you say to individuals who name you one-hit marvel?
I don’t see it. I don’t even hear that. I feel it reveals with how a lot work I’m placing in. I feel “COOL” is an incredible success. Wow! Cool Album! has been nice. “Lighthouse” has achieved very well and to me, is a fan favourite. All the brand new music I’m engaged on now that I’m not even performing but, is a number of the greatest stuff I’ve achieved. So once I hear issues like that, I’m glad folks really feel that method as a result of it reveals a bit of little bit of both jealousy or anger. If you don’t like me, it means you’re interested by me, and I’ll take that as a praise.
Talk about your upcoming remix with Portugal. The Man.
“Tidalwave.” I’ll be performing that one tonight. It’s one which I used to be actually excited as a result of I truly received to see them throughout this competition season, earlier than I even received the provide to do the remix.
I feel it was Coachella, truly. I used to be in a position to go as only a fan. I didn’t even get to play. I simply went to go see folks and get impressed. Coachella was one of many first locations the place I spotted a dwell present can be superb. To be capable to do one thing on that platform would actually assist me as an artist and as a inventive. It would problem me. With their music and what I’ve seen them do with simply rock and turning into one of many largest artists on the planet, to be given the chance to remix one of many songs on the album, I took it. I used to be like ‘completely.’ I already cherished the music initially, however to have the ability to give my very own twist on it… I saved numerous the weather that have been crucial within the authentic music, but additionally made it very Ookay.
How did you guys hyperlink up?
One day, I simply wakened and it was in my e mail. I performed it at Osheaga in Montreal. They reposted, retweeted, and hit me up saying it was superb. I used to be like, ‘I do know, it’s an official one!’ [laughs] Because they hadn’t heard it. They heard me engaged on it, however by no means heard the completed product being performed for 1000's of individuals.
What’s been your favourite collaboration to date?
There’s so many good ones. The one with Fox Stevenson was unimaginable. Working with Sara Skinner on “Time Warp” was a extremely cool expertise. It was cool to work with different songwriters as a result of for me personally, I’ve been writing the whole lot myself. That was one thing new for me. Oh, and “Chasing Colors.” Working with Noah Cyrus was superb, and Mello and I are identical to greatest mates. We have been simply hanging out in the future. I used to be taking part in him a demo I had in my automobile, simply on SoundCloud. He was exhibiting me stuff he was engaged on and vice versa. I used to be like, ‘Oh, I've this factor simply sitting right here, let me know what you suppose.’ It was simply the baseline and intro. He was like, ‘I really like this! Can you ship it to me?’ Eventually, we completed the instrumental and added Noah afterward. It simply made the music full. It felt proper. To be capable to work with good mates on prime of make good music, is without doubt one of the most rewarding issues.
We seen your tattoo that claims “hold your circle small.” How has fame been treating you?
Fame is nice. I assume I’m fairly well-liked. I’m right here at The Fonda, hi there? [laughs]
Keeping my circle small doesn’t imply hold folks out of my life, which is good. I attempt to be as inviting and sort to everybody, whether or not it’s to somebody who doesn’t like me to somebody I’ve by no means met earlier than to somebody I’ve identified for a very long time. I simply hold folks I discover very expensive and essential to me. People who know my greatest pursuits as not simply Ookay, however Abraham, the man who performs as Ookay. Even the folks I work with are a few of my greatest mates. To have that circle is essential. To hold it shut is much more essential, as a result of what you enter is your output. When I feed into my circle and do what I can, whether or not or not it's my household, greatest mates, or folks I work with, all of it comes again round.
Do you favor taking part in golf equipment or festivals?
I haven’t achieved a membership in a very long time, so it’s actually biased for me to say festivals. This is the primary venue present I’ve achieved shortly.
What does it imply to carry out at The Fonda in your hometown?
I bear in mind I got here right here for JAUZ about two years in the past. I’d by no means been to the venue prior. This is a extremely cool place, and I haven’t been in a position to come again since. I actually hoped I’d get the chance to both come again to see a present or carry out. Now, that’s precisely what’s occurring. To be capable to do it in LA is essential. My first headlining present was in LA.
What venue was that?
It was at Los Globos, in a small room. Again, full circle. I’m again and in a position to do it another time. It was certainly one of my first moments the place I spotted I had followers. It was loopy.
Best encounter you had with a fan?
It was at this previous EDC. I introduced out Kenny G. I used to be actually stressing as a result of it was the primary time I used to be doing a dwell present at EDC. I used to be up all morning doing soundcheck. As a DJ, you've got the power to point out up, plug in and play. It’s so superior. But then I spotted, ‘Oh my god! I completely forgot to purchase an outfit.’ I had nothing to put on at EDC.
I walked out of my lodge already exhausted, and it was sizzling outdoors. I went to Urban Outfitters, wanting to only get one thing and stroll again. This man was sporting an Ookay shirt and had Ookay bracelets. He was like, ‘I got here right here only for you, and also you’re simply strolling within the streets?!’ We ended up taking the identical cab. I received dropped off first and paid for his cab. He was like, ‘This is the very best day of my life!’ Out of all my exhaustion, I used to be nonetheless in a position to contact somebody’s life.
Three stuff you want within the studio?
Really cool lighting, good headphones, and snacks, so that you don’t have to depart as a lot.
Who’s the most-played artist in your telephone?
That’s a superb query. I’m going to say D’Angelo. I truly named my canine after him.
I’d actually like to do stuff with ODESZA. I really like the whole lot Illenium is doing, and San Holo. If I may have a dream collab with any human being, positively Prince. Maybe not even collab. I might love to select his mind, and ask him, ‘What’s your path in your thoughts if you’re engaged on music?’