Brainquility artist Opiuo shares news about CloZee collab and more

CL's interview with the Kiwi who headlined the festival Saturday night.

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click to enlarge Opiuo, who headlined Brainquility 2019 in Suwannee, Florida. - Listen Up Press team
Listen Up Press team
Opiuo, who headlined Brainquility 2019 in Suwannee, Florida.


If you follow music festivals, this hemisphere or otherwise, you’ve likely seen the name Opiuo on a couple of lineups. This “Kiwi who now calls Australia home,” as his Facebook page suggests, has been slowly gaining international recognition amongst the electronic music community.

Opiuo headlined Saturday of Brainquility Music and Arts Festival this weekend at the Spirit of Suwannee. Check out our Q&A below.

Did I read somewhere that you were from New Zealand originally?

Yep, yep. I moved over here about 14 years ago. I grew up on top of the South Islands in New Zealand, near a place called Nelson. Now home is near Byron Bay, which is the most eastern part of Australia.

What’s the scene like for electronic music over there versus over here?

It varies, in the same way that it does in America. I feel like in a lot of ways they’re very similar and in a lot of ways they stand apart, which is kind of the most awesome part. They're are some awesome festivals, some great music as far as a good range of genres. The main difference that I always see is that America is much bigger and has a lot more festivals and bigger festivals. There’s just a bit of an incidence at the moment where the Australian government right now is trying to crack down on music festivals, basically canceling them. It’s a bit of an interesting landscape right at this second with music festivals, but I hope enough people stand up and vote the people out that are in right now and we can continue on.

What else are you doing while you’re over in America?

I play the weekend after Brainquility with The Floozies in Atlanta, then M3F in Arizona. But I think pretty much every month this year I come back to America for either a weekend, or a couple of weeks, or a month, so it’s pretty nice.

I saw you at Bonnaroo this year and it blew my mind when Andrew Block and Russ Liquid came out to play with you at The Other. How did you start working with The Russ Liquid Test?

Oh man, I’ve known Russ since a few days before I ever stepped foot in America ever. We met just after Shambala in 2010 at the Fungineers place in British Columbia, in, I think it’s called the Sunshine Coast, just north of Vancouver. But they had a big studio compound set up, and we got together and made music and became great friends right away. It’s just been a friendship first through music and every chance we get to do something awesome together, we do.

You're the top billed act Saturday for Brainquility, what’s it like starting out then getting to that point?

It’s been a really enjoyable ride. It hasn’t been so fast that I haven’t been able to watch it progress I guess, but it’s a really cool thing where it’s really interesting to be honest. It’s a dream come true in the sense that I get to do this in the way that I do and that I’ve stuck to doing it. I’ve got a lot of support from a lot of people all over the world, and I think because they enjoy it; it’s not just this fad thing. I dunno, I’m loving every bit of it and it just feels right. I’m very thankful that it’s happening, it’s a really fortunate position to be in.

Who are some of your big inspirations musically?

Where do I begin? I mean, back in the day I started off as being completely addicted to the Beastie Boys, and when I was younger Tracy Chapman. You know, Stevie Wonder to Michael Jackson to whatever. These days it still varies a lot because I have a passion for the live music, the produced music, the electronic music, the funk. You know, it all intertwines with my reality today.

How would you describe the music that you do today?

I guess the simplest term would just be funkadelic bass music, the most complex term being whatever people can come up with, I guess.

So, there’s a rumor going around after an Instagram picture you posted, that you might be working with CloZee on something, maybe a collab? Care to comment?

Well, sure, I mean… I just finished mixing and mastering some music that we wrote enough so that we can both to play it. So yes, we definitely have written some music.

I’ve seen you at least two or three times now, and every time I feel like you have a different sound, either chiller or harder on the bass.

Well, the cool thing about when I’m about to get on the road is that I sort of have a blank canvas. As I’m building up to leaving, I just really think about where I’m going and what I’m about to do. Like you said, I have a bunch of different angles that i can take it. But I love a really good party. I love to dance, I love to get down, I love to watch people get down.Just expect an extreme dance party.

Well I think that’s about all I have, thank you so much and can’t wait to see you play this weekend.

My pleasure, thanks for calling.

About The Author

Michael Fritz

Michael Fritz, Jr. is a former intern at Creative Loafing Tampa and a sophomore at the University of Tampa, where he's studying writing and economics.

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