Whatchu say, Oren J.?
It’s this time of year that brings home so much talent and energy, and Shake & Pop at thirytyninehotel is usually the first place everyone congregates. The party, with its cross-genre blend of music, is the beacon for any stylie who just wants to dance and have fun. The Kicks Hawaii crew, stylist Lindsey Higa and DJ Zilla reminded me why I can never go wrong by popping upstairs to this event when I saw them dancing their faces off. Outside, I found Hawaii-raised Oren J. of Silver Medallion and asked him about his current projects and how his year went in 2012.
CW: Daniel Gray [owner of SoHo] and I had a lot of fun promoting your show at The Loft back in 2009. The electro hip hop was something we both could easily identify with, not really being married to any one genre. When you’re writing music, is there anything that influences you?
OJ: I’m big on trying to communicate the angst of my generation in my music. I feel that that influence has changed over the last few years as well, from a generation partying and embracing EDM music to escap[ing their] sort of problems of the day . . . morality and digital/chemical issues of life in 2012.
CW: Can you tell me more about who you are recording with here?
OJ: I’m out here, recording with a producer I work with from New York, DJ Fresh Direct. We just put out a project called Xanaxland, about New York City girls who go down the rabbit hole into nightlife [and are] generally degenerate. When we’re working together, we try to break out of the genres we’re pigeonholed in; he’s known for trap, [while] I’m known for singing on electro, but together we’ve been making indie rock, electronic [and] psychedelic music that’s fun and exciting for both of us.
CW: You’ve had a busy year. Any highlights?
OJ: My single, “Stay Young,” was the biggest thing I’ve ever dropped, and we put that out this fall, got radio play in 20 markets . . . it was all over the internet [and] all the club DJs we’re playing it wherever I went. That felt awesome. Hollywood Life called me “The Next Avicii” which was humorous (I’m in a different lane) but very flattering. My first time showcasing at SXSW was this year and great, I got to open for Diplo right before he went on during Ultra with Benzi . . . got played on BBC Radio One; this has literally been the best year of my life.
CW: What are your plans for 2013?
OJ: More music, more touring, more videos, more nights waking up to the sunrise, more long talks with interesting people.
Catch Oren’s DJ set at #CheckIn, Wednesday night at SoHo Mixed Media Bar, and download his latest EP Xanaxland at [silvermedallion.net].