Q & A: Omegachild
Omegachild is easily the most inventive artist currently in the country. Labelled as a ‘one-man-machine’, the multi-faceted and multi-instrumentalist is fuelled by the future—from tech to music. His ideas come to synthetic life and on Fifth Dimension, he weaves a dystopia future amongst an incredible song. We speak about the future, if technology has helped or hindered him and his musical processes.
What’s the process of piecing a song like Fifth Dimension together with you playing every instrument?
With most of my music, it comes down to capturing an intense feeling in the moment that gives me goosebumps. This usually involves finding an inspiring sound, progression or beat and building an intense climax first, then I work backwards from there. Fifth Dimension started with a drone and a bass line. The harmonic structure of the song was recorded in one take. A melody popped into my head and I sang the verse and chorus in tongues from start to finish. Once I’ve got some gibberish down I listen to it over and over and try to figure out what I’m singing. If you listen to a phrase on repeat for a few minutes it starts to sound like something else. I try to get in a state of meditation with it and the subconscious reveals things.
What other ideas are going to be explored on the debut album?
With the ‘Postcards’ soundtrack, I wrote in India it was all about capturing the feeling in the moment while surrounded by the epic scenery of the Himalayas. The EP I released after that was written while developing the live setup and focusses around the energy of those shows.
The new album, ‘Youtopia’, comes from living in and observing the blur between the real world and the virtual for the last couple of years. Living in an apartment, exisiting mostly in the virtual world, witnessing the narcissism, the clash of world views and being addicted to social media. The addition of lyrics and vocals for the first time allowed me to explore the concepts properly. The meaning is still revealing itself to me. For example, the first single, Fifth Dimension, has a whole new layer of meaning I’m discovering after it was paired with the video concept.
The video is really something else. Anyone else you have to give a special mention for its creation?
My brother from another mother, Manny J Cole. We’ve collaborated in the past and are on the same wavelength in terms of our view of the world and appreciation of art and music.
I had a vision of two people making love while wearing VR headsets and I wanted that in a music video. Manny and I bounced Ideas and he really brought the whole thing to life with his stream of consciousness style of imagery and storytelling. It feels like a short film rather than a music video and I like that. I’d also like to give a shout out to the actors Mercury Mowen and Luke Sartor for taking on such demanding roles and immersing themselves in that world.
What do you envision our future to be and how does technology play a part in it?
It’s hard to tell what the future holds. I didn’t envision the tech we have today while playing snake on my Nokia or rewinding my walkman. I think, in general, we will merge with tech even more. The neural lace idea sounds very interesting and could be the thing we need to keep up with AI. I feel this will open up new artistic possibilities.
I’ve recently been working for a Brisbane based AI music company funded by Silicon Valley investors. I believe AI will be the next biggest thing to change the music industry. It will push humans to come up with new ideas we can’t imagine right now.
Has technology helped or hindered your progression an artist?
It has definitely helped me. I can write and perform everything solo and essentially clone myself into a computer to allow that to happen. There will always be something magical when a group of musicians are in sync on stage but I’m finding it very exciting exploring the idea of challenging myself to do everything. When I started to experiment with the idea of playing my music live I wanted to keep as busy as possible while also trying to extend myself into the tech around me. The parts I can’t play live have still had my hand on it at some point so technology has allowed me to present that, trigger the lights, projection and mix the audio. I just need a robot to carry all the gear around now.
Could you potentially see VR playing a positive role in how music in experienced?
I’d like to experiment with virtual reality film clips in the future. We will probably see more live experiences available to watch in VR. Where I think it could be more exciting is with mixed reality. Once the tech becomes cheaper I’d like to experiment with giving the audience a mixture of live and virtual experiences at the same time.
How does the Omegachild experience cross over to the live stage?
The ‘one-man-machine’ live show is always evolving. Now I’m playing drums, keys, samples and singing at the same time. For me It’s a fine line balancing between a meditative experience and total chaos. The aim of the live show is to push myself to the limit and try to give people an experience they’ve never had before. Once all the music is written in the studio, I spend hours figuring out how to play it live. It’s not possible to play everything all the time so there are elements I’ve recorded as well as lighting and projections I’ve automated. I’m jamming with my digital self.