“I HAVE NO LEGACY”: ODDISEE ON THE INTENTIONS BEHIND HIS DECADE-LONG CAREER
Any Oddisee fans can agree his profound music has taken them places. Now it’s bringing the US-American rapper back to New Zealand with his band Good Compny, supported by Olivier St. Louis and NZ’s own Melodownz.
With arms open to touring and ears tuned into culture, Oddisee has adopted a worldly outlook to admire. Following the release of studio-recorded “The Iceberg” and live album “Beneath the Surface” in 2017, Oddisee and Good Compny have played over 150 shows worldwide, and we expect that his return to our shores will be his biggest NZ shows yet.
We had a quick cyber chat with Oddisee before this weekend’s shows, to hear his thoughts on his long-running trajectory; where he has worn multiple creative hats, invigorated intense topics and reached so many people and places.
Your music is well-known to be based on observation, of politics, society, oneself and so on. What perspective are you viewing the world in right now?
Honestly since the birth of my daughter and my tour schedule I’ve been out of the loop. I dedicated a lot of subject matter to social issues on the last album. Since then I’ve been focused on my family and business.
The themes you address are not at all light-hearted, yet you manage to bring them together so eloquently to be well received by your listeners. How has music been an effective vessel for these messages you hope to portray?
I think music helps people digest ideas with ease. Melody has a way of disarming us. Allowing us to hear ideas we would otherwise be turned of to.
It’s no easy feat to maintain the longevity you have as a creative in an industry which has adopted a somewhat disposable and hard-to-please nature. How do you continue to cut through the noise?
I’ve never been concerned with the “noise”. I’ve been fortunate to have a consistent following of people are happy to support my work. That’s all I can ask for.
Balancing between a producer and lyricist makes for an interesting career, with the joys and challenges of continuously creating. Do you find yourself wearing completely different hats for each discipline or are their creative processes rather fluid and complementary?
I look at my process as hip-hop music and not so much as beats & rhymes. They share the same space to me and one never outweighs the other to me. They simply compliment one another.
You performed solo on your previous Alwasta tour in 2015, this time around we will see you and your band Good Compny. Progressing from solo to band can have major influences on a project, what changes can we expect to see with your current set?
My music live takes on such a new form. Having the ability to rework songs for the live experience offers a flexibility that I enjoy and hope the crowd will too.
You’ve visited New Zealand a few times, the last time being 2015, and we really appreciate when our favourite artists continue to loop us in despite our down-under location. It seems like you’ve got a kick for travel, and beyond the protocols of a touring musician - is your personal travelling experience a priority on tour?
I wish it could be. I do my best to make time to be a tourist but often times it just isn’t possible. Whenever there is a moment, my camera & I hit the town.
It is not only NZ’s clean, green landscapes where many can find solace from the mainstream, but also its unique melting pot of culture, creativity and people. Your 2010 release Traveling Man showed us just how inspiring cultures are to you, is there anything memorable you’ve absorbed from your previous trips to NZ?
I really love the absence of pretentiousness I see in NZ. From successful business owner to student, everyone I’ve encountered seems so down to earth.
With a captivating charisma, dense discography and years of experience under your belt, it’s undeniable that you have become a very well-respected artist. What do you wish your legacy to be?
I have no legacy. It’s not up to me what I’m remember for and being remembered won’t matter when I’m dead. I’m doing my best to make mine and the lives of my family the best I can while I’m still breathing. Whatever people take away from my efforts is more about them and for them than it is for me.
Catch Oddisee and Good Compny live this Friday, December 7th at the Powerstation in Auckland; Saturday, December 8th at San Fran in Wellington; and Sunday, December 9th at Sol Lounge in Hawke’s Bay. Tickets available at www.oddiseetour.nz.