born Omid Walizadeh, O.D. has constructed some of the freshest instrumentals for some of the livliest emcees coming out of Los Angeles. His compilation, "Beneath the Surface" is an album that needs to be listened to. I asked questions.
about the "soundtrack" qualities of his tracks:
Whatever the mood of a beat, I like the beats to create images and colors for the listener, that's why they might sound like they could go good in a movie (which I hope they will someday). And yes, I do like collecting certain soundtrack records, for example the bassline and singing sounds from "sun took a day off" are from a movie soundtrack.
about Awol One's track "Little Piece of Heaven":
"Little piece of heaven" was actually first an instrumental I made for my homie's film, "Firecracker." It was a dramatic movie taking place in a Vietnamese family, hence the Asian vocal sample's in the beat. They actually showed the film on KCET last week. I later showed the beat to Awol One, and he freestyled on it on a four track and sent the tape to me in the mail. I loved what he did, so I took him to the studio and made him re-do the rhymes, which were all actually freestyle.
influences outside of hiphop?
I get inspired by nature a lot, for example walking on the beach or breathing in fresh air on a hike makes me want to transfer that energy
into music. I am also inspired by other types of art, such as paintings by Eyvind Earle, Tim Cantor, Mear one, etc. that make me want to create a beat to fit the visiual image.
has anything changed your whole outlook and made you wonder how different you'd be without it?
Well, the biggest event/music scene that influenced me was the Goodlife Cafe Open Mic (1993-1995), I do wonder once in a while if I would be making the same type of music if I hadn't witnessed and learned from that small hip hop
about the creative process:
There are a lot of different ways, but usually starts with listening to
records and finding nice pieces to play with. But lately I've been trying
to have an idea in mind already or try to plan the way a beat is going to
sound beforehand. I've been also working on developing different beat
styles, so the beat not only stands by itself but a rapper might be
scared to rap on it for fear of being swallowed.
about the future:
I'm working on an instrumental album and a new hip hop album
simultaneously. Me and friend ESP and Marty are also organizing a
compilation (as yet untitled) which will feature local LA jazz heroes
JMD, the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra, and Infiniti Project.
I also did 3 songs on a compilation coming out this month out on the
Japan label Mary Joy called "Tags of the Times 3.0"