Richie Meldrum
Richie Meldrum

New Zealand glitch-hop producer Opiuo, has his parents to thank, at least in part, for setting him off on his chosen career path. It was at their house parties back in the day that he first started DJing and it was on their computer that he first tried his hand at electronic production.

It’s nice to have your family behind you, but these days the 25-year old is doing pretty well on his own thank you very much mum and dad. Later this year he will head over to the US for a tour that includes a gig at the legendary Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert as well as more releases, remixes and an album on the horizon. It’s quite an achievement for Opiuo and he cites a move to Melbourne 5 years ago as the catalyst his music needed. “I didn’t really take it seriously until I got to Melbourne. When I was in New Zealand it was a lot smaller scene and a lot harder to get anywhere as people kind of kept it quite closed.” He says. “Whereas here, everyone is up for anyone who is doing anything they’re into. It helps a lot. There are a lot more people doing it as well, so you can find a bit of a niche or people you are going to get along with a lot more. You can play to a lot more people and there are a more artists coming through, so you can meet people from overseas and question them about how they do things”

Since relocating, he’s found some kindred spirits, meeting other artists who share his passion for production, although there aren’t many coming up with the same style or tempo of his own work, which he himself struggles to define. “The first electronic music that I listened to was trance and I really enjoyed the sounds and stuff that was in there. So my music is kind of like a trance-induced-hippo-hop-kinda breaks- wobbly bass-adventure. I don’t really know how to explain it but hat’s kind of where I put it. It gets classed as anywhere form dubstep to glitch-hop. I don’t really have a genre at the moment I suppose”

He seems to realise for the first time. Although the Opiou project has only been performed live for the past 9 months, using laptops controllers, synths and production software Ableton Live to bring it all to the dance floor, he’s already played a fair few festivals, clubs in nearly every state in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. However, it’s the forthcoming US tour that Opiou is really looking forward to; an opportunity that came to him on the strength of his releases which have gone down well stateside where glitch-hop and mid tempo realm music has a strong following.

“I’ve never really pushed myself hardcore,” he admits, ”It’s kind of just come about. I’ve kind of applied for a few festivals and that kind of thing. But recently it’s all coming towards me pretty much. The only time I really have to go searching is when I’ve had one or two shows overseas and I’ve had to fill in the gaps.”

Perhaps the reluctance for self-promotion comes from an allegiance to the underground, which eschews such commercial exploits. “I prefer to stay in that realm. I like underground music. The whole sell-out thing makes sense. You don’t want to do it just for the money or anything like that.“

Although if a major label came knocking, would they get an instant knockback? “I would love to do it but I wouldn’t ever compromise my sound,” is his response. “But I wouldn’t say no to it because it would be pretty cool to get that music out there.”