John Odin Existing in the End Game, Finding Your Sound & Taking Risk
Featured image by @dyanbugay
John Odin captivates audiences with his dynamic performances locally and abroad, pushing music boundaries while inspiring the next generation through authentic artistry. Despite a busy schedule and time zone differences during our initial exchange, we still got to make this informative interview.
In this captivating edition of our esteemed Featured Artist of the Month series, we embark on a fascinating journey into the intricate minds of Filipino DJs. As we explore their unique perspectives on various issues and sources of inspiration, we are delighted to showcase the extraordinary talent of John Odin. This virtuoso artist has carved a distinctive path in the music industry, captivating audiences globally with mesmerizing performances and an unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries. Renowned for his electrifying stage presence and an artistic vision that resonates with the zeitgeist, he has captivated audiences in esteemed cities like Tokyo and Zurich, leaving an indelible mark across international territories, including Paris, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and Switzerland.
John Odin’s journey in Paris: From Techno to Harder Beats
During our recent talk, John Odin revealed that his visit to Paris was not his first. He had previously played there in 2019, primarily showcasing Techno. However, upon his return a few weeks ago, he decided to experiment with a harder sound with Hard Techno. This evolution in his music reflects his adaptability and willingness to explore new horizons while staying true to his artistic vision.
The Invitation to Paris: A Collective Effort
John Odin’s invitation to play in Paris was the result of his involvement with Elements, an esteemed global collective that carefully selects representatives for their events. From large-scale superclubs to intimate indoor and outdoor venues, Elements has been instrumental in securing international bookings for John Odin since 2018. They also facilitated his performances in Japan and Bangkok in 2023, highlighting the collective’s role in supporting and promoting talented artists.
The Nuances with Commercial and Underground Music
John Odin emphasizes the importance of challenging the crowd and introducing them to new sounds, drawing attention to the desire among the younger generation for new and unconventional music experiences. He believes that Filipino club-goers long for events similar to Burning Man, UItra, Afterlife, Electric Forest, and the like. When local organizers, productions attempt to bring that experience and music format to the broader more commercial audience in the Philippines, it could be more impactful than its current state [hoping for early attendance, more interest in earlier acts, not just headliners, bigger volume once gates open, open-mindedness to other artists that aren’t commercially known].
“Our scene is full of life because of the amount of talent we have. There’s an abundance of artists here, skilled in set building and curation of songs, whatever you want to call it. We are a majority commercial-driven scene, and again, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that sometimes artists don’t attempt to challenge the crowd. This isn’t always the DJ’s fault; venues need to make money, and deviating from the expected formula risks not giving people what they want to hear.
It’s hard to keep that balance of risk vs. business. I’m sure lots of mainstream venues here want to deviate a bit and give the DJ a bit more freedom but of course some they have to also be mindful of revenue to keep the place afloat.
There are numerous venues and events that cater to non-commercial music, lucky for us the country has diversity. There’s no need to worry about how deep the sound could go. They hold a solid following and attendance but at the same time they too worry about the business side as well. It really is a challenge for everyone.
Do you think it’s a cultural thing [regrading familiar music]?
Yes, the general public is very much invested in the music they know. There are certain memories tied to it. It’s great to be invested in music. My thoughts about it are: you already hear it on Spotify a million times over and at home [pretty cool to hear it outside too with your friends]. I believe it would be nice to hear something fresh and new coupled with songs they already know, and it’s the DJ’s job to do that. But again, I guess it’s culture.
“I can still remember when they thought Dubstep and EDM was noise. A good number of people were like, ‘It’s too loud or too heavy.’ At the time, EDM was already being played abroad. House or Techno was a bit monotonous / repetitive for some groups and yet so many of these commercial and underground genres were celebrated widely by the general audience abroad. There were some moments we were a bit behind compared globally because of the current local demand.
“There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, but it becomes an issue personally when abused.” I believe that a DJ’s job is not to be a jukebox. You challenge the crowd. You introduce them to something new. That’s what makes being a DJ great. You’re performing for them. This is cliché, but you take them on a journey, quote unquote.”
This is just my observation to be honest. I don’t speak for everyone.
The Role of Culture and Music Appreciation
John Odin acknowledges the cultural context that influences Filipinos’ music preferences, where familiarity and nostalgia often drive their choices. However, he emphasizes the need for variety and exposure to new music to enhance the overall music appreciation. While the current generation may have shorter attention spans, John Odin urges them to invest time in exploring new music and encourages DJs to challenge the crowd’s expectations. By creating a more relevant and diverse experience, DJs can help elevate the music scene in the Philippines, fostering a deeper appreciation for different genres and pushing the boundaries of what is considered mainstream.
Furthermore, John Odin’s statement, “Don’t ever be afraid to take risks. I’m sure there are songs you want to play but are hesitant to play because you might not get the reaction you want. Give it a shot,” embodies his belief in the power of artistic experimentation and pushing boundaries. He inspires fellow artists to step out of their comfort zones and embrace their creative instincts, even if it means deviating from the expected or popular choices. John Odin recognizes that artists often have songs in their repertoire that they genuinely love and believe in but hesitate to play due to uncertainty about the audience’s response. However, he urges them to overcome their apprehensions and take the leap. By introducing new and unfamiliar sounds, artists have the potential to surprise and captivate their audience, opening up fresh experiences and forging deeper connections.
John Odin’s message serves as a reminder that the most memorable moments in music often arise from bold choices and genuine artistic expression. By daring to play those songs that resonate with their passion, artists can create transformative experiences for themselves and their audience. While the reaction may not always be immediate or predictable, embracing risk-taking allows for growth and innovation, ultimately pushing the boundaries of creativity in the music scene and inspiring others to do the same.
The Power of Social Media in Today’s Music Landscape
John Odin recognizes the opportunities afforded by social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which enable artists to share their music more easily and reach a wider audience. He notes the convenience and speed at which artists can now connect with their audience, highlighting how these platforms have revolutionized the music industry. Although John Odin admits that he is not particularly adept at social media, he acknowledges its competitive nature and the importance of staying visible and present to attract bookings and engage with supporters.
Inspiring the Next Generation: Taking Risks and Digging for New Music
John Odin’s message to the next generation of artists is clear: don’t be afraid to take risks. He encourages them to play the songs they believe in, even if they worry about the audience’s reaction. In addition, he emphasizes the significance of constantly exploring new music and maintaining a distinct sound. John Odin believes that finding your sound as an artist is an essential aspect of your musical identity. He emphasizes that it is crucial to develop a distinct sound that sets you apart from others. In his own words, John Odin states, “Finding your sound, you hear this advice over and over again. To me what this means is you have to play with intent. You don’t just pick a genre and go ham then “okay this is my sound” You have to present it in a way that it’s you picking up that brush and painting that canvas. Not just playing fresh out of the box. Curate, flip, remix, edit, weave, play with progression, build the energy. Just present it in a way that it speaks YOU”
By creating a unique sonic signature, artists can carve out their own niche and leave a lasting impression on listeners. John Odin encourages aspiring DJs and producers to put in the effort to discover their individual sound, as it is the key to standing out in a crowded industry.
Appreciating Artistry and Creating Awareness
When asked about the impact of his social media presence and the efforts he invests in creating engaging reels and stories on platforms like Instagram, John Odin humbly acknowledges the positive feedback he receives from his supporters. He hopes that his presence on social media could inspire some artists, encouraging aspiring artists to embark on their own artistic paths. By showcasing his performances and sharing his journey through reels and stories, John Odin hopes to provide those seeking valuable insights and guidance.
Furthermore, John Odin suggests that established artists should embrace current trends and leverage social media platforms to increase their visibility and gain more bookings. He highlights three key tips for artists to enhance their social media presence:
- Stay true to yourself and your artistic vision. Let your personality and unique style shine through in your social media content.
- Create a regular posting schedule and stick to it. Whether it’s sharing updates, behind-the-scenes moments, or snippets of new music, consistency helps keep your audience engaged and builds reliability.
- Interact with your audience by responding to comments, joining conversations, and supporting fellow artists. Foster a sense of community and genuine connections to grow a loyal following and open doors to new opportunities.
John Odin’s Final Thoughts and Lessons for the Next Generation
In closing, John Odin imparts his final message to the next generation of DJs and producers, urging them to remain dedicated to their craft and strive for uniqueness. He encourages them to meticulously curate their song selections and relentlessly pursue a distinct sound. Although the journey may pose challenges, he firmly believes that staying true to one’s artistic vision ultimately leads to success. By continuously pushing boundaries and introducing novel experiences to the audience, John Odin aspires to witness a more competitive and diverse music scene in the Philippines. As we celebrate John Odin as our Featured Artist of the Month, we recognize his unwavering passion, dedication, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of the music scene. His willingness to take risks and challenge the status quo serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists, underscoring the significance of prioritizing artistry and creativity in the ever-evolving music industry. With his unique sound and electrifying performances, John Odin undeniably stands as an artist to watch in the new generation.