Brisbane DJ and Producer Harry Hope is better known across the nation as ODD MOB. Since breaking out in 2015, with hit single ‘Is It A Banger?’, he has headlined shows around the country. His particular style of bass pumping music has ignited dancefloors for years. However, over the past 18 months he has shifted away from the conventional house style that made him famous. Working towards a debut album, he has looked at his music as an avenue for artistic and creative exploration. Coming off 2018’s appropriately named Testing Grounds tour, he has begun pushing himself, experimenting with what he was capable of as an artist.
“My girlfriend, now fiancé, told me ‘Harry I think you can do a lot more than you’re doing right now’. It just dawned on me that I was holding myself back a little bit based on these expectations that I had in my head as to what I should be doing or what I was capable of. Maybe I am my own worst enemy,” mused Hope.
With a newfound creative drive, Hope has looked to a full-length album to push his boundaries. While he rose to prominence through singles, he felt there was a sense that songs had to be palatable to a general audience. Within the context of the album, he is free to explore different sound textures, song lengths and genres. He is free to create a six minute instrumental track for the album, or a three minute pop single for the radio. An example of this is his latest single, released earlier this month, ‘All Of Your Heart’. He believes it is the most pop sounding song of his to date. With ODD MOB listening to artists like ODEZA, citing their “middle-range pop stuff” as a direct influence, it is hard to dispute.
“I had the vocals down for a while and originally the track was like 135bpm. All it had was like a fat bassline underneath the vocals, but one day I just created those chords underneath the tune. That was the basis of that pop-euphoric kind of sound.”
The album will feature a more down tempo version of the song, fitting into the larger tone of the album. This tone can be defined by brightness, colour and, most importantly, euphoria. While exploring creativity and pushing his artistic limitations is what drove him to make an album, there is an influence that is more emotionally felt that is behind this new sound. Hope is channelling a series of paintings that his grandfather created. These paintings not only represent his new direction, but also allow him to include a personal touch in his music. These paintings now make up the album artwork for Hope’s music, including ‘All Of Your Heart’.
“He’s in his 80s and he’s a bit loopy, but he’s always been an inspirational character for me. He’s just a loopy inventor kind of guy, always trying to create new things. My grandma bought him this huge fluorescent light so he could paint from the hours of midnight till 4 in the morning and he’s just been working at this crazy pace. He created all of these paintings, almost 100 different paintings, and now we have this huge plethora of art that’s bright, colourful and really abstract that we’re going to be using for all this upcoming music,” described Hope. “It’s very distinctly him and it’s really special to me that I can include him with the stuff I’ve been doing.”
The music emulates this abstract art. Hope is utilising new techniques, such as a lot of delay, to create what he describes as a “slightly nostalgic but bright and futuristic kind of sound.” To mimic the bright, colourful art he is similarly saturating his music, filling it with lots of different elements happening all at once. It is euphoria driven music that expands out into a “larger than life” soundscape. Hope describes it as “space-house”. He is also trying to incorporate the spirit of his grandfather’s art into his live shows. Where previously an ODD MOB was a thrilling and intense DJ set, Harry wants to create a more distinct experience. This includes incorporating synthesisers, drum pads and visuals to mimic the new creative tone of the album.
“I’m trying to create this kind of whole package experiences of visuals, live show and album. Tying everything together throughout the process has been pretty difficult but also very important to have an overarching link between everything.”
ODD MOB is set the play at the Cromwell College Bunker in Brisbane tonight. For a taste of Hope’s creative exploration, check out ‘All Of Your Heart’ on all online streaming platforms here: https://oddmob.lnk.to/AOYH.