By Danny DeGennaro and Sean Tuohy
Miami is, by its very nature, scuzzy, gaudy, intoxicating, and driven by hedonistic, selfish principles. One can either denounce the city, or draw inspiration from it. Otto von Schirach, like some ultra-zealous sexual anthropologist, drinks deeply from Miami's sewer water reservoir.
That his songs deal with debauchery isn't to say they aren't sincere. On the contrary, von Schirach's obsession with putting the squish and the viscera back into music and art is indicative of someone who's honestly interested in exploring the physical and psychological impact of relationships. For every errant beat, every tempo change, every breakneck yelp, the listener is pushed into self-awareness. His music demands user input, particularly when there's a funky ass break. Booties will most definitely shake. When von Schirach cites a Prince song, it's not to debase the original; it's to elevate it, to demonstrate that the high and the low aren't far apart, but one in the same.
I'll never forget my first real foray into Miami. I was outside of a tattoo parlor that was selling beer inside. My friend and I were both too young to drink by about a year, so we moped around the entrance, taking hateful swigs of rum out of a bottle we had brought. We got in my car and drove to get Mexican food while I played "Subatomic Disco Divas" at a volume that could induce spontaneous bowel movements. Otto von Schirach's music, for me, will always be a hazy ride up I-95 with all sense of responsibility blissfully, temporarily forgotten.
Do yourself a favor, read Sean Tuohy's interview with von Schirach and then gobble up all of his work if you haven't already.
Sean Tuohy: Who influenced you early on in your career?
OVS: Cuban Folklore and Miami Nights, Morton Subotnick, Eazy E, Impetigo, Tom Waits, Vic da Kid. Too many to choose.
ST: When did you know that music was going be your calling?
OVS: In 1989 when I DJ'ed my first house party. It was around midnight and the wall of woofer was sizzling. I put the needle on the record, and felt the earth shake.
ST: How did you get your start in the music business?
OVS: I started selling beats in the neighborhood, but before that I was a DJ for house parties.
ST: Your music is a very unique sound that can be difficult to describe to someone who have never heard it before. How do you describe your own music to people?
OVS: A journey to the center of the Bermuda Triangle where you find sound vibrations that make you feel groovy.
ST: What drove you to create your avant-booty bass music?
OVS: I wanted to see earthlings freak their booty in a very avant-garde way!
ST: What is your creative process like? Do you have any rituals?
OVS: There are many secrets to the triangle. I use rituals. They help me express more emotion and capture more magic in the recordings.
ST: You are deeply connected to your hometown of Miami. Do you draw any inspiration for your music from the Magic City?
OVS: So much...
ST: What effect, if any, did your cultural background have on your music?
OVS: Being raised Cuban, with big hints of Germanic blood, gave me a proper dose of weird.
ST: Besides your one of kind sound you have some of the most interesting song titles. Where do you come with song titles?
OVS: Usually, the song tells me its name as I create it. The songs usually tell me some bizarre, unique name, so I just roll with it.
ST: You have this over the top on stage personality that really brings your live show to a whole another level. How much of that is you and how much of that is an act?
OVS: It's all real. That's all me. I also do gardening at home. That is also me. I do jujitsu. That is also me. I like to do many things. I am blessed.
ST: What does the future hold for Otto von Schirach? Maybe run for mayor of Miami?
OVS: Good idea!
ST: If you had the chance to share the stage with any artist who it be?
OVS: Bruce Haack, Madonna.
ST: Can you tell us one random fact about yourself?
OVS: I study the art and lifestyle of living raw.
ST: You helped crave out a Miami identity with your music and your work with the Miami Bass Warriors. How does that make you feel as a Miami native?