As well as groove, Omid brings to the genre a bit of soul and spirituality. In a past interview Omid said, "The records I make are pretty spiritual. I try and absorb my feelings." No better example of this is his biggest single 'Escape (Driving to Heaven)' (2001), which featured the deep, solemn vocals of Richard Morel – perhaps one of the best examples of 'soulful' or 'emotive' progressive house.
Omid is also one of dance music's most egoless characters: he meditates before gigs and he's also the guy who invites everyone back to his hotel for afters. Two of his soulmates are Desyn Masiello and Demi, who together with Omid make up the DJ triad SOS, aka Sex on Substance, best known for their boat antics on the high seas (well actually, just the Thames) and saucy, shit-faced crowds in El Ayoun, Ibiza. The three DJs who emphasise the party rather than the promotion are currently putting together their first SOS mix CD.
Omid also runs the label Sexonwax, home to many of his own productions plus singles by Sycophant Slags (Mr C and Adultnapper) and The Idiots, a collaboration between himself, Desyn Masiello and Leon Roberts. The label has just released the first single 'PSCO' from his forthcoming third album with a second EP 'Changing Change' due out in December.
RA talks to Omid about SOS, his forthcoming third album and the spiritual force behind 16B.
Where's Omid 16B at musically and mentally in 2006?
Sorry I cannot answer this. I’d probably bore you to death. Let's do an interview on this question alone next time.
Okay then. What were the highlights of your summer?
The opening and closing of ElaYoun, Ibiza with SOS and jumping off the highest cliff ever with James Todd. It took forever to come back up to surface so I thought I'd died and come back to life again.
How come you changed from releasing tracks as 16B to Omid 16B? Was it an identity crisis of sorts?
I feel more honest about myself as I'm using the name I've been given with the name I gave my self...I would like to have just kept Omid actually but I realized there was also a hip hop producer in the U.S. called Omid so I kept 16B with my name to avoid any confusion.
His artwork on his first album was identical to my artwork for my second single 'Black Hole' on Eye Q that was released three years ago. I saw this as a good sign that maybe our paths have crossed somewhere spiritually together yet we didn’t know of each other at the time.
If 16B is the ego, Omid is the spirit and spirit always comes first.
Alongside Demi and Desyn Masiello, you are part of Sex on Substance aka SOS. How did you first meet these guys?
I met Des at a mutual friend's 21st birthday party. He was DJing and I was going to put some toons on too. I remember even back then he was so into it so I just gave him my records so he could play them instead. We did an illegal party together three months later in an empty mansion and our friendship grew from there.
Demi I met at the Big Mojo parties me and Des did. He’d come along and listen, and dance hiss ass off before going home with two smiles on his face. It felt like everywhere I was he was and everywhere he was I went. Like with Des it was like a magnetic form of energy that brought us together even in different parts of the world.
You’ve been in the game a fair while longer than the two of them. How does the dynamic between the three of you work?
It's on the paths of a true collective spirit and although I may have had some experiences a little sooner, it hasn’t had anything but a positive effect on the collective because we have all chosen to learn from our approach in the past. Sometimes experience is all that counts.
We are certainly not the first to have realized that feeding the ego doesn’t lead to happiness. But finding what can serve us all equally is a much better and evolved place to be. So when we play together, we play alongside each other. We kind of zone in on each other, and then its like pure synchronized energy bouncing off each other.
I’ve never chased fame and I still continue not to do so. If we as a collective are able to live ordinary and peaceful lives yet touch as many people with our music and love, then I’m happy. It's what we choose. But we certainly aren't doing this for our own individual gain, which is the whole reason SOS began.
Do you feel that you've always had a characteristic sound or has it changed a lot over the years?
In the past, possibly yes, because I never tried to copy anything that I considered really good. I allowed the opening of an envelope to inspire me rather then be the way I open mine. I always tried to find a fresher approach or a different one but not to say I'm different. But mostly because I got bored of things easily and disliked playing it safe. Now I just feel what I'm looking for. I suppose that came when I turned thirty.
I think we all have an individual characteristic that only starts to shine when we get stop idolizing others. Instead we choose to love them for who they are not worship them for what they mean to us personally.
You’ve released two albums in the past. Are you happy with them both in retrospect?
'Sounds From Another Room' was the album I enjoyed making the most. I had complete artistic control and Ben Bodie, the A&R at Eye Q and a close friend, always encouraged my vision rather then warping it with his.
I went through hell and back with 'How to live 100 years' on Hooj Choons. It was a struggle because of all their financial problems. I almost got stuck in the middle of it so it was a very difficult period.
What direction have you taken for your forthcoming third album?
I've thought a lot about this album. I've changed in the way I think so I want nothing but an experience. Whether it's good or bad it's not up to me to decide anymore. I just do what I feel is a true and honest expression of myself. Maybe it will inspire younger and older generations in the same way I have been inspired by them to give instead of taking all the time.
Finally, when was the last time you cried with laughter and what was the cause?
That’s a very good question. I wish we could ask everyone that question at the same time because all our answers would probably be along the same lines.
The last time was when somebody very close to me gave me two tracks he’d been working on. I hadn't heard anything he’d made for some time and these two tracks brought tears to my eyes followed with the laughter of joy as they were so beautiful to listen to.
I'd been wishing good things for him for some time, and getting those tracks gave me the sense that maybe he was learning to love himself more again. That was very emotional.
Omid 16B plays Up at Turnmills this Saturday, November 18, 2006