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OTM at the "December to Remember Holiday Extravaganza"
Photo credit:
Kayla Goldfarb

Engineering the Organik Time Machine

Do you want to feel like you’re blasting off into a big beautiful universe, full of fun and trippy sounds that are sure to tickle and delight your senses? Of course you do! Listen and let go as you slip into a trance of futuristic sounds from the one and only Organik Time Machine, an incredible electronic fusion rock band from Southern Oregon.

OTM began in 2007 with friends Jessie Ostreicher (drums, programming, sampling) and Cory Harrell (keys, synth). They started by jamming together and playing house parties in Southern Oregon and eventually started writing songs together, and by 2009 they had formed a full band together with Matt Grubb (guitar) and Veronica DeWitt (bass, synth, and vocals). Nowadays the four-piece band plays large festivals across the country and is well known on the west coast by their fans.

“Organik Time Machine is a four piece group based out of Southern Oregon, that blurs the lines between live and electronic music. Fusing live drums, guitar, keys and synths with there own electronic produced tracks, the band creates a sound that is all there own. Creating music that crosses boundaries and defies genres. Fusing songs with mood, emotion and atmosphere with bass heavy beat driven tracks that are sure to get the dance floor moving. With the use of live instruments and cutting edge electronic instruments the band retains the feel of a live band and can move from exploratory live improvisation to crushing electronic grooves in a matter of seconds, creating a sound that is electronic and organik all at the same time!”

Their tracks have a funky space vibe that makes their sound quite unique. They use electronic beats along with sampling stuff into their songs, for example the track “Frequent Voyage” has some Notorious B.I.G. vocals in it. Jessie runs all the loops and samples from the laptop from behind the drum set and triggers them all live. It is quite impressive all of the thought and work that goes into creating this special sound.

On December 1, 2012 I had the pleasure of hearing OTM live at the Rogue Valley Messenger’s “December to Remember Extravaganza”. OTM played before the headliner, Random Rab, and I couldn’t help but notice that the energy for OTM was large and in charge. I myself could not stop smiling and dancing while listening to them rock out. They take their audience to another planet, and this is one I had never been to before. The tantalizing vibes from their instruments combined with the soothing yet exciting electronic sounds made me feel like I was floating into a beautiful trance. I would highly recommend seeing this band live, as it is sure to be a blissful experience.

I interviewed Jessie Ostreicher, who is an original member and also the drummer, programmer and sampler from Organik Time Machine:

How did you come up with the name Organik Time Machine?
The name started with the idea of organic and machine being so opposite, and I think it is kind of a representation of life on earth. We live in a world of duality; it is part of our being. Light, dark, Life, death, good, bad. Whether we like it or not its what the world we live in is based on. And all of us in the band are into spiritual and metaphysical subjects, so it’s a play on words but also a representation of us as a group. It’s kind of a fun yet deep name at the same time.

How would you describe OTM’s style of music?
Hmmm that is a hard one. It is definitely different. It’s a mix between live and electronic music. We have drums, guitar, bass and keys all played live but also mix in elements of electronic with the use of computers and ableton live. Its definitely dance music, it’s meant to get people moving. But it is also music with emotion and movement. We don't like to stick to one style or genre or limit ourselves in that way. It can go from beautiful live instrumental stuff, to heavy synth bass lines and dance beats, to rock, hip hop, glitch, dub step, jammy stuff, and its all part of what we do. I guess the best way to describe it is live electronica.

How did the band form?
Well Cory and I started writing music together around the beginning of 2007. It came pretty easy when we would play together and we were both having a lot of fun doing it. We wanted to do something different from all the other music around the valley, something no one else was doing. We started out playing house parties for friends here in Ashland. Eventually moving on to bars around town. We found people were really enjoying what we were doing and we loved playing it. So we've been doing it ever since and from there Its been a gradual process since then of playing bigger shows and farther places as the years go on.

If you were to compare yourself to any band, which would it be?

Well I don't think we necessarily sound like anyone else, but id say we have a similar style and approach to music to bands like STS9, Lotus or the Disco Biscuits.

Who inspires you (musically), personally?
We all listen to so many different styles of music and I think each member brings that influence with them. We really all love music, it’s our life. And we listen to every kind of music imaginable and although it may not all come out in our sound per say, all of it influences the way we play or write in some way. And I’d say what influences our music personally is life, and our love of it. Doing what we love, creating, and sharing it. I think everything we've done in this lifetime affects our music. We play music from the heart, for the reason that we truly love it. It brings us so much joy and to see moments where it does the same for other people, that is the most inspiring. Art and music are truly magic!

How do the new songs differ from your older material?
Well it has definitely changed over the years but, I’d say the music has grown more than anything. It’s still all built on the same sound we were doing when we first started writing together. I think it’s gotten more complex, fuller over the years. When we first started, it was a bit more of a loose, funky, jammy style with an electronic dance element to it. And we still play all those songs and love them. We still love to incorporate the older pretty instrumental stuff with the newer heavy dance stuff, and we still write songs in both those styles.
But over the years we've grown as a band and musicians, and also introduced the laptops and Ableton live into our set up which really has opened so many creative doors in our sound and songwriting. We now can write loops, samples and stuff like that which we use to trigger live into our songs. So we can add this more electronic, sound to our style. The loops can be anything from heavy synth bass lines, to glitchy backing drum beats, vocal samples etc. And when we take that and mix it with us playing our instruments it creates a very unique and full sound. So the sound and songs have really built on themselves, so now we can go from us just playing our instruments, or doing improv, to playing songs that are more electronic and with heavy bass and beats. And being able to go back and forth from the old and new material really allows us to create a unique show.

Do you have any shows or tours coming up?
We do actually, were spending this first part of the year just writing new material and practicing together. Maybe doing some local shows here or there. Then at the end of February were doing and after party for the STS9 show in Eugene on February 23d, and heading out on a two week tour of the East Coast from there. It is the first time we've played on the east coast so were all very excited to get out there!

Where do you see OTM headed in the future?
We will continue to grow like we have over the years. It’s been an amazing journey, and this past year has been one of the best. We have gotten to travel farther and play some of the biggest shows of our career. We put out our new album in October which we are all very proud of and I think we would all love to see it continue to grow and evolve. Keep writing new music, bigger shows, and keep playing as many parts of the country as we can! We just want to keep doing what we love, making music together and making people dance!

 

Photos: Organik Time Machine, Kayla Goldfarb