Official Season Opening: OTTO

OTTO. S18/19: The Beginning

September is a good start for a fresh clubbing season in Vilnius when everyone is ready to show off their secret weapons for the upcoming year. This time Kablys + Club made a pleasant surprise by hosting OTTO as the leading artist for the alternative electronics stage, one of the three stages that club opens every year featuring different dance music genres. Since the first glance at the announcement of the program we knew that it was a great opportunity to learn more about OTTO, a project run by two meisters of synths Cid Hohner and Alexader Arpeggio, who is also the founder of Eine Welt and Mond Music labels. We brought them together to share their experiences about the project and adventures they had along with it.

Q: OTTO isn’t your first musical collaboration, you used to work together under such names as Vera Mona and Aufgang B. Nevertheless, OTTO seems to be the most well known project amongst listeners. We would love to know more about the backstory of how OTTO was started.

Alex: OTTO was never meant to be a project or live act. Cid and me decided to make music together and so we found ourselves in our first live project called Vera Mona. It was Cid, Eva Geist (Andrea Noce) and me. It was a very nice project where we played a few festivals and shows. Sadly we never recorded anything properly. Before Vera Mona, Cid and I were recording some darker acidish jams at home already. Aufgang B was born. While working on these dark tracks we had to get also some light in our hearts. Cid and me have a very strong love for disco, italo and psychedelic library tunes also. We had the electronic home organs in our studio and were jamming on those for fun. We found the outcome pretty interesting. Recorded that and so OTTO was born.

Cid: We knew each other since some years before but only came in closer contact and started immediately working together, when Alex once passed by and saw and played my old trusty Yamaha organ, that we mostly made our first record with. Actually, we were surprised that someone would want to release that kind of stuff.

Q: Our favourite tracks from your latest release Stimmungen are “Idyll” and “Rhytmus”. Could you share the concept you had in mind while producing this release or was it a spontaneous act of creativity?

Alex: For “Rhytmus” the story is that Cid and I always wanted to make a track which is a massive groove track with one of our rhythm boxes and just marches like a rail steam locomotive. After we experimented with vocal effects and some drum machines we had the base of the track done. Then we did some toppings with String machines and the track was there. With “Idyll” I don’t remember so well…..I guess there were some Joints involved.

Cid: It’s like a way of working and an attitude with this project that we translated in a pseudo concept for the last record by actually describing what we already had musically when finishing the record. Aspects like imaginable movie scenes came up again and again while doing music for me ever since, and it can help a lot grasping the feeling and needs of a track or song. The tracks themselves were all done rather spontaneously, though.

Q: This is your second time in Lithuania as OTTO. What’s been your experience with the local music scene so far?

Alex: For me, Lithuanian music scene is one of the best in the world. Everything feels true and real. The people are open for all sorts of music and I always have the feeling the music is resorbed like in a sponge. It’s a great feeling because you experience very often that people are not really at the party to listen to music. It’s more like talking and showing off. This is not why we make and play live. We want to reach people’s emotions and in Lithuania it always feels that we connect with the people. It’s just the best feeling you can experience when you are a musician…

Cid: My experiences are pretty much bound to the efforts of Matas and Manfredas. That gave me a very good picture, but I assume it’s only a little insight. I definitely have the feeling that music that sounds more interesting to me is accepted by a wider audience in Lithuania, than it would be the case in Germany. Also, the underground scene feels very open and honest to me. Very simple and unpretentious.