Although relatively little known in the UK, Australian DJ and producer Ok Sure has been making waves throughout Australasia recently. A creator of sublime downtempo electronica masterpieces, Ok Sure – a moniker that is derived from her real name Akaysha – has been honing her considerable skills for years.
A winner of multiple DJ competitions in her homeland, she is in big demand for remixes, whilst her own original material also gets plenty of airplay on many of the major Aussie radio stations.
Ok Sure also delivers big live performances consisting of downtempo, industrial, dark melodic electronica and DJ sets pulsing with techno, deep house, electronica and whatever else takes the mood. As she launches new EP Anamnesis, we caught up with her to find out more about what makes this Melbourne livewire talent tick…
SYNC: Please tell us a bit of the background, how you first started out as a DJ?
Ok Sure: I actually developed an interest in music production before i started DJ’ing. DJ’ing was a natural progression for the sound I was taking an interest in at that time. I think I was about 14 or 15 years old and I was really getting into Wet Musik, which was a Melbourne techno collective putting on parties and releasing music. One of the guys from it – Will E Tell – was running DJ’ing lessons and I signed up for a four-week course, started buying vinyl, eventually got my own decks and the rest is history!
SYNC: DJ competitions were a big part of your early development – how did those experiences shape your work now and what opportunities did they present?
Ok Sure: I was about 20 years old when I won the Pioneer Pro DJ Search. That feels like such a long time ago! It was a nice confirmation at that age, to feel like I was on the right track. I was probably a bit lost at that stage wondering what to do with my life; Should I study more? Should I travel? Should I focus on music? I ended up doing all three.
SYNC: Who and what have influenced or shaped your sound up to now?
Ok Sure: Unrequited love, relationships, boredom, friends, other artist, procrastination (when I’m meant to be doing other things is always the best time to make music), frustration, life…
SYNC: Tell us a little about the new EP Anamnesis – how have these tracks developed and how long has the EP been in the making?
Ok Sure: I have been making music for a long time under the alias ‘Ok Sure’ with no real direction as to what I was going to do with it or how I was going to release it. It really started as a side project. I was always holding off on doing official releases as I felt I made a lot of mistakes releasing stuff in the past that I ended up hating. I wanted to sit on tracks for a really long time and if I still liked them in 2-3 years then I assumed I might like them in 10…I hoped. I was approached by a label (Upside Music) who where interested in working on a release and I thought it was time I put something out. So, I had A LOT of music sitting there and basically we just went through it all and picked out what we thought was most appropriate for the first EP. I then spent ages polishing off those tracks and trying to get them to all sound coherent – I did all the mixing and mastering on the EP – as some were from four years ago and some were from last year. Obviously my production skills have gotten better so I just had to re-work a few and get them up to scratch.
SYNC: The technical construction of a track like Xylo seems really complex and yet at the same time, it has a simple atmospheric quality. What’s the typical starting point of your production process and how does the sound evolve?
Ok Sure: Oh man, Xylo is probably about three years old, I can’t even remember how that track started. I’m literally working on like ten things at a time, bag most of the ideas then start another ten. Some tracks stick and I end up going back to continue working on them. Xylo was one of those. Honestly I don’t even know how my tracks happen, it’s hours and hours of being on auto pilot at my computer, tweaking this, going through synth sounds, samples, messing around on my keyboard until something just clicks and I roll with it. Sometimes I even listen back to my stuff and I think, how did that happen?!
SYNC: Where does your creative heart lie – creating your own originals or remixing?
Ok Sure: Remixing is fun but I would say originals I’m more passionate about. I think I was doing so many remixes to get stuff out in the world while I was trying to figure out what to do with all my original material. It was a way to release something and get your name out there without having the stress of releasing your own tracks.
SYNC: Which artists have you most enjoyed working with on remixes – and is there anyone who you would particularly like to collaborate with in the future?
Ok Sure: I think my favourite remix I’ve done is the Habits one (Gerger). I was a bit nervous with that one as I’m such a fan of their music and I thought, can I do it justice? But it came out really well and they were happy with it so that was great. Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Arca – imagine collaborating with him… a girl can dream.
SYNC: What’s in the pipeline for the rest of 2017? Are there live shows in the diary – or any plans for UK/Europe?
Ok Sure: I have a few live shows this month in Melbourne, working on the next EP which will be a bit different to Anamnesis as I’m collaborating with other vocalists. Unfortunately, there are no plans just yet for UK or Europe but I would love to organise something!
Ok Sure / oksurewhatever.com