Dubbing the New Year

British Electronic artist Ott plays his only stateside show of 2014 New Year’s Eve in Covington

Rave music, a pulsing subculture of sweaty warehouse basements and strobing audio-visual ritual, became widely popular in the U.K. in the 1980s. Ott, a British record producer and musician known for his deep-submarine, psychedelic Dub, got started during the excitement of that decade.

Aside from House music, Ott feels the U.K. originally embraced purely Electronic music more widely than the U.S.

“It does feel a little like the U.S. is currently where the U.K. was in the early ’90s,” Ott says. “Now it’s here, though, you seem to be making up for lost time. There is a refreshing lack of cynicism around the Electronic music scene in the U.S. compared to the U.K., which became a bit bogged down with elitism and the creation of endless sub-genres.”

Despite the changing waves of Electronic music, Ott doesn’t feel like his musical process or goals have changed much over time.

“Since 1983 it all feels like one long, endless studio session, interspersed with sleep, food, family and muddy dog-walks. It all just sounds like the expression of my life to me. I’ve become a husband and dad, travelled the world, met thousands of people and been lucky enough to affect a few of them in a positive way,” he says. “When I started this I was a lonely, friendless, obsessive studio hermit with two maladjusted cats and a terrible diet and, over time, I’ve developed into pretty much the opposite of that, except for the studio obsession. I kept that bit. And I always eat a corn dog whenever I’m in New York, just to remind myself how bad ‘food’ can get.”

He gained recognition early in the millennium for his work with Simon Posford (aka Shpongle and Hallucinogen), among others, as well as his own productions. Electronic Dub — different than Dubstep’s angry-machine womps and wobbles — is like an explosive mixture of deep-bass Reggae grooves and ambient, delay-heavy Electronic magic. Bring back Bob Marley and give him a studio filled with modern production gear, a massive subwoofer, his usual set of spliffs and maybe a little MDMA and he just might make something worthy of today’s definition of Dub.

Ott says he gains inspiration for his sounds from everywhere, but specifically recalls his mother playing Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd albums when he was 5 and discovering Reggae and Ska in his teens.

“It was obvious to me growing up that combining those elements would result in something good for the soul,” he says.

Although he says he knows little about Greater Cincinnati, he’s more than happy to come to the Tristate for his only U.S. show of the year.

“It’s the people who make a party and I love being with them wherever I am,” he says. “Our music attracts positive people with curious minds and I tend to feel at home wherever they are.”

While most look to New Year’s as one of the biggest days to black out and be merry, playing a show with a sober and focused mind so he can dial his knobs and tweak his speakers to perfection is Ott’s favorite way to celebrate.

“For years I avoided going out on New Year’s Eve because it just seemed like an excuse to get drunk and fall over and I’m really not a drinker. The beauty of playing a show that night is that I’m ‘working’ so I have the perfect excuse for being sober while everyone around me is wasted,” he says. “It’s also a pretty arbitrary date — it’s only the start of a new year in the Gregorian calendar and that isn’t the most popular calendar in the world by any means, having only been in use since 1582. My house is older than that. But don’t let that stop you drinking Jägermeister shots out of an old shoe.”

Ott is working on a new album, his fourth, from which he plans to have at least a few new songs ready for New Year’s. Aside from that, he doesn’t reveal special plans for the performance. That is, at least none that are very likely.

“I promised on Facebook to play the whole show naked but there was a groundswell of objection and a petition on change.org which attracted 350,000 signatures entitled ‘Persuade Ott not to get his junk out on stage in Cincinnati,’ ” he jokes. “I’d be lying if I said my feelings weren’t a little hurt.”

What he does expect of the show?

“Loud music, positive energy, polite, friendly, welcoming people, bright clothes, good art, conviviality,” he says, “and the occasional telltale smell of mothballs.”


performs Wednesday at Covington’s Madison Theater with Bluetech, Yheti and Aytiko. Tickets/more info:



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