Legendary Organic Trip-Hop Ensemble OTO Reunites Tonight in Downtown Phoenix
|OTO Today: (from left) Barton Applewhite, Terry Dreisher, Puma MC, Micah Huerta, Stephen Pond, and Coppé.|
In fact, OTO came about through a massive amalgamation and often-complicated cross-pollination of at least a half-dozen Valley acts from that era. For instance, both drummer Stephen Pond and synth player Terry Driescher were a part of such tangentially related acts and obscure one-offs from local music lore as The Martyrs, Suite No. 3, Cousins of the Wize, and Dub Factor.
Huerta and the rest of OTO ruminate on the group's origins while gathered at Pond's swanky man-cave (nicknamed "Ponderosa Lounge") in North Scottsdale for a practice session on Thursday night.
"That's just always been the incestuous nature of the music scene in Phoenix. One person knew somebody who knew somebody, and when we first started jamming out together people just kept showing up and contributing," Huerta says.
Although hazy from more than a decade passing since OTO's heyday, not to mention the liberal amount of libations being consumed at last night's practice session, Pond says that OTO ultimately evolved out of a old trip-hop/dub project of his and Driescher's called Oscillation of Matter. And a chance meeting with Coppé in 1998.
"I'd met Coppé and we got to talking about exactly what kind of dub and electronic music she liked. So I introduced her to Terry, and we all started bonding and creating music and she started digging up these old songs that Terry and I had created back in the early '90s with [Oscillation of Matter]."
Barton soon joined the growing jam session. Then Huerta ("I kept begging to come along and check it out," he jokes. "Next thing I knew, I was dicking around on the keyboard."), and eventually M.C. Puma, who would perform an interplay with his hip-hop rhymes with Coppé's ethereal and breathy vocals in both Japanese and English
Huerta says that Coppé's singing helped add another dimension to OTO's music.
"I think she's one of bravest musicians I've ever had the pleasure of playing with because she kinda lives in her own space and always has and doesn't make any apologies for it," he says. "When I first met her I was really freaked out because I thought she was really weird. She's got those screamy, weird vocals. She's not necessarily singing with a melody like a pop singer, its different. But musically, no apologies."