• Steph Landreville

The Subtle Truth. 019 - Dr. Ozi

This week on The Subtle Truth we are absolutely honored to feature Canadian music producer, DJ and songwriter, Dr. Ozi. Since the inception of his project in 2006, Dr. Ozi has had the opportunity of watching his dreams turn into reality. His hard work has lead him to become a staple producer for Never Say Die Records, amongst other heavy hitting labels in the EDM scene such as Buygore, Firepower, and more. He’s been known for bringing a new wave of undeniably heavy, yet sleek, productions to the forefront of the scene and his latest work is no different.

Following the release of his ‘Claim The Night’ remix package, he now returns to the forefront and brings his imaginary character alias to life with his latest project: ‘Hive Mind Pt.1’. This project is a 7-track EP accompanied by an illustrated comic book. Building off the story which came to life with his 2020 ‘Host’ EP, Dr. Ozi continues to evolve his sound and creativity. Each of the 7 tracks on the EP outlines the epochal journey of Dr.Ozi thus far. It is clear that a lot of emotion went into the making of this project. “I want listeners to understand the story just by listening to the music. Each track has a meaning, and each track has its own story to tell. Creatively, it was amazing to connect them together for the comic book. But personally, I put a lot of emotion into writing each track.” says Dr. Ozi.

The comic book portion of this project, illustrated by Darryl Johnson, tells the story of a character named Johnny Blue and his initial realization of the monster that is Dr. Ozi. Upon this dark presence plaguing his nightmares, Johnny frequents the doctor for medication as he attempts to stabilize the internal chaos. It isn’t long before Johnny succumbs to Dr. Ozi’s overtaking and joins the ranks of the hosts, soon to reach his full potential as a member of this powerful community.

I am absolutely thrilled to get to talk to Dr. Ozi more about his career in the music industry, his recent project and to get to know him a bit better.

Q. You’ve been releasing music for well over 10 years now. Of all your releases, do you have a favorite? If so, which one is it?

A. That’s a hard question to respond to. I love every song I have made over the years, of course there are some songs that I wish I could go back and change a Hi-Hat or a Frequency, But those songs are the reason why I am here today. The most fun tracks i have made are most definitely Beauty and the grim and Black Pollen.

Q. If you had to describe the general theme of your brand and your music, in 2-3 sentences, to someone who has no clue who you are, what would you say? A. Dr. Ozi is a universe of its own. It’s primarily a Cult where Ozi (The monster) is the figure. Doctor being the head.

Q. In your opinion, what’s the most exciting part about releasing new music?

A. Releasing is definitely the most exciting time of the year for me. It’s like an event of its own. Organizing a Listening party, new merch etc. Giving something brand new to fans is what I am always looking forward to every time.

Q. Now, let’s talk about your latest project: Hive Mind Pt.1. How much time did the EP take you to create from start to finish? A. The songs started taking shape right after we decided we were going to make a cult brand. Right after Demon’s in Denial and Host EP we had a really good idea of what we wanted out of the music. I would say give or take it took me 2 and a half years to get solid 17 demos ready for Never Say Die Records.

Q. You mention that you put a lot of emotion into the 7 tracks on your ‘Hive Mind’ EP and it’s clear that a lot of time, effort and energy went into this project. How do you balance your time working on music with your personal life? Do you find these two parts of your life have now become one or are you still able to make the separation? A. Before this EP I used to make music for the sake of finalizing and making a “banger”. It was a tedious process because the more tracks that I made were “bangers” the more I felt disconnected. I was making “club” songs. Don’t get me wrong those club songs do still hit the same. I think this EP shows that even though it's a Heavy Dubstep EP I can still provide an emotional journey throughout. I think that I grew into putting music and personal life together. Sometimes when a remix comes by I do have to separate my emotions from the music because now I am working with someone else’s work.

Q. Which emotions would you say were most prevalent during the creation of this project?

A. I think sadness, Anger, Disappointment and Relief.

Q. The corresponding comic book alongside your EP is fantastic. I noticed it touches on different mental health concerns. Mental health is still seen as such a taboo topic and that’s something I would love to change, especially in the music industry. So, if you don’t mind, I’m curious to know in what ways do you think we can open up the conversation about mental health in the music industry and is that something you were trying to do with this project? A. It is a fictional comic book based on what I have learned from how people are affected by mental health. I have sleep paralysis and the comic book is based on that. My comic book or the story doesn't really show awareness in mental health. But, I do agree that stability of a musicians' mental health is very important and needs to be more apparent. One way is for musicians to be more open and vocal about it. By that I don’t mean making a tweet about a really bad day you had, I mean actually going to an institute and talking to a professional about your mental state. I think musicians are known to fester and swallow their pain and show it in their music. Which is why people relate to it more because fans feel like they are not alone.

Q. In what ways do you, as an artist, want to be supported when it comes to your mental health? Do you think fans play a role in the state of your mental health? If so, what can fans do to support artists when it comes to these concerns? A. I think the super fans know exactly what to do. I have been streaming on twitch every week to talk to my fans. It has become so therapeutic for me. It’s because I am very open and very vocal with my problems and day to day life with them. I had gone through a rough patch and they were there. I absolutely love them for that and they know who they are. I think I am not dependent on my fans making sure I mentally stable, It is on me to make sure I take care of my mental health by myself. But, what fans can do is simply tweet or send a direct message to their favorite artist and let them know that you appreciate them and that you love them. Makes a huge difference.

Q. The illustration work in the comic book is absolutely stunning. What made you select Darryl

Johnson as the artist for this portion of your project? Do you know him on a personal level or is he someone you met during the development of the project?

A. I do agree that the illustration is very professional. Darryl did all of this by himself, typically there are about 2 - 5 people hired for a comic book project and I am super happy with the results. Darryl was a referral from my photographer who had done work previously. So I didn't know Darryl before but I am so happy that I met him.

Q. I always ask one question that’s a bit random during my Q&A’s so here’s yours: what is your favorite comic book of all time? Why?

A. I think of all time I would have to say “Coffin Bound” By Dan & Dani Watters.

Q. Finally, feel free to share anything you want to promote or tell our readers about:

A. The Dr. Ozi name is no longer just a DJ name. This is becoming a very big storyline to follow. This comic book is just the beginning. The Hive Mind EP PT 1 & 2 will be explaining more about the story. And We have already planned out what we are going to do After Hive Mind. I would appreciate everyone reading this to go check out the EP and the Comic book.

Follow and listen to Dr.Ozi : Click HERE