OMNOM is not only ridiculously fun to say, but it’s a name you’ll be hearing for a while as the Dirtybird producer has only just begun to make his mark on the house music scene.
The first weekend of Electric Forest embraced the genre to the fullest with a carefully curated This Ain’t Bristol takeover at the Forest Stage, packing in a stacked lineup featuring Codes, Golf Clap, Kyle Watson, Mija, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and more — oh yeah, and OMNOM was there, too.
Kicking things off early at 4 pm, OMNOM set the pace for the day, delivering his unique breed of music to eager ears. He came fully loaded with unreleased tracks and distinct selects, but no song during his set screamed house anthem quite like “Fo Free” did.
I don’t give it up fo free. Those catchy lyrics are what drive OMNOM’s breakout hit forward and keep it burning up dance floors everywhere. You’ve probably heard it. And if you haven’t, it’s about time.
Play out the song right here and get to know OMNOM… OMNOMNOMNOMNOM below. See, isn’t that fun?
OMNOM x Your EDM
So, your name, OMNOM…
I just wanted something that people would remember and something that sounded cool. To be honest, Cody Lee was already taken by some guy that plays the silent disco at DoLab every year. I drew my logo — that face — one day when I was in college, and I was like, “OMNOM.” I haven’t changed it in four years.
I actually have a really, really, really, really funny story. I want to have the OMNOM thing be my main focus, but also branch out into some more alternative kind of music. Synthwave or something like that. I was thinking of names that sounded cool and one of them was Inner Motion. I Googled it to see if anybody had it and it’s actually the name of an organization for incest survivors. [laughs] So, the search engine optimization is gonna be tough. Inner Motion would be cool, but I can’t use that.
What are your first impressions of Electric Forest?
It’s frickin’ sick! It’s definitely my favorite Insomniac festival. It’s way different than anything else they do for sure. These trees are dope. It’s an actual forest. It’s a little overwhelming to be honest, I haven’t really gone much further than this stage.
I have about twelve hours to experience it all. I wanna go see Fisher. I wanna go see ZHU. And I wanna go see Washed Out.
Your earliest memory of electronic music?
One day I was in high school marching band and my friend showed me “Ghosts N Stuff.” I was like, “What the hell is this?!” So my friend sent me a bunch of deadmau5 tracks. He sent me a bunch of The Bloody Beetroots. That’s how I got started, like Benny Benassi, stuff like that. Some of my music is still really EDM-y with the builds and [sound effects].
Tell us the story of how you first got linked up with Dirtybird…
It all started one night randomly when I was at a show in Costa Mesa, California. I just so happened have my USB on me and I was friends with the people throwing the event. Gavin from Walker & Royce happened to be there and they offered to let me play a couple of tracks during this b2b2b2b2b at the very end with everybody that was playing and all of my friends. So, I played a couple of tracks and Gavin told me to send him some music. DJs always tell you to send them music and they’ll never do anything with it, but it seemed pretty genuine.
I had finished up the track that would eventually become “Fo Free” within the next couple weeks and I sent that to him. I got a Snapchat from my friend like, “Holy shit! Walker & Royce played your track,” this night. Then, a couple nights later they played it here, they played it here, and pretty soon they were playing it across their entire tour for Self Help. They played it at Holy Ship!, which is where a bunch of people were like, “What the fuck is this track?!”
They said they were gonna send it to Barclay for Dirtybird. His big thing is that he doesn’t really sign tracks until he plays them live to see how they do — to road test them. And, he never played it! Then, I was at Dirtybird East Coast when they canceled Friday night and they canceled Walker & Royce’s set. I was devastated. Then, it turned out Saturday night was Claude VonStroke and they added it as a b2b with Walker & Royce. So, they played that track during their b2b and he was like, “Oh, I get it!” The rest is history and now I’m here.
Has your relationship with Walker & Royce blossomed since then?
Yeah — It’s ridiculous to think you have Walker & Royce as an outlet to test your unreleased stuff. It’s crazy to me. Prior to East Coast Campout, October was West Coast campout and I was just another dude in the crowd. Walker & Royce’s set was probably my favorite thing I’d ever seen. That was right before they released Self Help so that was the first time they played all those tracks. I was like, “What the fuck is this?” Fast-forward, all that stuff happened in just four or five months.
How long were producing before you caught that break?
It’s been three years of making house music. Before that, I started with whatever I could make in Logic. I made some progressive house and some drum and bass. I made some dubstep. I made anything and then living in San Francisco I got exposed to Dirtybird house music. Once I started making that stuff I decided to stick with it.
Did the “Fo Free” lyrics or the music behind it come first?
To be honest, it was a project I started when I was still living at my parents’ house. One night I just made the, bum bum bum bum bum. I was like, “Alright, that’s dope. It sounds like something Claude VonStroke would play.” I ditched it after that for weeks and weeks and moved on. Then one day I was kind of strapped, so I brought that project back up. I really got it almost finished within a couple of days, it just needed a sick vocal or something. Then, I was walking through the supermarket and I came up with the lyrics for that — “I don’t give it up fo free.”
I try to remember where I come up with vocals and stuff. I have a track called “WhoGotDat” and I came up with that one at Campout. “Want 2 Want Me” I came up with that when I was administering the SAT exam to a bunch of high schoolers. I was a substitute teacher for a long time and I still teach music during the summer, out of Madison, Wisconsin.
What else are you working on now?
Right now, I’ve got about 8 to 10 tracks that I’m ready to send out and sign to labels. But, in the wake of “Fo Free” blowing up, I’m really apprehensive about putting something out unless I know it will be a solid follow up. For a while I was like — “How am I going to follow up that?” because it surpassed what I’m sure anyone would have expected.
I’ve been dropping new tracks here and there when I’m playing somewhere. I just did an official mix for HARD Summer and I dropped about seven of them in there. I just played a bunch out for my set here and got a really good reaction. I’m more ok with putting them out now.
Other than producing, any creative ventures you’d like to pursue?
I wanna make a music video for something I made. I’ve always been interested in music videos. Unfortunately, in our genre — house music — the music videos don’t really do much for you. But, I still think it’s fun!
Is there an underlying factor in all your music?
The chomp sound! That chomping sound has been something I’ve always tried to hide in every one of my tracks since I started the OMNOM thing. It’s kind of like Metro Boomin’ “If Young Metro Don’t…” My watermark that I’ll try to hide in my tracks. “Fo Free” was the first track that I put that in since 2015 or so — I’m bringing it back. If you hear that in the club, then you’ll know!