Opiuo's Pursuit of Happiness on the Road Often Travelled: "What Is All of This Without Some Level of Happiness in Life?"
Opiuo delights fans with his blend of bass, funk, soul and psychedelic sounds, but the process can be as complex emotionally as it is technically.
Last month, the renowned electronic music artist opened up about mounting stress heading into Sonic Selects shows in Melbourne and Byron. That followed an even more candid post last year about burnout and his need to strike a better balance between professional and personal pursuits.
Opiuo—ahead of his headlining show at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 21st—touched on happiness. For an artist who weaves joy into the music he presents to fans, that same commitment to joy must be applied on a personal level.
“I’m never nervous right before I walk on stage, but I’m overly nervous or anxious leading up to things weeks ahead because I don’t really know what I’m doing or exactly how I’m going to structure it,” Opiuo tells . “That was actually the first time that I’d gathered some music and then literally gone and just played whatever felt right. I knew what I was going to play first and I was going to try and play a certain song last. That was all I knew. That freedom was allowed because the people that I felt were coming were open to that.”
“I think that there’s something healthy inside being anxious and nervous about things because you’re pushing yourself or you’re not just doing what you know is going to work. In general, in life, I have a beautiful wife and kids and I feel like my life outside of music is something so important to me and can give me balance. It can allow me to turn around and see them and be like, ‘No, actually this is what matters as well as what I do.’ I think that’s something I would always advise people—to have really strong friendships and family life outside of music or outside whatever the creative side is. It’s nice to have those people around you all the time that are inside your creativity world, but there’s nothing better than being able to reflect on it from far away.”
Touring and relationships are puzzle pieces that often don’t fit. Opiuo understands that his family is the foundation upon which his success is built. He takes great care to assure that his demanding career does not swallow his home life whole.
“They arrived last night and they’re here for three months, so that’s great. This is the first that we’ve done something like this and they’ve come along,” Opiuo said. “I don’t want to take them to every show. That’s not what this is about. It’s about being able to fly home the next day and give them a good existence in life. They’re excited about it, too. I toured a lot last year and was away a lot and actually really struggled with it. It was the first time I’d not enjoyed being on the road sometimes. I had to change that. I couldn’t just keep going because that was what people do. It was like, ‘No, this isn’t right. I don’t care what other people do, it’s not working for me.’ So I had to change it. It’s an expensive adventure to do it and everything, but it’s highly worth every bit because what is all of this without some level of happiness in life?”
“The journey of this creative process is so driven. As soon as you are somewhere, you feel the pressure to continue because it is so rewarding. But you also carry everyone else on your shoulders too that would love to be there. There’s all this other stuff that goes with it. That drive is never going to go away as a creative person because it’s such an amazing thing to do. But for me, I really need to involve my family because that’s such a grounding reality.”
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Returning to Red Rocks for a unique blend of electronic and orchestral music, Opiuo can explore the complete emotional range of his music with aid from the Opulent Orchestra. The fusion takes inspiration from his youth and it fuses dance’s music’s infectious rhythm with the precision and complexity of classical sounds.
“Listening to orchestra music when I was younger, it was the moments where it wasn’t trying to overdo too much to get a point across,” he explains. “It was trying to, as simply as possible, make you feel the most amount of emotion where a bunch of strings can come in and secretly, as you go across these eight bars, some of them underneath the cellos might be changing and getting higher up in the register or creating bigger chords or more euphoric moments. So you don’t really notice, but it’s kind of like you’re progressing through a song and suddenly you get to a point you’re feeling this extra big feeling. It can take over and turn an enjoyable moment into something where you can have layers of emotion added to it. Classical music is that.”
Opiuo + The Opulent Orchestra take over the fabled Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison on Sunday, May 21st with support from Beats Antique, Supertask, DMVU and groovsauce. Tickets for the nearly sold-out show can be purchased here.