A highly energetic and exciting talent within Electronic Music, OFFAIAH’s popularity across the globe is ever-expanding; as he strikes back time and time again with captivating productions, energising the scene with his hard-hitting signature sound and intense groovy vibes, it seems that there is no stopping this skilled Producer and DJ.
Today, OFFAIAH joins us to share an insight into his journey into the world of Electronic Music, delving into how it all started, his influences and inspirations along the way and the milestones that continue to detail his successful career within the genre.
Hi OFFAIAH! How are you doing?
I’m doing very well thanks!
We’d like to go back in time to when you started your music career, can you share the moment or experience that initially sparked your interest in DJing and music production? What drew you to the world of Electronic music?
It’s hard to pinpoint that moment that sparked my interest in music production exactly as music has always been a big part of my life from a very early age. It started when my father, who was a piano teacher, sat me down at the piano at the age of around 3 years old. Since then, I went on to learn classical music, take all grades up to grade 8 for piano and go on to learn other instruments like the guitar, trumpet, and drums. In my spare time at school I would sneak into the music room where they had an Atari computer with Notator and a Korg M1 where I would try to recreate my favorite House music tracks of the day just for fun. So, I guess that urge to make music was always inside me from a very early age, just waiting to come out. It wasn’t until I met a DJ/producer by the name of Matt Darey in my mid 20’s that I started to look at making music as a potential professional career. Matt saw my passion for music and hunger to learn and took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, not only in the music production side but also the business side. From there I went on to make my first UK top 20 hit “Warrior” by Warrior and the rest is history.
Many artists have unique stories about their first DJ gig or the first track they produced. What was your first experience like as a DJ, and what motivated you to take the leap into music production?
I have to say that at the time I made my first track I didn’t have any idea that I would make it in the industry, in fact my job at the time was selling office supplies. At the time my sister, Marcella Woods, was dating a DJ/producer, Matt Darey, and as I became quite friendly with him I would find myself hanging out at his house a lot. One day, having returned to his house from the gym, and whilst he was in the kitchen making a chicken sandwich, I wandered into his studio and just started jamming on his keyboard. After a few minutes he ran in asking what was that I was playing. I explained to him it was just something I made up on the spot. He was so impressed that we went on to make an entire track out of it and I got to watch the entire process. At that point, I was captivated. My sister even sung the vocals on the track, and it went out as “Bailamos” by M3 which entered the top 40 in the UK charts. I used the money I received from the signing of that record to buy my own equipment and have continued to produce music ever since.
What was the turning point for you in your career? Was there a standout moment/experience that made you realize you could do this as a living?
The moment I thought I could do this for a living was when I signed my first record back in 1999, which appeared to happened with relative ease after only being in the studio for 4 months – but looking back that signing was the culmination of a life-long passion for music, a lot of hard work building up to that moment, but also a degree of luck. All the stars seemed to align, and I took the opportunity to made it work long-term and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Who is the most inspiring person you have worked with in the studio and why?
I once had a song-writing session with the singer-songwriter Ne-Yo, which was a fantastic experience. We were in a studio in LA together and I wrote some musical chord progressions whilst he wrote the lyrics. To watch him at work and to see the way his lyrics and melodies came together was truly inspirational.
Were there any early influences or mentors who played a significant role in shaping your DJing and production style? How did they impact your artistic journey?
I’d have to say that Matt Darey had a huge hand in shaping my music-production career as it was him who took the time and guided me through all the processes of making and signing a record.
What in your mind is the perfect House song that perfectly embodies what the genre is about? It can be from any era.
One song that comes to mine right away is “Show Me Love” by Robin S – a big favorite of mine from back in the day and a song that played a big part in sparking my interest in music-production. Everything about it, from the hooky bass line to the heavy drums, to the amazing vocal, and the way it all comes together in such a beautiful way, to me, is what House music is all about.
Starting your own label, AllFire, and achieving success with “Private Show” was a significant milestone. Can you take us back to that period and describe the challenges and excitement you faced when venturing into label ownership and your first major releases?
It was quite a challenging thing to do as I had to be on top of everything from the music-production to the artwork, PR and promotion, to distribution. But, of course, it all starts off with the music and that has to be right before anything else follows. It was pretty cool to be in control of everything from start to finish and seeing something become as successful as “Private Show” and knowing that I was responsible for every part of that success was extremely gratifying.
2018 marked your debut with Defected Records. What led to this partnership, and how did it influence your career trajectory as a DJ and producer?
I’ve always been a big fan of Defected and always had a dream to release a track on their label. When I made “Work It Out” back in 2018 Defected was the first record label I sent the record to, and they loved the track. That lead to my first signing with them, which I was thrilled about. Since then, I’ve been paying close attention to all their releases and DJs and have really absorbed everything they stand for when it comes to music, and I feel it’s really helped my music-producing as I’ve learned so much from them.
What is your favourite release of yours and why? Maybe you have an interesting story to tell?
One of my favourite releases is “Push Pull” – when I sat down with the song-writers to work on vocal ideas for this song, we started off talking about relationships and then ended up talking about workout routines in the gym – and that sparked the idea of push pull. Such a simple yet effective song and I love playing it out live.
Many aspiring DJs and producers look up to you for inspiration. What advice would you give to someone just starting their journey in Electronic Music, based on the lessons you’ve learned and experiences you’ve had since your own beginnings?
I would say to anyone looking to get into the music industry that first and foremost they need to have a deep love for music and a willingness and tenaciousness for success and hard work. You can’t be thinking about the fame or the fortune as that’s not going to get you anywhere. You have to do it for the pure joy of making music and wanting to make the people who listen to your music happy. Work hard, be persistent and love what you do, and you will have success.
As we close out this interview, we thank OFFAIAH for taking the time to walk us through the path that led him into Producing and DJing, showcasing the highlights of his musical discovery and giving us an insider’s look into his career so far. With such a relentless determination, driven by his passion for the genre, there is no doubt that OFFAIAH will continue to gain a reputation as one of the leading talents on the scene, one whose enthusiastic devotion to continue elevating his sound makes him unmissable for all lovers of Electronic Music.