by Jonathan Sutton Fields
In the front room of Los Rosas, Heat fans huddled around the bar, cheering as Metallica filled the club’s rock n’ roll, dive-bar trappings. They watched on a single plasma screen as their white-hot team eked out a close 111-98 playoff victory over The Boston Celtics. Meanwhile, the bigger back room with the main stage had begun to thickly pack with fans of the iconic yet enigmatic Miami artist known as Otto Von Schirach. Pride for the 305 was in the air.
Reptiles, aliens, reptilians, the Bermuda Triangle, and pineal gland declassification are some of the topical elements of Von Schirach’s lyrics. He brings them to life and gives them a Miami flavor, with a soulful layering of Cuban sexual innuendos, spacey sounds and pterodactyl noises.
“The portal of the Bermuda Triangle, I’ve got to bring that to earth,” explained Otto Von Schirach. “I’ve got to show them that the DNA of the dinosaurs is strong here, the DNA of the reptilians here and the DNA of the reptiles here, it’s in us… It’s in us and we have to activate it,” Von Srirach said.
Some say the reptilians are aliens, who house a station underwater at the Bermuda Triangle. Perhaps this is why all the planes have disappeared? In a rare video interview with Star Vega, Editor of Miami Chronicles, Otto discussed whether he may be an alien himself.
With a pension for showmanship rarely seen among most EDM producers, Von Schirach often steps out in front of his soundboard with the mic. Clad in spiked leather gauntlets and a triangle-patterned silvery, space suit vest, Von Schirach alternates between performing old-school-elctro-style raps and blood-curdling Heavy Metal screams, all laid down over indescribably eclectic beats.
“A lot of people always ask me: ‘what’s your fucking genre?’ Well, take all music, put it in a blender–that’s my shit,” Von Srirach said.
Otto explained classical music, Heavy Metal, Cuban Jazz and Miami Ghetto Bass from the 80s were hugely influential for him.
The first cassette tapes he bought were Jerry Lee Lewis and Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction.
In the 80s, his mother kept her radio locked to Hot 105, where he was first exposed to the Miami Bass and Freestyle sound. In fact she had listened so much she once won a car from one one of the station’s promotions—A white VW bug with a windsurfer.
“I loved it because I was exposed to Freestyle and Bass and Miami had this Hispanic radio vibe, it was like freestyle from NY and freestyle from Miami and all the ghetto bass that was down here,” Von Srirach” said. “Freestyle is bass music with FM melodies and guys pouring their souls out about girls who broke their hearts.”
In addition to the Freestyle and Bass music, Otto says that EDM and rave culture were a major influence as well.
“I definitely was a big Raver in the 90s, in 1993 I went to my first Rave,” said Otto. “ I was already making music and I was kind of like: ‘I want to make more of this kind of stuff,’ [at the time] I was making hip-hop, more mixtape type stuff”.
Timbales and Toca de Santo from Cuba is another influence Otto points to for his work.
Master Feathers dressed as a yeti, and a statuesque male wrestler, who wore nothing but leather mini- skorts that spell FADEN, hyped the crowd while Otto played. Alligators, aliens, and other oddities have also accompanied him on stage at other shows.
The packed crowd threw up triangles signs, sang along and went absolutely crazy for the music.
Other local acts assisted von Schirach in his pineal bass cleansing. Galactic Effect appeared to be the conductor a space ship of sound. At one point, the music sounded like waterfalls trickling on pink lakes from a purple planet. At other times, the bass was hard and fast, almost like a trap beat, which made the crowd move as if they were on a turbulent galactic ride. It felt like being in sci-fi movie as some of the fans dressed up in space-inspired garb.
“I want to cleanse people’s pineal glands and give them a frequency-if the system is good, shows are good, so when they leave my shows they can be cleansed, activated, refreshed and more in touch with themselves,” Von Schirach said.