How Otto Von Schirach Discovered the Fruit God (Then Became One Himself)

Otto is one with the mango.
Otto is one with the mango.
Photo via Instagram

Otto Von Schirach worships at the altar of the avocado. If you follow the king of the Miami bass freaks on Instagram, surely you already know this. And surely you too have watched his bizarre 12-second videos praising the fruit gods and been left both confused and craving a salad.

Hailing straight outta the third vertex of the Bermuda Triangle (Miami), Otto Von Schirach has been stirring up spiritual frenzy on the dance floor since he started DJing middle school dances and house parties at the age of 12. And the half-German half-Cuban Schirach—AKA the Sultan of Sucio, AKA Supermeng—has been crafting a twisted genre-less miasma of tropical disco and heads-only IDM ever since. We've profiled him in our People Issue and we even gave him our 2014 Mastermind Award because, well, the dude deserved it.

He now graces the leading underground venues of the world. You’ve seen him around town dressed like a glorious alien from plant papaya, dropping beats and tossing his blow-up doll into eager audiences. Schirach is also working on a new full-length album for Berlin-based Monkeytown Records.

The man is an enigma, and there are too many questions swirling around this golden-toothed DJ to possibly get to the bottom of in one sitting. So we sat down with Schirach to tackle the one that’s been baffling us the most.

What’s up with the fruit?

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New Times: What fruits are you jamming on right now?
Otto Von Schirach: Mangos and avocados, also two giant bags of starfruit from the neighborhood. I have an abundance of those, and I’m getting a jackfruit soon. Wheatgrass too. It’s avocado season in Miami and I have too many right now. There’s a tree next door, my family has a tree—so if you want avocados, let me know.

Thanks. Too many?
I can’t physically eat that many avocados. Anything else I can eat a bunch of, but for some reason I can’t eat too many avocados.

Why not?
Miami avocados are huge. There are all types, but the ones I have in my yard are the big ones. I feel slow and sluggish and my stomach blows up if I have too many. I start getting a lot of gas and I start farting like every two seconds—like a fart machine.

Maybe it’s all the good fat?
Maybe. Have you ever tried eating ten avocados in one day?

Nah, I think maybe two at most.
Yea, I’ll have like 50 avocados—so many that I can’t even give enough away, so I’ll get creative and start making puddings and smoothies or eat it with a salad or just it ‘em raw.

Are you a total raw vegan? How strict are you?
To some people I’m super strict, but I feel like I’m not. I like to eat living foods, but if I don’t have the option, I’ll take the healthiest option instead. If I’m touring Europe, if we’re in Italy or something and we go to an amazing pizza shop and I haven’t eaten a pizza in years, then I’ll have some pizza. Or if someone cooks lentils then I’ll eat lentils. It’s meal-to-meal.

But you try to stick to living foods? As in freshly picked fruits and vegetables?
Yeah, exactly — fresh and local. I try to eat as much food from the neighborhood as possible. 

You get the fruit from neighbors?
The fruit gods have blessed me with this guy named Nuña. He’s this little old man off 36th Street who pushes carts around. When I moved into this house five years ago I connected with him when he came to get avocados from next door to sell. I asked him if he knew of any other fruits in the neighborhood and he was like “Yea, I know everything.” The next day he brought me a shopping cart full of sapodillas, then two shopping carts full of coconuts that he picked from around the Design District. 

That’s awesome.
And it’s really all from the neighborhood. He gets me limes, lemons, papayas, bananas, starfruit, mamey, guanabana—mangos in abundance. He’s given me at least a thousand mangos.

Damn, Nuña comin’ through.
He shows me where the trees are too. 

Where else do you get your fruits?
In Miami, the LNB Grovestand, which is a farm in the Redlands run by Levi and Sarah. Also from Seasons Farm Fresh, run by two brothers Nick and Gabe Burnal. I try to get my greens from Muriel Olivares at the Little River Cooperative. Muriel’s greens taste so good, I can tell such a big difference between hers and Whole Foods’ or Publix’s.

ONE must activate the #Papaya with Electric pulse #PapayaGod #earthing #existence

A video posted by Otto Von Schirach (@ottovonschirach) on

How did you first get into the living food lifestyle?
I bought a 1961 Mercury Comet when I was eighteen. My father helped me pick it out. We spent a year fixing the engine and getting it to run in tip-top shape. At the time, I was fat as fuck. I was like a football player/wrestler that smoked a lot of weed who would eat the whole fridge. I didn’t fit between the steering wheel and the seat; my belly would rub on the steering wheel. I hadn’t even taken it out yet, but I had this really bad acid trip where I went outside to smoke up in the car and I didn’t fit in the driver’s seat. The rest of the night I was up communicating with the universe, alone, making music, and in the morning my grandma called and asked me to get her some groceries. I went and I was still tripping balls and getting la carnemolida and I was watching this guy with dirty ass nails make it, and it smelled like shit and I was tripping hard and I was like, “Fuuuuck.” I started seeing evil patterns in the meat and had these reality checks that I was really unhealthy. I met the right people through music and got out of it.

What did you eat while you were growing up?
It was Cuban as fuck. But my grandmother was also health conscious so there was always mamey and chickpeas and frijoles negro, so I grew up with that, but I had an American diet: McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC. I was into all that shit. I didn’t even know what a vegetarian was ‘til like ’95.

How does your diet affect you?
Food is medicine. It allows me to live my lifestyle of staying up all night making crazy music and touring a lot, and it lets me grow older and not feel so fucked. 

Your wheatgrass game is strong too, right?
Yeah, I’m growing like five trays a week right now. I put it in everything. I’ll put it in salads, smoothies, and juice it. I’ll put it in sushi too.

Doesn’t that make you feel too hyphy? Whenever I have just a little bit of wheatgrass I feel like I’m on speed.
Yea, it’s awesome.

What’s the most mystical experience you’ve ever had related to food?
The Wilson avocados that come from next door to me — or Catalinas as Nuña calls them — the seeds look like aliens. When I first moved in here I had this connection with the tree. These seeds were all different and looked like weird alien dudes. I bonded with them and the tree, and I felt that the tree knew that I was in love with it and mesmerized by its beauty and ability to create these really interesting seeds. I started planting the seeds with Nuña. We put them everywhere—near the highway, empty fields, in my yard. 

So now these little alien aguacates are sprouting all around town. How is your music connected to diet?
Now that I have all these avocados, I’m blessing them with crystals, and some of them are right next to me in the studio. There’ll be a basket of mangos or jackfruit, and before I eat them, they’ll get blessed by music—blasted by bass while they’re getting ripe.

You’re feeding it bass!
[Laughs] Yeah, I feed it bass—then they feed me. 

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