Otto von Schirach: Doctor Beat
"Miami at night," Otto von Schirach describes laughing, "going home at 4 in the morning. There's the crackhead in your door trying to sell you an avocado." This is the Little Havana-bred musician's answer when asked about the inspiration for his homemade beats.
At 12 years old, von Schirach started spinning booty records. From there, a 2004 tour with Skinny Puppy, a 2006 release on Mike Patton's label, a good booking agent in Europe, and a subsequent three-month tour assured that this former rave DJ would be at the center of what was once coined IDM (intelligent dance music). "Playing my first gigs was amazing, because I was making music that wasn't made before." With his beat machine, he played his own tracks between sets at full-moon raves, Society Hill, and the Polish American Club; ears were perked as booties dropped.
"I have probably 10,000 songs that haven't been released. 'Cause when I was a kid, I would do LSD and work on music, that's all," he explains. "I kind of got pigeonholed as kind of this weird dude. I still make weird music, but now I think the labels want more of my accessible stuff." Yet his performances remain trippy. Animated otherworldly characters create an exciting live voodoo nightmare. Von Schirach says it's about "connecting with people and a madness and mania; it's a world. It lives through my music too. It's all positive and happy."
The artist's sound is certainly a compliment to both his Cuban and German roots. He captures the tropical energy of the Caribbean and deep German techno-love with his sound.
Signed to Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, von Schirach was nominated for best act of 2012 at the German Emmys. You definitely spotted him in a continuously aired iPhone commercial and collaborating on a pre-Miley-twerk video with Debbie D. Attias as "Miami Booty Club." She, Jose El Rey, and Nayib Estefan are featured on his upcoming release. He calls the project "more Miami than ever. There's Latino music mixes with the classic fast booty bass, mixed with some romantic beach vibes. Super sci-fi too."
Von Schirach is a raw vegan who gardens and has two cats, two leopard geckos, a dog, and fish in a pond outside his place. He's also been practicing jujitsu for two years. His grandmother was a spiritista in the Santeria tradition, and though he was raised in that culture, he sticks simply to "hippie" healing crystals.
Von Schirach has made an impact on the worldwide festival circuit too. "This whole EDM scene that just emerged," he points out, "we're like the dinosaurs of it. We're the offspring of it too." And though hesitant to call himself an ambassador for this odd land, he does admit to "being the main dude behind the Bermuda Triangle."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.