Otto Von Schirach has been a crushing force on the Miami and international electronic music scenes for more than 13 years. In that time, he's produced more than 20 LPs, EPs, and compilations -- and all of his recordings are done completely DIY. His home is not only his secret lair but also his studio.
We recently passed by Otto's place, which now also serves as the headquarters for his label, Triangle Earth. The Martian served us some coffee and gave us a preview of his upcoming releases, including Mr. Feathers' Galactic Trinity.
When he started the label last year, Von Schirach was re-releasing his own albums digitally. He has since added to the roster some of his favorite local artists, including Dino Felipe, Miami Bass Warriors, and DJ Wreck. It's a collection of psychedelic electro-rockers, weirdos, and classic bass enthusiasts.
One character who seems to be constantly by his side is Mr. Feathers. And he joined us for the afternoon as we listened to his soon-to-be-released debut album, Galactic Trinity. When he first appeared at Otto's side, he was the Voodoo Witchdoctor, then he was Peasants With Feathers (a name he chose because he "thought of poor people with the hopes of rising to the top"), but his new moniker suits him best. Von Schirach explains, "If my name wasn't Otto Von Schirach, I would have a cool name, like Mr. Feathers. Plus [he's] a lovable creature."
Mr. Feathers is genuinely warm and shows no signs of being jaded. His ultimate goals in the world of music are the purest of all. "I would like people to dance to it, move or something," he says. "I want it to sound cool, so people can like the music, so people can like me for making it. Maybe sell a couple albums to buy a pizza." Then he pauses and flashes a wild, wide-eyed smile: "Or some candy."
He's been working on his debut album for more than a decade. "I kind of felt rushed in the beginning. I thought I'd have to finish it at a certain time. And then I realized there was no rush to make it." Feathers began DJing "freestyle, Miami bass, slow-dancing music for couples" at junior high school dances.
At Homestead High, he became a regular fixture at the Top 40 club, a group that would DJ live music over the school's PA during lunchtime. After Hurricane Andrew "passed by"- - as Feathers pleasantly describes the catastrophe -- he was relocated to Coral Gables High, where he met Von Schirach. But they did not instantly hit it off. "I'd see Otto around. I didn't associate with him," Feathers recalls. "He was the cool one in the school. And I was the cool one in my school before... What is this? All these hippies with no shoes and no shirts, and one cool guy, like me. Nah, no way."
Soon, Von Schirach started making serious bass waves across the city, and Feathers stumbled into one of his shows at Piccadilly Garden. He kept showing up for Otto's gigs dressed up as weirdly as possible. And even though Feathers wasn't officially part of the show, Von Schirach warmed to his style and invited him to become his personal onstage witchdoctor.
The more involved he became in the shows, the more he wanted to make his own personal weirdo music. Like a kid figuring out a puzzle, Feathers would work on his computer every free minute he had, just looking for unique sounds. His music is heavy on bass and outer-space sounds. His music isn't intended to challenge the listener. But he does challenge himself when making it.
Now, years since he began testing sounds and spinning "Egyptian Lover" in the high cchool lunchroom, he finally has a proper album. Well, as Mr, Feathers says, "I think it's an album."