"I love Brisbane. I don't think I ever wanna move. It's the perfect place for me… I can't picture myself living in LA. It's not for me."
Brisbane's Odd Mob (aka Harry Hope) is the latest Australian DJ/producer to mount a global takeover, blowing up with 2022's fluke anthem LEFT TO RIGHT and playing his inaugural Coachella.
But Hope is no overnight sensation, grinding for a decade. Now, the streaming phenom has dropped an EP, Club Rompas – with more music on the way.
"I've got so much music coming out," he declares. "[I'm] excited to show people all the strange things that have been happening behind the scenes." Indeed, Hope isn't making concessions to success.
On tour in the US, a restless Hope is Zooming from his buddy OMNOM's Los Angeles studio.
"We've just been working on some tunes, getting some stuff prepped – yeah, just working up a storm," he says. The DJ has borrowed OMNOM's computer and speaks into a ludicrously large and "expensive" mic. "He's got heaps of gear," Hope enthuses. "It's sick. There's just, like, synths and everything in here."
Hope is savouring downtime between gigs after DJing back-to-back with OMNOM at a pool party hosted by the J Resort casino hotel in Reno, Nevada.
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But he's returning to Australia, again being "super keen to just play some new music for everyone."
Among other heaters, Hope will tease a hotly-anticipated OMNOM collab he previewed at EDC Las Vegas, to be released officially in September. (Notably, the two previously teamed on the ravey Strut alongside American house legend Roland Clark.)
Hope is still based in Brisbane – having recently wed. He's regularly probed about relocating Stateside but isn't persuaded. "I love Brisbane," Hope maintains. "I don't think I ever wanna move. It's the perfect place for me… I can't picture myself living in LA. It's not for me."
The Redland Bay boy launched Odd Mob as a duo with Robbie Jacobs in 2013. Riding the EDM wave, they initially issued The Tribe in 2013 but broke out the following year with Is It A Banger?, cracking triple j's Hottest 100.
Odd Mob appeared at the final Stereosonic in 2015. They had another hit, Into You, featuring rising star Starley – this time going international. Odd Mob then presented their debut EP, Diverse Universe, Bertie Blackman a guest. Meanwhile, Hope completed a degree in BA Mechanical Engineering.
Mid-2017, Odd Mob announced that Jacobs was "moving onto his other passions," Hope continuing solo – the split amicable.
Was it a big transition? "It wasn't a struggle," Hope responds. If anything, Odd Mob became more viable.
"It was actually a little bit less pressure, to be honest – 'cause touring with two people, it's like double expenses, splitting the money two ways." Besides, Hope was free to pursue his idiosyncratic mode of bass-tech.
Hope's career accelerated when, on a Twitch stream, he created LEFT TO RIGHT as a parody of epic drops – the track sampling Soulja Boy's 2007 Crank That (Soulja Boy).
LEFT TO RIGHT went viral, Dom Dolla playing it at Red Rocks Amphitheatre – and Fred again.. championed it.
"I think having a big track definitely has changed a lot for me just in terms of connections and who I know," Hope reflects.
"I feel like that's the biggest part – I've expanded my network quite a lot from that… The people I used to idolise are now people I'll chat to kind of regularly, which is really cool." In 2022 Hope put a fiery spin on Luude's Big City Life, itself a drum 'n' bass rework of Mattafix's 2000s single. He's just remixed Martin Solveig's Now Or Never.
This year, Hope was booked at Coachella, billed on The Do LaB stage. He was surprised by the atmosphere compared to Australian festivals.
"I would say the crowd is a little bit more relaxed," Hope ponders. "There weren't as many, like, super ragers at any of the stages… Aussies definitely seem to have a lot more energy on average – from my experience, at least."
Late last month Hope issued Club Rompas – his first EP in Odd Mob's current iteration. The lead single, XTC, modern tech house, sets the tone.
"This whole EP was really just about reminding myself that I can still just do whatever I want – like just 'cause my career's progressing in a certain direction doesn't necessarily mean that I have to start making stuff that's more commercial or catchy or whatever. It can literally just be whatever I feel like – and that's kind of what I'd like to stick to for my entire music career.
"No matter what successes or whatever comes along, [I'll] just make whatever I'm feeling in the moment. If I just wanna make some hectic bangers – then do that. Then, if I wanna make something more beautiful, soundscapey, whatever, then I can also do that.
"So [Club Rompas] was just about having fun; just finishing some older ideas that I had off and just putting it out into the world – that's it. It doesn't mean anything. The tracks are just absolute stoinkers. There's no 'deep and meaningful' behind it. It's nice. It's kind of a big relief to not put so much pressure on myself to have the biggest singles ever, you know?"
Hope is cautious about collaborating. "I'm pretty picky with what I like," he divulges. "It's sometimes a bit triggering to work with other people because obviously the main role of a producer is to be that tastemaker – what you think is a particular vibe. And, obviously, with other producers, they're gonna have their own unique take on that."
But, for Club Rompas, Hope hooked up with the "like-minded" Birthdayy Partyy, twin brothers specialising in bass house, and Basura Boyz – both acts from Chicago.
In fact, three of the EP's tracks originated when, in the Windy City to DJ the legendary Spybar in December, Hope embarked on a studio crawl.
"I like to work really fast. Any project I can do really quickly at first usually means that it's something that I'll enjoy in the future. If it's something that I have to stress about for months and months, I usually end up hating it."
In Australia, the dance music circuit has rebuilt at full tilt since the pandemic, clubbers and festivalgoers seeking communal experiences. For Hope, the most conspicuous trend domestically has been the rise of speed house – which he partly attributes to Fred again..'s influence.
"I definitely think the Australian scene is getting very fast," he laughs. "I'll arrive at a venue and the person playing before me will be playing, like, 140 [BPMs] off the bat – which is something that never really used to happen before. But, hey, I'm all for it – like new things. It doesn't just have to be house forever."
Hope is easygoing, laughing often. Yet he is ambitious artistically. In April, Hope introduced an alternative handle, GD Vandal, with the glitchy disco Been Dreaming. And, back in 2019, the producer heralded an 'artist' album, airing All Of Your Heart – Porter Robinson-esque glitch-pop with vocals by Sydney's Jordan Léser. However, the project never materialised.
"There was a period pre-pandemic where I did have a whole album that I had basically finished," Hope admits. "But, in hindsight, I've realised that, if I want the album to actually reach enough people for it to have some sort of impact, I need to wait 'til I'm at the point where I'm super confident in the singles off the album having a moment."
Hope does plan to fulfil an album, but is in no rush. "I would like to try to build up my reach a bit more first and just kinda develop a better story for people to understand that I'm a man of many genres or styles before I just unleash a whole album and then people are just confused – and there's no singles, there's no playlists, there's no nothing."
Hope particularly rates RÜFÜS DU SOL's discography. "It's always so well made and just so catchy – like everything about their albums is super fun for me." Only he aspires to another Aussie's level of experimentation. "Flume always pushes some boundaries in some way with each release or album that he does."
Ironically, Hope is considering packaging his lost album as an archival compilation, as Flume has done with old demos, joking about "stealing" that concept.
Despite his energetic DJing, Hope does chill – and has hobbies. "I love video games, but probably to an unhealthy degree!" He occasionally paints. He appreciates nature, visiting the beach and hiking. He relishes travelling, "even though I'm doing it every weekend." Hope reasons, "I definitely get bored with music sometimes. So you need to have something else that ignites a bit of passion, I feel."
Many DJ/producers value silence when not gigging or recording, but that isn't Hope. "I wish that was me. I think I'm a little bit too like, not ADHD, but I always need a kick drum in my life… I'm just one with electronic music. I have to have it while I'm doing basically any task or I get too bored."