A Dream of Flight with Ørumari

source: Ørumari

Being known under an alias is a method most artistes apply to their career. Maybe it’s to create an illusion between who they are and who they want to be (Beyoncé, Sasha Fierce [RIP]), or it could be because their birth name doesn’t quite articulate what they’re trying to express through their art. Edmund Anand, previously known as Ego, has rebranded himself as Ørumari after turning over a new leaf. We listed Ørumari as one of the few artistes that should be paid attention to this year in our ‘2016 Intake’ issue after noticing the overwhelming potential he had as a producer and an artiste — and by the looks of it, we’re not too far off the mark. JUICE spoke to the transformed caterpillar regarding the possibility of another track like ‘Run This’, referencing Kendrick Lamar, and sustaining a studio.

Who is Ørumari? Is he anything like Ego? 
Ørumari is the one who’s more focussed. The one who cares more about the art form, ‘the butterfly’. The harder, better, faster, stronger version of Ego. Ego is the caterpillar, the one who doesn’t really give a fuck — he’s immature yet vigorous. There’s still some Ego in Ørumari, you’ll get him if you push the right buttons.

Why did you change your moniker?
When I was younger, like most of us, I didn’t ponder much on branding myself properly. I just wanted an alter-ego name cause before people like Kendrick Lamar, using the name your parents gave you wasn’t dope enough to portray a rapper persona. I grew up listening to Jay-Z — no one knew whom Sean Carter was. By the time I mastered making music as an art form, branding became a huge deal, everyone started calling me ‘Ego’. I felt kinda immature when people started calling me ‘Ego’ in front of my family and friends.

Why was that?
‘Ego’ (the word) is generally received as more negative than positive in society’s ‘terms and conditions’. When I built my own studio, Kayabutter Co., about a year ago, I decided to rebrand myself. The decision to call myself Ørumari was a no brainer because I use that word a lot when I speak.

Oh, it’s a word? What does it mean?
In street Tamil, it means ‘one kind’. To put it in a nutshell, I guess it was a metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly. We’re never fond of flying until we actually realise we’re growing wings.

That metaphor sounds vaguely familiar… why do you think you’re ‘one kind’ now?
Hmm… that’s an interesting question. Aren’t we all different? Aren’t we born to stand out rather than fit in? I feel like being a misfit in a world where we’re taught to be ‘normal’ is what makes great ideas. To me, everyone is Ørumari dope, it’s whether you choose to recognise what you have and turn it into something that people can be inspired by.

Speaking of inspiration, how often do people request for you to produce another track like ‘Run This‘?
It used to be frequent but even if I went to gigs where I’d meet people that have an interest towards the music I make, they didn’t really ask me about it. ‘Run This’ to me is a very unique piece of art because of the rappers that were in it and how it turned out for its time; from composing the music, to recording, to engineering the sound, directing, and editing the music video, that was all me. I don’t feel making another track like ‘Run This’ will justify what it is and was, so I doubt there’ll be another one.

How do you feel about being responsible for a song that received that much recognition at the time though? 
It feels great to be the first and only one in the industry at the time who made an effort to pull seven talented rappers in one music video with a dope soundtrack and to eventually form a friendship/brotherhood.

You mentioned starting your own studio, Kayabutter Co., about a year ago. What were other studios unable to provide you with that you wanted to start your own? 
I’ll quote DJ Khaled on this one… “the vibe.” Having my own studio had always been a dream I had since I began making music. I wanted to make music in a place that I was super comfortable in, I wouldn’t say other studios suck but it’s different when you feel at home while making art, plus from a business point of view, it’s more feasible to pay yourself for your own recordings.

Besides the homey atmosphere, what’s different about Kayabutter Co.?
Kayabutter Co. owns one of the very few and rare Yahama NS10-M Studio monitor speakers in Malaysia. These speakers have a long history behind it, people like A.R. Rahman and Dr. Dre mix with this same speaker, so, to actually have one to use myself is a privilege. Shout out to Tactmatic for the speakers. Thanks machings!

What are the costs like in regards to sustaining your own studio?
You could say it’s an expensive passion, but when you turn your passion into work that you can make money from, it will slowly sustain itself. Creating anything new is always hard in the beginning but if you’re persistent you will enjoy the fruit of your labour. I rarely concentrate on the audio part of my studio, I make a lot videos because that’s where the money is. I’ve directed many music videos including my own, the most recent work I’ve directed and am proud of is De Fam’s ‘With You‘. Making videos is very similar to creating audio, I draw out all my creative energy whenever I’m doing either one.

You’ve used a lot of references that Kendrick Lamar has popularised himself (caterpillar, butterfly). Do you feel like you relate to him?
I wouldn’t say I relate to him but if hip hop was a religion (which some hip hop heads already claim), Kendrick Lamar is pretty much a Prophet of our generation. People like him make the blueprint of what the genre will look, feel, and sound like for the next few years. There’s something he knows that some of us still don’t understand.

Because he’s more than a man, he’s a God. Continuing with the subject of creating blueprints, what kind of work can we expect to hear from you? Will it be similar to ‘Nobody Else’?
Looking at my beats archive now, I have many different kinds of music in it. I don’t really know what I’ll put out next, it really depends on the time and place. ‘Nobody Else’ was made about a year ago when I first heard the sample. When I did decide to put it out, I only sampled the saxophone for the middle part at the very last minute, I like revisiting my old beats and tweaking it to make it sound current. I feel like that’s a really dope way to make art, to try and match the past and present.

You’ve acknowledged that you’re growing wings — where do you want to fly to? 
(Laughs) I just wanna get high, high enough to see the world in a size of a marble and see how small all our problems really are.

Let us know how small it is when you get there. Last question, tell us your best joke.
I don’t have a “best” joke, but I came up with this two days ago — what do you call Michael Jordan dancing? Air JORDANCE!

Keep up with Ørumari here