ØZI joins FAULT Magazine for an exclusive cover shoot and interview.

Photographer: PoyenChen

Art Director & Stylist: Yii Ooi

Despite being born into an entertainment legacy, ØZI has managed to carve out a career and style wholly unique to himself. This week, ØZI released his sophomore album entitled ‘Pedestal’ a record which builds on the triumph of his debut while also promoting further self-reflection.

We caught up with ØZI to discuss his musical journey, his new music and his FAULTs.

Pedestal floats seamlessly between RnB, HipHop and Alt-Pop throughout, is taking influence from multiple genres a conscious decision and do you ever fear that not sticking to purely one musical archetype might hurt your chances to succeed in any one genre?

ØZI: The way I see it, it’s hard to define what genres mean to people anymore. I love how there are no more lines between the genres of “pop” and “hip-hop” when it comes to charts, and I’m part of that generation. 

I feel like characterizing myself by genre would restrict my music from evolving. Time changes, culture changes, people change, I will change, and every genre I tap into would be my own take on it.

Following the success of your debut album and subsequent awards, do you feel added pressure to live up to the hype surrounding your music?

ØZI: Self-expression is always a priority for me. I feel the pressure to never lose focus of why I’m an artist, and why I started. Everything else takes its course. Industry expectations stress anyone out and I do my best to keep my own space stress-free. I do challenge myself to not repeat myself though; if I’m not expanding my ideas and sounds, then I’m not being the artist I set out to be. Everyone who takes the time to listen to my music. I know that you are listening , and I’ll keep my focus on y’all. 

In the opening monologue, you breathly explore being in your head and no one relating to the things you say. As your acclaim grows, is there a fear that this insecurity or feeling will only grow?

ØZI: I feed off my insecurities, it’s the charge to kick my ass out of bed every day and create. My biggest fear is one day not understanding who I am, losing all sense of purpose from being held on a Pedestal, and that will free-fall to wanting to quit. In that monologue, I’m telling myself to wake up. 

What was the hardest song to write on Pedestal?

ØZI: “LUFU,” sadly because I feel for anyone in that situation. The feeling of being second or a side-dish is harder to write down on paper haha. Then the process of producing and shooting the music video with myself in Taipei and artists in Seoul and LA with the same vibe all during a pandemic was definitely the REAL challenge. Glad we were able to pull it off.

The world has changed a great deal in the last year, has this affected the way you create?

ØZI: Well, I love the energy of hitting new cities and vibin with new cultures and experiences. I guess it’s from me being raised in 2 cultures. This pandemic was like cutting the wifi off at my house. I’m good at home, but meeting different people and feeling different energy is just what’s so beautiful about touring around the world. Can’t wait for things to open up again. I’ve learned to prepare for any possibility now, but I can’t wait to visit new cities again and share.

What’s the worst take you’ve read about your music?

ØZI: Oh from my mom for sure. I respect her artistically so much, she’s gonna kill me if the vocals aren’t clean. Topic wise tho, she gotta let me be me haha. And because I answer to her, no other comments will kill my day. If you are listening, we are good. 

Is there ever a disconnect between the artist you’ve become and the artist others expect you to be and what do you do to stick to your own path?

ØZI: I’m not sure what people expect. I can assume people want something real and honest, that’s what I want from artists I’m into. That’s my sandbox and what I stick to though regardless. My path comes from understanding what and where I come from, and how to amplify that and make more real moments and memories. I need to live a life I respect, live out those moments, then my truth becomes a deeper story and one I’d love to share. Right now my story and path is the years I’ve been breathing, and nothing more to that. I created my label Forbidden Paradise with that same vibe, to create new moments and stories in life that can take you to your own paradise. The path is unknown and we love that. 

What is something people rarely ask you about?

OØZI: oooo, I have 2 actually. I’ve never been asked about my fried rice burgers. The FP squad will let you know haha! I love spreading my culture and Taipei is known for that. I make the buns with traditional flavored fried rice, fry em, and then throw some quality marinated beef on top. Gotta add a touch of that local made soy sauce. Still perfecting my culinary skills, but I love balancing tradition with new energy. 

And second, why is the slash in the Ø for ØZI so important ? A slashed zero will always mean within my name: zero fucks will be given, zero L’s will be taken.”

What is your FAULT?

ØZI: A lot of times I bite off more than I can chew. I’m constantly inspired and stimulated by cool things I see, hear, or experience. When that happens, I get my hands on it immediately, and I end up with like 20 tasks that I gotta do simultaneously. There are times that I just get overwhelmed by so many things at once and my head becomes total chaos.