Vista-bred beat maker Oolacile brings it home
When Oolacile (aka Cooper Medearis) plays Bassmnt on Friday night, it’ll be a homecoming of sorts. The guitarist, dubstep producer, and DJ grew up in Vista — where he lived until moving to L.A. less than two years ago.
Starting out as guitarist with a love for metal, it wasn’t until his older sister introduced him to acts like Prodigy, Pendulum, and Basshunter that the younger Medearis started taking an interest in electronic music.
As a member of multiple local metal bands, he played venues like the Epicentre and Soma’s sidestage, but by the time he enrolled at Mira Costa College, Medearis was already playing gigs around the world as Oolacile.
Yet other than playing surprise B2B’s with DJ friends, Medearis has never headlined Bassmnt or any other major San Diego club — this despite making a name for himself in the dubstep scene with multiple EPs and a slew of singles.
In March, he appeared on the track Take Me Over on L.A. duo Dodge & Fuski’s debut full-length, The Greatest Album of All Time, released on the pair’s own Disciple Records.
And it won’t be long before he releases more material of his own. PACIFIC spoke with the DJ ahead of his appearance at Bassmnt on Friday night about it all.
PACIFIC: Finally playing your own gig at Bassmnt!
Oolacile: Yes. It’s exciting. I’ve definitely been going there for years. But it’s cool to get booked there and have my own show.
Is the Embers EP the last record you’ve put out?
The last EP, yes. But I put out singles all the time. I actually try to put out music every month. That’s kind of the goal. In dubstep, you fade fast. You’ve got to keep plugging away.
So even if you have a cache of music, you’re going to parcel it out.
Exactly. There’s just so much promo that you can pour into each song. There’s a limited amount of time before people give up on paying attention. But it all really depends on the kind of artist you are.
There are a lot people who can really build careers out of their personalities, DJing, and social media. They don’t need to be as aggressive with the music they release. But there are those of us that are a little more shy and aren’t as good with that aspect, so we need to be more aggressive with the music side of things because that’s just who we are.
Has music always been a part of your life?
Big time. I started playing guitar when I was 12. Took lessons. I was in metal bands all throughout high school. In college, I studied audio engineering and was a guitar teacher in an after school program.
I discovered electronic music — specifically dubstep because it combined the heaviness that I liked from metal with the electronic elements that I wanted to learn how to make. And I just started focusing on that more than guitar.
When I was younger, I was playing guitar for six to eight hours a day. Slowly, that got replaced by producing for six to eight hours a day.
Can you ever see a time where you go back to the guitar, or a time when those two worlds could collide?
As far as combining metal and dubstep, I have a hard time doing it. And when I hear other people do it, it tends to sound cringe-y and bad to me. There’s only one artist I’ve ever heard do it well and that’s Phase One. He’s from Australia, but lives in L.A. now. He also comes from a metal background and is the only one that’s been able to do it in a cohesive way.
But I always have my guitar and write metal, rock, and funk tracks that I record and produce at home. But they don’t fit this project so they sit on my hard drive. I think a lot of the same process goes into it all, though. I don’t feel like it’s that much of a shift even though it might sound like it. My writing process just doesn’t change that much. It’s kind of like a muscle memory thing.
What’s next for you? Can you talk about anything?
There is a lot coming up. I’m doing a track with Uber & SVDDEN DEATH called Savceboys, and another one with 12th Planet called Bongo Boi. I guess there’s kind of a “Boi” theme going on (laughs).
I’ll be going on tour soon as well. Can’t really talk that much about it yet, but I’ll be going out with two artists, one from the UK and one from Germany, and it’s going to be their first time doing U.S. shows.
And I used to be a lot more secretive. I used to want to please labels and thought that was a way to do it. But now, I just want to do me.
When: 9 p.m. April 13
Where: Bassmnt, 919 Fourth Ave., downtown
Cost: $10 (18+); $200 VIP packages available
More info: bassmntsd.com
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.