“You’ll definitely know when Otto Knows is on,” one of the security guards blocking the stage yelled at me as the Dont Walk after-party pumped behind us. Unfamiliar with the Swedish DJ’s music, I asked in hopes that the Ariana Grande remix playing wasn’t the set of the evening. Not aware of the up and coming EDM scene, and being in the dark when it comes to the week’s top ten R&B pop songs (besides putting Beyoncé’s Formation on repeat), I had no idea what to expect. But when a curly-haired lad with a beaming smile hopped on stage, I immediately knew the main act had arrived without needing to check in with the security manning the stage.
Dont Walk most certainly did not go small. Thinking of every detail, wowing the invitees with up-beat, under-ground vibes, the dark aesthetic welcomed a fun atmosphere and immediately pleased all. Glamorous vintage fur and cotton bucket hats filled the crowd as the models danced around the catwalk, waving at the dancers below. It was most definitely a night for experimentation, a night for expression.
So when Otto Knows turned up, he and his beats resonated with the vibe of Dont Walk. His white tee and tousled curls set up a casual vibe for the rest of the evening- yet when he slipped on the headphones, he meant business. He didn’t keep the crowd waiting and immediately jumped in, the crowd going wild for his most recent piece Million Voices. Calling his name as an explosion of confetti shot out from either side of the stage, the dance floor was out of control as his slow beats led into his booming set.
Not being totally familiar with house music, I didn’t know what to expect. The mellow beats with nice vocal collaborations were easy to dance to, the music soon escalating into full-on House. It quickly became apparent that his sound experimented with different paces. The tempo didn't always work when trying to dance due to the fluctuation between fast and slow transitions, often disorientating the dancers. Next to Me slowly lead the crowd into the thrash-your-body-around beats, but quickly dropped out from under us, the short flurry of upbeat dancing over before we could truly start moving. Leaving a confused audience to quickly find the mellow beat to dance to, some of the transitions felt slower than the confetti drifting to the floor.
But that being said, Otto Knows plays large venues with an upbeat festival-like attitude. The smaller crowd and dance floor within Kinkell Byre may have detracted from his electro-house vibe, yet he adjusted quickly. He created an intimate space between he and his listeners, the music transporting everyone to an underground dance house.
As we continued to find what beat to dance to, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Swedish DJ. We’re constantly searching for that music that can take us away, our auditory senses heightened when we discover it. But when you see a performer in person, it can either be a hit or miss. Otto Knows most definitely did not disappoint when it came to his energy. Always dancing with a smile on his face, whether singing along with the vocals, or moving his shoulders to a slow beat that escalated into a faster rhythm, the ecstatic DJ himself was the most captivating part of the evening. By the end of the event, you could easily say Otto Knows what’s up.