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ooi (pron.: owiː ) is a trio whose intriguing avant-pop stands out despite — or perhaps even because of — their never having met in person. After a chance online encounter in 2016, Tokyo-based US expat Nicolai Zettl (vocals) teamed up with German drummer Flo König and Dodo Dal Bosco (keys) from Luca, Italy; soon exchanging recordings and skyping on a daily basis. Devoid of shared “real life” experiences, the trio relied on their imagination as a primary source of inspiration, thereby creating an entire cosmos complete with its own surreal characters and psychedelic narratives embedded within a mature and flamboyant sound.
A prime example of this cosmos is the debut single Sharks, a radically unconventional summer pop hit that brings to mind a coked-up cabriolet cruise down a Thomas Pynchonesque boulevard lined with offbeat characters and hallucinatory palm trees. Its sonic journey leads you through an array of catchy pop hooks straight into a kind of macho-fairytale-rap. The equally bizarre lyrics recount the story of a narrator who, after a long winter’s wait, has finally come back to Rita, his beloved pet albino alligator who has a weakness for sweets, coke, as well as anything snakeskin.
While Sharks gives us a first taste of what we might be able to expect from this outlandish internet collaboration, 2018 will see the group releasing further singles, giving their debut album its finishing touch, and meeting IRL for the first time to perform a selection of live shows in Europe and Japan with additional musicians.
today is a special day
the winter war ends
soon i’ma come home to you
then we’ll cook some fresh fruits
my reptilian love
you’ve got the sweetest tooth of all
now come out come out to play
i waited all winter for you
time to chew on some new shoes
and get high as a kite again
hit me on the roof when i’m coming down
you know i can see for miles when i lose that frown
my pet gator goes by the name of rita
and i bet you’ve seen her before
i bleach her teeth three times a week
she sniffs the coke off the floor
wears snakeskin accessoires exclusively
knows every robo-dolphin between the bay and beijing
she’s one of a kind, L.A. di-ethylamide
and damn sure knows she’s too lucky to be real
still she’d never show it
and oh how i love her for it