Butch Serianni is far from your average 24-year-old. Better known by his stage name, OddKidOut, Serianni has sky-rocketed to success, turning his childhood love for music into a professional pursuit and catching the attention of EDM greats like Skrillex along the way. Vivid Seats sat down with the self-taught producer to learn more about his transition into producing and what’s on the horizon for OddKidOut.
Vivid Seats: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you get your start in music?
OddKidOut: When I was really, really young - like just learning to walk - I would sit by the radio that my parents had and would listen and dance all day. I was obsessed with listening to music. One day, I was in my car seat and my dad saw me air drumming from the rear-view mirror. He asked if I wanted to take drum lessons, and I was quick to say yes. I started playing when I was 6 and it took over my life from there.
VS: When did you know producing was something you wanted to pursue more seriously? Was there a specific turning point in your career?
OKO: I had been a drummer for a while, but after playing and touring at a young age, I got a little burnt out. When I was 15, I asked for Logic Pro (music production software) for my birthday. I had a lot of creativity that I needed to get out, and the drum set was limiting that for me. After about a year of producing, I started to realize that I was pretty good at it. My focus began to shift from being the drummer to being the producer.
VS: What’s the inspiration behind your stage name, OddKidOut?
OKO: I consider myself a very social person, but I’ve always struggled with fitting in. In high school, I was part of the “cool kid” group. I went to every party, had a bunch of friends, etc. But I never could put myself in a group. My mentality was just always a little different from everyone else. When I got to college, I wanted to pull my hair out. I hated the idea of Greek life. I hated drinking into oblivion; that lifestyle was just not for me. OddKidOut came about in my freshman year at college. The name represents self-confidence. It represents loving yourself, doing you no matter what, and that the coolest thing you can do is create your own life.
VS: You’ve worked with some EDM giants, like Skrillex. How do you think that experience has shaped your music?
OKO: My experience with Skrillex was monumental. Before I entered that world, I was primarily a hip-hop producer. My environment was only Philly, and that’s what my music reflected. But working with Sonny and other EDM greats opened up a musical portal inside of me that completely changed my sound and changed the trajectory of my career. It allowed me to enter the DJ space, and it also inspired me to find my own style. I didn’t want to simply become Skrillex 2.0, but rather, I learned from him and began to craft my signature style.
VS: How would you describe your sound? Can you name some musical influences of yours?
OKO: Like I said in the last question, working with EDM artists helped me find my style. My sound is a mosh pit of all types of genres. I’ve always been influenced by all types of music, and I believe that the best musicians not only appreciate all types of genres but can also master them. But the best way to describe my style is electronic and hip-hop music merging. I focus a lot on energy as well, so I usually combine the high energy of EDM with the grittiness of hip-hop, and sprinkle in soothing chords from more melodic genres like soul and R&B. My first influences were J Dilla and Pete Rock, who are classic hip-hop producers. But then I started listening to The Police, and then Frank Sinatra, and then Bob Marley, and then Aphex Twin and Flying Lotus. There’s so many to name, it’s just a huge melting pot of awesome musicians.
VS: Walk us through your creative process when producing.
OKO: I think my best work comes out when I produce with either a goal in mind, or an emotion as inspiration. So, if I’m having a bad day and am sad, I will channel those feelings and try to create something that mimics that emotion. Same for if I’m hyped up and want to make a club banger. Sometimes, I want to produce a track for an artist, so I’ll listen to that person’s music, study a little, and then make something in that lane but is still true to my own sound. As far as the technical side, I’m super organized in Ableton so that all my drum samples are organized per genre, all my favorite VST’s are favorited, etc. That way I can quickly maneuver to find sounds I love and need, without slowing down the creative process.
VS: Looking ahead to 2020, what can we expect from you?
OKO: A few new EDM singles on some awesome labels, a more robust live DJ show that we’re gonna take on the road, some production work for some great artists, some new sponsorship additions, and a buunncchh of video content.
VS: With only two months left in the decade, what are some of your favorite music moments from the 2010s?
OKO: Man, there are a few standout albums I can list here that totally changed my life. “Until the Quiet Comes” by Flying Lotus (2012). I remember putting headphones on, turning off all the lights and listening to this in my room at the time. I was in high school and just started smoking weed and this album absolutely exploded my mind. I produced differently after hearing all the tracks on it. “Malibu” by Anderson .Paak (2016). The first time I moved to LA (pre0Skrillex) this album was my soundtrack man. One of the few albums I can put on and listen to front to back without skipping anything. I love that album. “Folding Time” by Sepalcure (2016). This album is ear candy all the way through. This was a big inspiration for me, the way Praveen and Travis orchestrated their tracks shifted the way I arrange my own songs. “Mind & Time” by Coletta (2018). Man, this whole album is amazing, just listen to it and you will see what I’m saying. Final one, “Modern History” by Part Time (2019). This album is honestly incredible...it sounds so warm and it puts me in a huge vibe. Specifically, the track “Chiquita Pesada” ...huge groove.
VS: What's the best live show you saw this year?
OKO: I took my Mom to a Sting & Shaggy show earlier this year and it was awesome. I’m a huge fan of both of them, so hearing some of their classics was great. It was a nice change of pace from the usual EDM or hip-hop shows I go to. And it put a smile on my Mom’s face, so it was an automatic #1 of the year because of that.
VS: Who are some artists we should be paying attention to?
OKO: Ashley Leone, Wesley Curtis, Coletta, Rei Ami, Chuck Sutton, Vinida, Dilip, Angelnumber 8, Kenny Mason, Cheb Rabi, IC3PEAK, 13thousand., IDKMir, EAUXMAR, Xander, Lihtz, 1403, YungTalent (14 yr old producer who is going to have hits), ford., Matt Ryan. I have a million more, but that’s what I got for ya at the moment.
Check out OddKidOut's most recent release, PISSY.