On The Record: DJ Osna
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Is it a case of overblown ego or healthy self-esteem? Call it what you want, but when it comes to DJ Osna and his music, he has sky-high standards and can’t help but go for the jugular.
Music is the centerpiece for the accomplished hip-hop producer and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated artist (with his group, Angry Locals). His proven abilities in the studio and on the mic seem to overshadow his prowess behind the decks, but don’t get it twisted — Osna is the ultimate triple-threat.
‘Sneaker Pimps Hawaii’
With Dead Prez and local openers Prie, Angry Locals, The Lightsleepers Band and Jim Hurdle
» Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
“I like to consider myself more (one) of those old-school DJs who weren’t categorized,” he said. “The type of DJ (who) could play at any party. It doesn’t matter what genre, what venue or who’s there, the old-school DJ can rock it no matter the circumstances.”
For Osna the DJ, quality over quantity is the name of the game. Such an attitude comes with no shame or filter. Whether it’s selecting which gigs to bypass or bringing out two-step and twerk tendencies from the crowd, his ideas are carefully orchestrated and based on what he knows will work.
“I feed off a crowd, so the bigger the crowd the more I enjoy it,” Osna said. ”I prefer not burning myself out until the right opportunity presents itself. For now, I”m focused on taking my DJ skills to big venues and big crowds.”
After soaking in three days of EDM overload at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas last weekend, Osna is primed and ready to delve back into the hip-hop arena at Friday’s Dead Prez concert at The Republik.
Along with his charismatic, sometimes R-Rated antics is a serious side built on sheer focus. “Osnizzle” can best be described as a straight shooter; a talented local boy never afraid to give his opinion because backing up his claims are standard procedure. He is well-schooled in Honolulu Nightlife 101 and understands as sweet as success may be, sugarcoating doesn’t exist when it comes to business, and it’s important to not only keep up with the latest trends, but how valuable it is to stay miles ahead. It’s a position he relishes.
That being said, Osna is adamant that DJing will never take a back seat to any of his music endeavors.
“The only way to separate yourself from the other DJs is play songs that they don’t have and the only way to do that is to make your own music,” he pointed out. “The only way I can achieve (my goals) is to stop DJing five nights a week and spend that time in the studio producing remixes and music in general so when I do DJ at these concerts and festivals I can play my own exclusive tracks. I started off as a producer who became a DJ, which is a lot easier transition than DJ to producer.”
Two years is the timetable Osna has set for himself to reach his next level aspirations. Osna may very well be ahead of schedule.
“The DJ has become the artist now, the DJ is the show,” he said. “Nobody wants to pay top dollar for a cover band which is what most DJs do, play other people’s music. Time to separate from the rest of them!”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.