What Otto Knows

Illustration by Thomas Speak

Having grown up with Avicii and been subsequently mentored by Swedish House Mafia’s Sebastian Ingrosso, DJ/producer Otto Jettman certainly seems to know all the right people. We recently got the lowdown on his production process, tour-managing for his mentor, Ingrosso, and what it was like to be a part of SHM’s final tour. Otto next plays Light on September 6.

You have some history with another famous Swede, Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii, right?

We actually went to the same school and were in the same class until we were 10, and then we moved on to the next school together. He started making music really seriously, and I was just doing it for fun at the time. I got a lot of tips from him. His development was really inspiring for me to watch and see how he could really do something big. He did something that I didn’t really think any of us could do. We had Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, who were big deals in our eyes back then, but it was really cool to see Tim do something so huge. We still keep in touch.

You eventually came to know Sebastian Ingrosso, as well.

Yes! I’ve known Sebastian for a long time, and he always pushes me in the right direction and figures out the cool things to do.

How did you guys meet?

I met Seb through his cousin. He knew I was really interested in the music, and that I was producing and DJing, and he helped me get a job with Seb. I helped take care of all the music coming into his label to start with, and then I got the keys to his studio, and he said, “Come here whenever you want, as much as you can when I’m not here.” After that, I actually started to tour-manage for him, but after six months he said, “Now that you know what it is like to tour, you should really spend all your time in the studio, because you’re going to miss too much studio time otherwise.” So I started to seriously make my music.

What was the process of making your hit Million Voices?

I was in the studio just next to Seb and Alesso, who were making Pressure, so I was really inspired at the time, and I was just working away.

Is there’s added “pressure” now that Alesso has really blown up?

On me, no. I never compare myself either to Avicci or to Alesso. That would be so ridiculous. We’re three different people, and we have different songs even if our sounds are kind of similar. We have different thoughts behind the music, even though we’re all really good friends. The only pressure I have is from me, knowing that I can do better.

Now that you’re on the road so much, do you produce on the go?

I try to. When I produce, I ideally want a couple of hours where I really can sit down and focus, because if all I’ve got is two hours here and there, I can’t really get into it. It’s really hard to get the right feeling in headphones, so I try to rent studios wherever I am and do as much work as I can when I’m home.

You were part of Swedish House Mafia’s One Last Tour—what was that like?

Obviously, Swedish House Mafia is the reason why I started doing this. So to be able to go on tour with them, on their last tour, was just something I might have dreamed about a couple of years ago. It was crazy, and I got a great response everywhere we went. I also got to know Steve and Axwell very well, so I felt a part of the whole thing. All the shows were amazing, but especially Mexico City—that one was so huge.

It was at this big monster truck kind of stadium, and when I started playing they turned off the lights, so it got completely dark and everyone was screaming. Ax and Seb were in the green room backstage, which was 300 meters away, and when I put on my intro and it kicked in, the ground stared shaking. They were like, “What the fuck is this? Is there an earthquake going on?” They ran up to the stage and tried to figure out what was going on, and it was 60,000 people yelling. The whole stage was really cool.

What’s next?

I have a remix called “Starlight” coming out on Axwell’s label, Axtone, and then an original with Mr. Thomas Gold coming out as well.