Collaboration as Evolution: The Expanding Soundscape of OPLIAM’s Music
Indigenous musician OPLIAM’s last album, All Roads Are Good, was recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, and it was the perfect occupation for that isolating time. Liam McDonald spent “millions of hours,” as he put it, recording and producing his third album. It perfectly showcases his evolution as an artist, providing an immersive musical experience.
“It was my first deep dive into self-production,” Liam says. “I was out of work. And so I was just home producing everything. Throughout the lockdown, I put all my energy into making pop music, rock music, all of it, and seeing how much time I could put into recordings. And, you know, it gave a specific self-produced but authentic vibe.”
Apocalypse Dance Party is due out in April 2024. His newest album will again illustrate Liam’s development as an artist. His creativity makes a 180-degree turn, this time filling the studios with collaborators to help him write, record, produce, and altogether reimagine what music can be in the 21st century.
The first single from this groundbreaking package of music is titled “Waves Crashing,” and McDonald describes it as an “alt-pop, hip hop, psychedelic rock, fusion song.”
“This single is like all of my influences melded together. My entire life, everything from hip hop to rock music, is all blended into this beautiful, soulful, experimental trippy song. At the same time, it also hits the right notes for a pop song,” Liam explains. “Most of the music on the upcoming album blends genres. So it’s kind of hard to describe any of it.”
Liam McDonald says the song’s message is fearlessness and risk-taking in life and music. It’s also an example of how beautifully he and his partners can make a song and push boundaries lyrically.
“The single talks about obscure topics and takes a totally different angle,” Liam says.
The new album, which McDonald is still in the middle of creating, is a collaboration of talent. Indigenous musicians from all over the world have joined OPLIAM on Apocalypse Dance Party. The musicians started with McDonald and the four members of his regular band: a background vocalist, drummer, bass player, and then another guitar player who switched off rhythm and lead guitar parts with Liam.
In addition to that, Mack Woodward is mixing and mastering the album, McDonald says.
“He’s a Grammy-certified mixing and mastering engineer,” Liam says. “He’s worked with everybody. He produced, mixed, and mastered my last two albums. And then he’s worked tuning Michael Jackson’s vocals, Beyonce, Ciara, Fergie, Maroon 5, and many many more. He’s the final superhero, at the end of the line. This first track will be a really good splash for people to see what’s coming. ”
The Indigenous musicians who are contributing come from Canada, New Zealand, and the United States so far. McDonald says more will contribute, but he doesn’t yet know who else is going to join, because the creating continues. This collaboration solidifies OPLIAM’s international credibility.
OPLIAM is using this coalition of world-renowned musical artists to steer Apocalypse Dance Party in brand-new directions, using Indigenous values, perspective, and creative rhythms.
“This kind of tight teamwork allows the album to go into dimensions that we’ve never hit before. That’s because right now, we have the right people,” Liam McDonald says.
“The Indigenous music community is so international that it’s allowed me to have more of a worldwide listenership. That’s kind of changed our focus because I’ve been touring in the United States, mainly in the Midwest for the last decade. Yet a majority of my listeners aren’t even on this continent.”
This global presence has led OPLIAM to take extensive worldwide tours, where he enthralls audiences in Australia, New Zealand, and more. When the new record drops on April 4, 2024, people everywhere will be ecstatic. Listen to the album’s lead track, “Waves Crashing,” which is currently available for streaming on all platforms.