EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE + Q&A: Young & Sick Strips Down “Ojai” & Dresses Up Ones To Watch Logo


Photo: Aaron Nathaniel Saltzman x Young & Sick

In a world where Instagram influence is gradually trumping tangible forms of expression, Young & Sick is a stark reminder of authentic artistry. The Dutch-born, Los Angeles-based artist truly lives and breathes his craft as a singer, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist. As each facet of his work provides creative impetus for the others, Young & Sick (Nick van Hofwegen) maintains a consistent flow of inspiration that clearly manifests itself in his very distinct works of art. 

Take the Ones To Watch logo for example - for most of us, the logo is a simple, sleek representation of the platform's acronym. For Hofwegen, on the other hand, it presented an opportunity. We couldn't be more thrilled when he offered to reimagine our logo, and are strongly considering a full site makeover to match the magnificent eye-spying, stereo-bumping, pizza-sliming beauty below.


He revealed on the delicate process behind this latest creation,

"When I sit at my table working, I get in the right mood by listening to new age music. Then I'll likely smoke a potent relaxing herb out of a handcrafted glass cat. And after that I don't think about it too much. I just let it flow. When I become a fan of something, or a music site in this case, it's always really fun to reimagine something important to it (a logo for example)."

The OTW logo is not the only profound piece of art that Young & Sick is debuting today– we've also got a stripped back, solo piano rendition of "Ojai" from his forthcoming Ojai EP. 

While the original "Ojai" sports retro synths and groovy basslines, the piano version dismantles all of the shimmery production to uncover the song's true foundation: a slightly melancholic reflection of our tendency to resist the harsh realities of today's world. Hofwegen sings of quite literally not wanting to get out of bed because "I feel everything / And it’s all too much / And I feel everything / And it’s all bad news." 

As Young & Sick shared,

"When you strip back the production of a track, at the end of it all, is a song. I've always loved stripped back interpretations songs. It leaves everything bare. Just pure songwriting. There is something really beautiful in that. My good friend from the Netherlands Mike Roelofs edited the piano part and recorded them in his home studio.

“Ojai” (Solo Piano) and the full Ojai EP are set to release on January 26 via B3SCI Records, including a physical 7" vinyl release available for preorder here. Your exclusive first listen is below in the meantime, followed by a Q&A with the budding artist. 

OTW: Tell us about your various music/art projects and how you balance/prioritize all of them?

They are all a living organism really. Sometimes specific projects require more attention than others. I try to sit each week and look at all that needs to get done. Then I just sort of start. Of course there are deadlines for specific projects, but beyond that it always seems to sort itself out. Like the art/music balance, switching between projects keeps me inspired. 

OTW: If you had to label your sound, what would it be called? If you had to label your art style, what would that be called? How do they work together?

I would call both of them a form of collaging. With both art forms, I take from a lot of things I love/admire in the world. I simply look at what's around me, take my favorite bits, paste those together, then try to add my own voice to make it really feel like my own and fresh. 

OTW: What can we expect on the full EP? Any particular themes or changes we can expect?

Y&S: This EP will show a nice range of what the next phase of Young & Sick will be. Also If you play the vinyl backwards… you won't understand a single word I'm singing. I'm really excited to share it with the world. 

OTW: Why the name, Young & Sick? Any particular advice for today's millennial generation?

Y&S: Young & Sick were the names of my pet-axolotls that used to guard my apartment in North-London. It's a sort of ode to them I guess. I miss them each day that passes.

As for advice, try to see the importance of an album in the age of media overconsumption. If you find an artist you love, really check out their body of work, rather than switching between artists non-stop. Really try to learn about those artists you love. You may get a lot more from it. At least I do.

OTW: What's the plan for 2018 and beyond?

Y&S: Lots more art, music, and collaborations. I'm working hard toward a follow up album. Better and more obscure dance-moves. Lastly, I wanna learn to play Hydraulophone.

OTW: Who are 3-5 artist on your Ones To Watch list?

Sarah Chernoff, Domenique Dumont, Lawrence Rothman