Maya Bouldry-Morrison, better known as Octo Octa, has been one of the most notable underground house producers of the 2010s.
Debuting in the early years of the decade with smooth, hazy releases for 100% Silk, including the 2013 full-length Between Two Selves, she gradually developed a more breakbeat-heavy sound, as displayed on releases such as 2019's For Lovers.
Chicago-born Bouldry-Morrison bought her first drum machine in high school for the sake of playing with friends, and it was around this time that she started to absorb electronic music. While attending the University of New Hampshire, she began making IDM and experimental electronic as Octo Octa, eventually switching to house music. In 2011, the now Brooklyn-based artist signed with the then-emerging 100% Silk label (a subsidiary of Not Not Fun) and debuted with the four-track 12" Let Me See You, highlighted by the slightly off-center, Amerie-sampling "I'm Trying" and the simultaneously blissful and slightly ominous "Coldwaves." By the end of the year, she assembled a cassette of segued material, dubbed Rough, Rugged and Raw, which was sold during a tour prior to being made available as a digital download. The following year, Bouldry-Morrison produced Freedom 2K for fellow 100% Silk act LA Vampires, as well as Oh Love, another four-track 12" release. The album Between Two Selves followed in May 2013 with eight more tracks of dreamy but dancefloor-oriented material.
Octo Octa released one more 100% Silk EP (Cause I Love You) before issuing material on a wide variety of underground house labels, including Argot, Running Back, and Deepblak. Bouldry-Morrison officially came out as transgender in 2015, and gave a lengthy interview with Resident Advisor in early 2016. Her second proper album, Where Are We Going?, appeared on HNYTRX (the imprint of San Francisco-based crew Honey Soundsystem) in 2017. Typically lush and enticing, the album featured a slightly more breakbeat-heavy sound than her earlier work. Octo Octa's rave-friendly 2018 split EP with Eris Drew was one of the year's most acclaimed dance releases. Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour released Octo Octa's EP For Lovers, highlighted by the nearly ten-minute "I Need You," in 2019. Third full-length Resonant Body was released later in the year by T4T LUV NRG, the label run by Bouldry-Morrison and Drew. The album was recorded in a cabin in New Hampshire, and the producer described it as her "most spiritual and nature-connected work." ~ Andy Kellman & Paul Simpson