When “SugarCrash!” by ElyOtto was released, it came in the middle of the pandemic that drew the attention of millions via TikTok and eventually across multiple social media platforms. The song was a surprise to the 17-year-old artist, who said, “I uploaded a little TikTok about it, like, ‘Hey, check out my new song if you’re interested and it just blew up from there.” Born to parents who play in bands as part of Calgary’s local music scene, ElyOtto, who is trans, says he remembers distinctly his house being filled with the sounds of roots music as a child. Learning various instruments from guitar to keyboards while growing up, it was the sounds of OMFG and Skrillex that resonated moreso and inspired a focus on teaching himself GarageBand and looping found samples he’d stumbled across all over the Internet. Honing those skills over time led to his discovery of hyperpop artists like Dorian Electra and Kid Trash, who are big influences. With “SugarCrash!” recently getting remixed with features from Kim Petras and Curtis Waters, ElyOtto is building upon the recent success with more material on the way. “Before all this, I just didn’t think that my life was going to go anywhere,” he says. “Music was really the only real work I could do and feel happy and accomplished with. There’s a lot of pressure on what comes next, but I’d be failing myself if I didn’t try – and I can’t wait for what comes next.”
ElyOttto spoke with B-Sides host Pete Mar about his journey in discovering his true gender identity, the support received from his parents, the songwriting process and more.