Rob Scallon, Ola Englund, and an Incomplete History of the Otamatone in Metal

  • Axl Rosenberg

Rob Scallon has teamed up with The Haunted’s Ola Englund to create a metal song using an Otamatone. And if you’re like me, your reaction to reading that sentence is, “What the fuck is an Otamatone?” Don’t let the comments section give you shit — it’s a fair question. Quick, friends, to Wikipedia!

“The Otamatone is a singing toy whose body is shaped like an eighth note (it also somewhat resembles a tadpole, ‘otamajakushi’ being Japanese for ‘tadpole’), with sound emerging from a ‘mouth’ on the notehead. It requires two hands to play: while one hand holds and squeezes the ‘head’, the other hand controls the pitch of the tune by placing the finger on a ribbon controller on the stem; a higher position on the stem creates a lower sound. The ribbon controller is deliberately delinearized to resemble a guitar, so there is a shorter distance between higher notes than between lower ones. Varying the pressure on the head (thereby opening and closing the “mouth” of the instrument) creates a wah-wah effect, and shaking the neck (and thereby slightly changing pressure on the head) creates a vibrato effect. Switches on the back of the head allow users to change octave, turn it off or on, or change the volume.

“The sound made by this instrument can be compared to the sound of a theremin,synthesizer, or jinghu.”

So, basically, a Japanese toy company made a toy sperm that makes farting noises when you give it a handjob, because of course a Japanese toy company would make something like that.

Also because of course they did: Scallon and Englund nailed this.

My newfound knowledge, and enjoyment of Scallon and Englund’s collaboration, led me to wonder if anyone else had ever used the Otamatone for metallic purposes. So I went down the Internet rabbit hole and it turned out the answer is, “Well duh.” In fact, Englund did one earlier this year, which I completely missed somehow:

Of course, even good ol’ Ola wasn’t the first to get in on the hot Otamatone action…


And then I found twenty bucks.

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