What does ‘Om Telolet Om’ mean, and why are dance music DJs sharing it?

It's the hot topic in the dance music world right now

The year 2016 has been full of seemingly unanswerable questions: Why do all of our favourite people keep dying? How did Leicester City win the Premier league? Why have things gone so horribly wrong? And, well, this.

And it seems that, even as we prepare to bid this most horrible of anni horribiles a warm ‘fuck off, now’, the people of planet Earth are continuing to question one another – and, right now, the hot topic of debate is: “Om Telolet Om?

Yes, Om Telolet Om. Don’t worry, the keyboards in NME towers are still in working order – Om Telolet Om is indeed a thing, and it’s a thing that has been of particular concern to the dance music world since yesterday afternoon. It seemingly took off with a genuinely inquisitive tweet from Dutch DJ duo Bassjackers just before 3PM, before quickly becoming the buzzword of the day among the bassy electronic community on social media. Behold:

But is it awesome, Mr. Mello? One estimate suggested that ‘Om Telolet Om’ has been used over 790,000 times on Twitter since it blew up yesterday, but with very little understanding as to what the phrase actually means.

But don’t fret, reader – let’s take the plunge together and uncover the mystery behind 2016’s latest oddity. As pointed out in a reply to The Chainsmokers’ own investigation into the meaning behind the phrase, ‘Om Telolet Om’ originates from an onomatopoeic saying in Indonesia. Still with us? Good.

So ‘Telolet’ represents the sound of a musical bus horn in Indonesia, which has become something of a catchphrase among children in the country since November – kids often implore bus drivers (sometimes with written signs) to sound their customised horn while passing them on the street, as you can see from the below video, which was taken on a street on the island of Java.

Riyadh As’ari – Inilah video yg jadi viral dan akhirnya om… | Facebook

Inilah video yg jadi viral dan akhirnya om telolet go internasional

As for the ‘Om’, it’s a form of addressing or describing an older man in Indonesia – similar to ‘Uncle’ or ‘Sir’. So, to recap: ‘Om Telolet Om’ essentially translates as ‘Sir, honk the horn, sir’.

And the final piece of the puzzle – why has the phrase taken off in the dance music world? It appears that Indonesian fans have started spamming their favourite DJs’ social media feeds with the phrase, and yesterday’s celebration of ‘Om Telolet Om’ on Twitter among the DJing community has launched a once-niche joke viral.

There’s talk among some DJs about sampling the admittedly excellent customised bus horn sounds in future material, with two artists already hot on the trend (see below). 2016 may have been soundtracked by something like an elongated groan, but it appears that we’re checking out of this most dastardly year with the funky sounds of the horn on the bus.