Was it a new music festival's strange marketing scheme? Was it an ID song title? What the hell was going on? The mysterious phrase even made its way into mysterious posts on Reddit forums r/trap and r/EDM, still without explanation.
Billboard Dance reached out to Zedd for official comment, but have so far only been told “huh?” Finally, it was a Twitter user's response to The Chainsmokers that gave us befuddled masses our first clue:
It appears the phrase's meaning refers to the onomatopoeia of Indonesian city buses. According to the Jakarta Post, the phenomenon began in November with a Facebook video that showed children shouting and waving signs with the phrase (which literally means "sir, honk your horn, sir") at passing city buses in Jepara, Central Java, then erupting in gleeful cheers when a driver accedes to their request. The video has garnered 1.8 million views and more than 45,000 shares since, inspiring others to imitate the feat across the region.
The Jakarta Post reports that this "telolet hunter" movement has led to traffic jams in Jepara, prompting the local police forces to urge drivers not to sound their horns.
Billboard Dance found this video clip of the “telolet” noise, and it does sound quite like a electronic arpeggiator. Perhaps it could make a sampled appearance in the next festival anthem?
But why were all the DJs tweeting it? Because Indonesian kids appear to be spamming DJs' social media accounts, repeatedly posting the phrase in their comment sections and tweeting it at them directly. They seem positively enthralled that what had been a regional inside joke has now gone viral internationally.
Why? Why do kids do anything? Is this something someone should capitalize on? Why yes, immediately. If this sample isn't dropped at the main stage of Ultra in Miami come March, there's no hope left for the scene.
Here's to hoping there are some 'om telolet om' remixes to come in the very near future. Until then, honk the horn, friends. Honk the horn.
Edit: Kudos to Firebeatz and Dillon Francis for already coming through here.