On a rain filled day, Oliver Heldens played a mental set in the indoor stage, Hangar at Parklife 2017 in Manchester. Spinning tunes of his past and future, his set was a perfect combination of his own tracks and insane mashups of famous songs. EDMofy got into a conversation with him at the beautiful artist village of Parklife 2017 and this is how it went:
What do you think when you’re naming your songs? Like Gecko, Koala, Flamingo are pretty weird names, not all artists name their songs that way.
The names come in a spontaneous fashion. Gecko at that time was an uncanny record which made me think of a weird animal, hence I chose the name. Similarly, Koala, Flamingo and Wombass followed.
In the Netherlands festival scene, there was a bunny dance trend which was essentially shuffling. I named a song Bunnydance, making fun of myself because that’s the way even I dance at my gigs. The techno purists hate bunny dance.
Top artists like Tiesto and Hardwell are also entering your kind of genre and making tunes that are different. What’s your take on that?
This is a great development in dance music. The sound used to be aggressive but now mature sounds work. In 10 years time, house music will be the thing. Groovy club music is what people want to hear. It’s not just about jumping and raging, it’s about actually dancing. Addictive funky beats that could make you dance for 6 hours straight is the way to go.
Do you feel bored of your music because you play it everyday?
I sometimes hear from my fellow producers that they get bored playing similar music around everywhere. It’s not the case with me. Gecko and Koala still give me goosebumps. I love making mashups and remixes to play in my sets hence it’s not only my songs.
Tell us more about your start, your journey from home production to where you are now.
I started producing when I was 12. Until I was 15, I used to give up easily and go back to gaming. At 15, I upped my game and got focussed, within 3 months I was got recognition from blogs. At the age of 17, I signed my first deal with Spinnin’ Records. The moment of change in my life was when I switched the knob in my brain and focused on my music.
What advice would you give to the new comers?
Other artists always say “work hard”. But I’m not too sure if that works. There are millions of people making music from their bedroom. You can’t be guaranteed to stand out of all those people if you work hard. The most important thing is to have a clear vision. Technical and producing stuff is second, knowing where you want to reach is going to make you stand out. Team up with other people, people who have the things you lack. It’s super fun to collaborate and I am really fortunate to be working with some great artists.
How do you describe your sound?
My sound is based on the UK deephouse scene. I came from the Dutch house and hard-style background. I used to listen to a lot of music by Fedde Le Grand and Sander van Doorn. The combination of the two helped me make my music joyful and catchy with some hard beats.
My Hi-lo alias has a more techno influence. I make techno tunes which get stuck to your head. I am releasing my new single Ibiza 77 (Can you feel it) this week. It is inspired by Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ which was released in 1977. I am tending to concentrate on the retro tunes to inspire my music. After all, old is gold!
You’ve played in India a few times now, do you like the crowd there? What makes them stand out?
I absolutely love the Indian crowd. I’ve been around the world, but the thing that makes the indian crowds stand apart is the way they dance. They literally move every part of their body. For an artist playing from the stage, seeing a view like this, makes anyone joyful very quickly.
Oliver Heldens was a gem of a person to talk to and his answers to our questions were on point. He’s a real fun guy to hang out with, he also showed us a few dance moves.
We’d like to thank the team at Parklife 2017 and Listen up PR for their support and opportunity to visit the festival and interview the artists.
Image credits: www.facebook.com/oliverheldens