We catch up with progressive house protégé, Jeremy Olander, to talk Goliath, Command & Conquer and the mafia
Jeremy Olander is one of the brightest new talents in the Swedish progressive house scene. Discovered by none other than Eric Prydz, Olander has become known for his dark, techno-influenced sets and frequent use of sawtooth bass. His new EP Goliath will be on BeatPort from Monday 20th April, so we caught up with him over Skype messenger to discuss everything from online strategy games to Miami to the Mafia.
Hi Jeremy! Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you first get into producing?
Jeremy Olander: OK lets see… I'd say I got into producing when I was around 15, 16. Pretty much around the same time I got into dance music. I got into Joachim Garrauds podcast quite early on and my friend showed me Propellerhead's Reason where he could make basslines very similar to the ones Joachim was making so I kinda ran home and downloaded a demo and took it from there. I've always liked strategy games where you build something and I guess I kinda saw this as a similar thing, you know putting together small pieces in the computer and make a complete track.
Cool, What sort of strategy games were you into? I was a big command and conquer fan! And in those early days was it still a progressive sound you were making, or were you focusing on other genres?
Haha yeah Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Diablo (I wouldn't call this a strategy game, but you still built a character which I enjoyed a lot) those were probably my favourite ones. Hmm I guess it was more of an electro sound back then for me but with a progressive structure. It's pretty much been music for clubs since I started, but sometimes I try out different genres as well. I would definitely love to have a period where I focus on a completely different genre, but with me touring I tend to want to make stuff I can play out at shows. I'm always eager to fill my sets with new stuff people haven't heard.
If you were to do that - focus on a specific genre, one that you hadn’t before - what do you think you’d be drawn to?
I think I'd go for hip hop. I was a huge fan of hip hop from quite an early age and it stuck with me. I'm listening to quite a lot of it at the moment actually. I used to be a 90s hip hop guy and then I just kinda stuck with it and ignored all the new acts coming up so now I'm kinda catching up on a lot of guys.
There’s a lot to catch up on! In the early years when you were making tracks as a teenager, did you manage to get to a lot of raves / sneak into clubs, or where you mainly going off what you got in the record store / heard on the radio?
Indeed! I would sneak into this one club in Stockholm called cocktail club which was located in a small 150 capacity basement underneath a fancy restaurant. They would be booking crazy acts that could fill stadiums today. Steve and Seb would play there, Eric Prydz, Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, the list goes on… It was such an inspiring place. I would say thats the place where I made up my mind that I want to pursue a career in this.
Sounds like the booker there new their stuff. When would you say your big break came, when did you start to realise that producing was your career?
Haha yeah! Well I was struggling for quite a bit, not getting a break, but I'd say when Eric had me tour with him was when it started to take off. He offered me to release music on his Pryda Friends label and support him on his first EPIC show + open for him at shows around Europe. I haven't looked back since!
How did you get in contact with him? Can you remember the first time you met him?
I would bump into him in Stockholm back when he spent a lot of time here and just say hi. Eventually he would know who I was haha. We also had some friends in common and they would put in a good word for me, I think. Also, they would send him my music and eventually he picked up on it!
Nice, he’s obviously been a great connection to have. It seems like he’s been a bit of a mentor for you, what’s the best bit of advice he’s given you / is there anything he really helped you out with?
Yeah he really has. I can't really come up with one thing in particular, but he's helped me improve my production skills like how to arrange a track and mix. Stuff like that and I've also picked up on some of his mixing (DJing) techniques.
Awesome and we’re just on the cusp of the release of your new EP, Goliath. Can you talk us through the tracks and tell us what each one means to you / what you were aiming for with the track?
I think all three tracks are quite experimental in terms of not really knowing where they are heading and something I really appreciate when I hear other DJs play. With that said, I'd say "Groover" is something I throw in when I play a bit longer sets which I love doing. I throw it in there when it's time to take it up a notch from a bit deeper. "Goliath" and "Bayhert" are more of peak-time bangers. "Bayhert" came together quite a while ago when I was listening to old electro-ish tracks that I love and I wanted to make something that resembled that time. "Goliath" is kinda the same thing for me, but instead of electro, I was checking out some old progressive tracks I used to love back in around 2006 - 2007.
Where would you recommend someone to listen to the EP in full - what’s the ideal scenario to listen to it in?
Definitely in a club setting! A smaller club for groover, a bigger one for the other two. I'd definitely be able to play "Bayhert" and "Goliath" at a festival as well!
I know you were in Miami the other week - we were over there making a documentary about the conference / ultra / etc. What did you get up to while you were there and why do you feel it’s important to you as an artist to attend?
Nice! Its become sort of a tradition for me and my buddies to stay at a friends place in Fort Lauderdale, which means we usually don't leave unless there is a really dope show we want to go to. In the beginning it felt silly staying that far away, but I've kinda grown fond of it now. It's super chill over there with a lot of just old people hanging around so its a lot more chill than the hectic South Beach. I definitely think it's important to be in Miami for the appearance, but at the same time its kinda lost its flare in a way as well. It used to be about meetings with other industry people, but I feel that its gotten kinda lost now with so many people going just to party. my first year there was 2011 so it was probably even more about meetings before that, but now i feel its none of that left!
After you first attended, did you notice a tangible benefit to your career? Or was it more something you felt you had to do, because it’s expected of you?
Jeremy: in the beginning i felt it helped me out quite a bit. I would meet industry people face to face which was great, but now its sort of expected of you, like you said. But its more like a nice holiday where u meet up with your other DJ pals you dont get to see too often either.
Yeah that was the vibe I got from most of the DJs! OK slight tangent, but why do you think the progressive sound associated with Steve Angello and the rest of SHM, Eric Prydz and yourself is so popular in Sweden particularly?
haha thats a question that i get quite a lot. I honestly don't know, but it might have to do with the weather being so shit that you just want to stay in and be productive. Also, when you're younger you are encouraged to try out something productive instead of just hanging around in the streets, so it's available to anyone who wants to try, be it tennis, or playing an instrument. maybe that might be the reason as well. There's definitely nothing in the water thought that a lot of people say / think that!
OK, so lets treat Swedish House Mafia like the actual mafia - when one family goes under a new gang takes over in the power vacuum. If you were to start you’re own group to take over from SHM, who would be your two bandmates?
Hahaha! Hmmmm. I'd go with Guy Mantzur and Adrian Lux. very very strange combination of sounds haha, but if were talking an actual mafia gang, i think they would have what it takes haha
Haha nice! What do you have planned for the summer?
It's gonna be a lot of touring. I'm going to spend quite a lot of time in the US. Also a bit in Ibiza! Summer is always a fun time, but at the same time very hectic. I don't mind though!
Finally, tell us something we don't know about Jeremy Olander.
Hmm something you don't know…. I secretly wish I was an astronomer!
Goliath is released exclusively on Beatport via microCastle on April 20th.
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17 Apr 2015