In the music industry two faces means versatility, giving you the freedom to indulge in different sounds and experiment with genres, sacrificing your ‘image’.
As the first-ever disciple of dance music producer Eric Prydz, Stockholm’s Jeremy Olander creates layered house music with melody for imprint Pryda Friends but when he feel like delving into the techno sphere he becomes the darker, bass-driven Dhillon.
His live show is quite a spectacle visually, while musically it’s a journey you’d never expect. On stage Olander is given the chance to embrace his alter-ego without ever disappointing his high-energy punters.
Jasmine Phull speaks to the fan turned grasshopper ahead of his SW4 gig.
It’s been more than a year since you were first signed to Eric Prydz’s Pryda Friends record label. Since then you’ve released two original EPs, one remix for Digitalism on the label and supported him on tour. Going in as a newcomer, what’s something you weren’t expecting?
It’s been a rollercoaster ride going from playing the occasional shows at small Stockholm clubs to headlining a beach party in Tel Aviv just the other week, and playing with Eric in Ibiza.
One thing I wasn’t expecting is how nice people are in the dance music community. For whatever reason, I thought it was going to be a lot more cut-throat, so to speak. I guess that’s kind of the general perception of the music industry as a whole, but it doesn’t apply to dance music I think. This mentality is a big reason for why I love being a part of this community. Everyone is keen on helping each other out, supporting one another, having a good time and making great music. Everything else will sort itself out.
Does being the first signée to Pryda Friends come with a lot of pressure?
I’m not going to lie. Going into the studio, meaning my apartment, I was nervous and struggled a lot to find my groove when working on the first three-track EP for Eric. Just the thought of knowing that I did it for Pryda Friends and that he was going to critique it didn’t exactly help. It took me a while but after a bit, I suppressed all that negative pressure and tried to think of it as any other production session pre-Pryda, and it worked.
Your debut EP Evade/Riots/Chronic was a three-track initiated by Prydz. Did you have a theme or framework that helped you mould the sound of the release?
Not much of a framework. Well, I knew that Eric is very picky so I put an incredible amount of effort into that EP. Eric heard Chronic and said that he loved it, but that it was B-side material, so I guess took that to heart and went on from there.
Did Prydz give you much of brief - if any?
Not really. We both have our own processes and ways of going about producing music and I at least like tell myself to think that he signed me because I have the capacity to produce stuff that’s worthy of being on Pryda.
On the 30th of July, you released a track called ‘Layerleaf’ on Drumcode as a part of their A-Sides compilation album. How does your Techno moniker Dhillon differ in sound?
I’ve barely wrapped my head around the fact that I have a track out on Drumcode. It’s just as much of a dream come true as the whole Pryda Friends thing. I’ve been really into the Drumcode sound for years and think it’s one of the labels that have contributed the most to the progression of modern Techno music.
I basically see Dhillon as my polar opposite, sound-wise. There are recognisable bits and pieces that give away that Dhillon is me in the overall production, but those tracks are a lot darker, bass-driven and have less melodic aspects.
How much input do you have in every other aspect of Jeremy Olander the producer/ DJ?
I do focus mostly on producing music and playing shows, but my manager and I have a really close relationship and bounce ideas off each other all the time with him doing all the work on the other end. Even though he’s “the man with the plan”, we work closely together on pretty much everything and share a common vision. It works out really well.
Both yourself and Eric Prydz share the home city of Stockholm; has coming from the same roots contributed to your relationship or is it irrelevant?
A little bit I guess. Since I pretty much started out stalking Eric at his shows in Stockholm, in the early years, I think he had a vague idea of who I was before we were formally introduced and he got a chance to hear my music.
In terms of on-stage performance, have you found you’ve become more comfortable playing in front of crowds of people?
Definitely. I feel a lot more at home on stage now. I couldn’t relax for weeks going into my first big show, which was EPIC at Brixton Academy with Eric, Adam Beyer and Funk D’Void. Just looking at the bill made me equally as nauseous as excited.
Do you like to engage with the crowd or pretend they’re not there?
I love engaging with the crowd! It’s always such a pleasure to be able to take people on a musical journey with your set. That’s always my goal, rather than just play predictable full on bangers track after track. To be honest, I’m still a little shy when I’m up there, so from time to time that holds me back. I get better with every show though.
You’ve said you weren’t always a house music fan. What music did you listen to as a teen in Stockholm?
I would listen to anything. A lot of old music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I was also very into hip hop, especially from the New York area.
Was there someone quite musically influential during your youth?
I would have to say my dad. He was always encouraging me to learn to play an instrument and would open my eyes to all great artists like Van Morrison and Roy Orbinson, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Jarrett. He took me out to concerts as often as he could too.
Where are you currently based?
My base is still home. Stockholm, Sweden. I have no immediate plans on moving right now, but I’m sure I will at some point in the future to make travel a bit easier.
Where would you like to be based in order to progress your music?
As I tour and travel to countries I’ve never been to before, I get inspired a lot when I’m on the road by things I see, people I meet and the crowds I play for. I feel like I can kind of bottle that and bring it with me home to Stockholm, so for the sake of inspiration I don’t feel like I have to move somewhere. Stockholm is an awesome place in its own right.
The first album you bought?
I think it was a massive compilation album with hits from the 50s called Rock Around The Clock.
An artist that you’re really digging at the moment?
Richie G. He’s a young up-and-coming producer from Montreal, Canada. I believe he just turned 18, already have a release on Bedrock and does the most amazing, forward-thinking techno I’ve heard in some time.
Is there something in the music industry now that didn’t used to be there?
Social media. I think that’s what defines the age that we’re in right now. It democratises everything and allows anyone to get their work out in front of people without the help from major labels or gigantic marketing budgets.
Your last expensive purchase?
The new MacBook Pro that just came out. I ordered it just other day actually. My old one has been a faithful servant for the passed six years but is starting to give up on me. I’ve done all my tracks since day one using it, so it’s definitely going to be a little bit emotional saying good-bye.
How important is visual aesthetics on-stage? Is attire important?
It depends. I really enjoy playing small, intimate clubs with minimal visual effects where the music is in the focal point of the experience. But at the same time, elaborate live shows are a really important part of dance music today and with the music itself being almost like a promotional tool to raise your profile hopefully more people come to your shows. Developing live show concepts and giving people a unique experience is super important. In my case, my sets consists of 90% Jeremy Olander or Dhillon material, so in that sense, people that come to see me play get to listen to music they won’t hear anywhere else.
As far as attire, no, I don’t think so. Wear what you’re comfortable in that will allow you to put on a good show.
Which do you prefer: studio or stage time? Why?
It’s way too difficult to pick just one. They kind of go hand in hand. I make music for the clubs and when I go on stage I play to get a sense of whether people enjoy it or not. I guess if you had a gun to my head and forced me to pick just one, I think it would have to be studio. That’s where I’m the most creative and the feeling of working on a track you are really happy with is indescribable. Then again, when I’m playing a new track and get a massive response - that is amazing too. Damn it, I guess you’re just going to have to shoot me.
One great - recently deceased - artist?
That’s easy. Michael Jackson!
This will be your second festival season. What’s something you learnt from the last?
Wear wellies at UK festivals.
Interview: Jasmine Phull
- Date: Sunday 26th August 2012
- Event: SW4 Weekender - Sunday 2012 at Clapham Common
- Venue: Clapham Common
- Artists: Andy C, Erol Alkan, Simian Mobile Disco, Maya Jane Coles, Skrillex, Skream, Seth Troxler, Jack Beats, Eric Prydz, Benga, Friction, Flux Pavilion, DJ Fresh, Borgore, Pete Tong, Redlight, Sasha, Doctor P, Dyed soundorom, Youngman
Catch Jeremy Olander on Sunday 26th August at South West Four.
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