Oliver Heldens

Exclusive Interview: Oliver Heldens discusses collaborating with fans

 “The last time I came to the UK, it was so insane! I performed at Brixton, but in Glasgow, I played from 9pm to 11pm and it was mental! There were 10,000 people and it was crazy… maybe even a little bit too crazy! We were worried that people might die or something!”

It may seem like a bold statement, but Dutch superstar Oliver Heldens understands the crazy British crowds more than anyone. Having been inspired by the UK dance scene growing up, (he states the rising deep house movement of 2012/13 and artists like Disclosure as inspirations), Oliver has always found an association with the people of the UK shores. Playing at the gigantic Creamfields for the 4th time this summer, we caught up with the ‘Gecko‘ producer to discuss wild fans, new tracks, and much more, backstage at the August Bank Holiday festival.

Oliver Heldens

You must very excited to be back at Creamfields! What do you think of the crowds in the UK?

They’re really really good! Especially the Northern areas. They are the most crazy crowds, especially in Scotland, Ireland, and the North of the UK. So I’m really excited to be back here and I think it is my 4th time here at Creamfields now, and the 3rd time on the main (Horizon) stage too. Every year here has just got bigger and better. I remember, my 1st time here, I played on Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso‘s stage, and the whole place was packed. It was such a great energy!

How do you decide the difference between an Oliver track, and a HI-LO track when it comes down to producing in the studio?

“Well, I could have just released everything under ‘Oliver Heldens’, but I wanted a different name so I could separate the two and it gives me more musical freedom. It is fun to DJ as HI-LO and those shows are way more tech-house.”

What should the people of Creamfields expect from Oliver Heldens?

“You’re gonna dance! (*Laughs*) People won’t stop dancing, that is for sure, and I’m making new edits and remixes all the time, so although I’ll play in some old tracks too, I’m actually also working on lots of new tracks. Like Alien Technology… I’m really happy with that, because it is doing really well in my live sets! It has a real techno vibe, and it is heading into that HI-LO sound. It is a collaboration with Alok, and is inspired by that Drumcode sound.”

Oliver Heldens

You have recently been dropping your own mix of “Everybody” by Backstreet Boys in your live sets. What is it about certain old skool tracks like this that makes you think “Yeah, I’ll play that out in my set!”

“Haha yeah I like playing them. Now because of technology people grow up with new music as well as older stuff. There are way more possibilities to listen to music than a few years ago. So people know the old skool tracks too at a young age. I think it’s cool to use that in my sets, combining old-skool with new!”

Talking of your live sets, you are known for including lots of fantastic mash ups, how do you decide on which acapellas to use for these?”

“I love to mix tracks that fit together. I guess I just select songs that I like and start working on how to mix them together. Sometimes I also ask for suggestions from the fans. That’s helpful for finding out new music!”

Oliver Heldens

This summer you hosted your Heldeep stage at Tomorrowland with many fantastic artists playing. Are there any new up and coming artists you’d recommend who are really impressing you right now?

“Having my own Heldeep stage at Tomorrowland again was amazing. I get inspired by artists like Throttle and AFSHeeNI did a couple of great studio sessions with AFSHeeN and they are great to work with, and hope to be releasing some of the tracks we made soon.”

With the DJ Mag Top 100 approaching, your ranking has got higher every year so far. How do you think you’ll do this year, and how important are these rankings to DJs?

“Yeah I feel very honoured with my position in the DJ Mag Top 100! I never would have thought this would happen to me. A lot of people ask me if it is my goal to become number one DJ but my goal is just to make music that excites me.”

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

“Well in mid-September I am going to tour Asia and then take a week off in Bali. I don’t party too much, so it will be nice to relax. But the track I’m releasing soon is very different, very future bass inspired, and very drum & bass inspired actually. I think a lot of people in the UK will like it! But it isn’t for my live sets, it is something that I want to have a little contest with. It is so melodic, that people can make their own lyrics, and sing their own song to it. So I want to get the fans involved on that! It is very poppy, very funky, and will be released at the end of September. I‘ll also be hosting my own Heldeep Records Night in Paradiso Amsterdam during Amsterdam Dance Event, so stay tuned!

A dynamic and diverse producer with the world at his feet, Oliver Heldens’ reputation continues to soar in the dance music industry, thanks to his personable charm, world-class productions and vibrant live shows, packed with energy and killer tracks. You can purchase tickets for the Heldeep by Oliver Heldens night at ADE this October here.

(BA Hons Journalism), 30, London. NCTJ-accredited journalist and dance music lover specialising in interviews, features, editorial work, and reviews. www.journojake.com

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