Oliver Talks DJing, Loving Old Records And More
Oliver is winning 2013. It’s only April, and already the same-name duo are lookin’ like clear frontrunners for best artists of the year. Things heated up fast with the uber successful release of the Mechanical EP on Fool’s Gold. The duo, consisting of Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein and Vaugn “U-Tern” Oliver, supported the release with a slew of shows that included Hard Miami and a tour with Dillon Francis.
We sat down with Oliver last Month after their set at Hard Miami, to talk about their successful EP, the role of performance in modern DJing, and what’s coming up for Oliver next.
GPS: How do you guys feel about the performance aspect of dance music these days? Do you believe a DJ should just DJ? Or give the audience what they paid for with crowd surfing, getting on the mic and the like?
Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein: I think about what I want to see when I go see a show. A lot of times, it’s not a couple of guys DJing. It’s entertaining, it’s a whole spectacle. Lights, Conan the Barbarian, swords, stuff like that. What do you think, Vaugn?
Vaugn “U-Tern” Oliver: Usually when we play, we kinda try to feel it out and see if people actually know our music. So, we’ll play a couple of our songs early on. If that goes over well, then we’ll play more of our music. If not, then we’ll kinda just cater more to the crowd. But even us catering to the crowd is, like, rave records.
GPS: You guys worked with Destructo on his track “Technology,” which in comparison to most of your other material is quite hard. Do you guys find that you are trying to do stuff differently in a way that let’s you make more then one type of sound and get away with it?
U-Tern: That’s what we would like for sure. A lot of the people that have influenced us were very diverse in their records and their albums and stuff. It’s kind of a classic approach. I mean, any old ’70s or ’80s record has one song that is supposed to be the hit record. Then there’s this smooth song, and then there’s something more aggressive. So we’re kinda classic in that sense. We just like so many kinds of music. We can make the same thing all day, but it would just be boring for us.
GPS: Do you think crowds nowadays are more open-minded as to what to expect from an artist or DJ?
U-Tern: It totally depends, you know? Like, what’s happening at the club and stuff like that. But I think people are pretty open minded. And the way we do our sets is, we usually start kinda down here and end up here, so everyone is going to get their fill.
Oligee: Depends where you are.
GPS: You guys have been playing shows all over the place. Have you ever dropped a song that was just totally out of place? How did the crowd react?
U-Tern: Yeah, I don’t know if we’ve done that. We kind of plan out our sets a little bit. We see who else is on the bill, when and where we’re playing and the night.
GPS: It gives you a better context of what to expect.
Oligee: Yeah, because, you know, if we are on at peak time and everyone’s been raging the whole time, it’s not like we’re going to go up and just take (the energy) down.
U-Tern: It’s always hard at the HARD events, because everyone is on the bill. All the stuff we love, they’re all DJing after us. So it takes away half of the music we want to play because they are going to play it.
GPS: Your Mechanical EP was actually just a selection of tracks that A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs helped you pick out to put it out on that release, correct?
U-Tern: Yeah, we did a bunch of demos over a few months. Those were the ones that stood out to them. We did a bunch of stuff. But I think it turned out well. There are a lot of songs that were good, but I don’t think they would have fit in that record. We’ll maybe keep those for later.
Oligee: We wanted to make sure the songs fit together, so there would be some sort of continuity.
GPS: In regards to that, a lot of full-length albums in dance music nowadays are usually just tracks that the artist selected beforehand. So with your album that you are working on, do you plan on having that as a story in itself?
Oligee: We’d like to be able to apply more conceptual ideas into an album, to help tell more of a story. We are fans of albums. Dance music is very “one-song-at-a-time.” We make music all the time, so we have a pretty large cache of stuff we can always go back to, re-work and finish. Hopefully it’ll all kind of make sense together.
GPS: Are there any artists or names out there that are making tunes that a crowd wouldn’t normally hear, that you feel crowds would like? Who is pushing the envelope for you?
U-Tern: Nothing really sticks out to me at the moment. I think we’ve just been doing this so long and we’ve been into music so long that we’re maybe a little jaded. I mean, there is so much stuff that we like, but for us there is nothing where we are like “Oh my God! These guys are killing it!”
Oligee: We listen to a lot of less dance music than other kinds of music.
U-Tern: The stuff that usually blows us away is old records. Actual songs, you know?
GPS: You have talked about how the experience of going to a record store and checking out albums is not as big as it used to be. Are you planning on releasing anything on vinyl to put that notion of going to the store back?
Oligee: Yeah, our EP is going to get pressed up.
U-Tern: Yeah, I’m not sure when that’s going to happen. I think they are trying to do a picture disc with the album artwork on it or something.
Editors note: The “Mechanical” EP picture disc vinyl is available now at the Fool’s Gold Store in Brooklyn. They’ll be in stores nationwide soon!
Oligee: It’ll probably be a limited run.
GPS: What have you enjoyed about your stay in Miami?
Oligee: The beach.
U-Tern: (Laughs) We haven’t even been to the beach.
Oligee: We haven’t really done anything. We just got here from SXSW. So we did that, flew here and immediately did a gig.
U-Tern: The Hard events are definitely a highlight. The bookings are so good. You come up to the VIP and everyone’s hanging out. Gary is really good at booking. He only books people that he likes as actual people, everyone is cool.