Q&A: Jeremy Olander
Ahead of his three-city tour, the Swedish electronica producer talks about his love for India, Michael Jackson and new material
Growing up on ”˜dad music’ ”“ Sixties and Seventies records by Elvis and Michael Jackson that his dad heard ”“ Swedish electronica producer Jeremy Olander hated electronica when he first heard it. Says the 26-year-old producer, “I thought it was kind of silly and repetitive. Gradually, I started to really appreciate it and I’ve been hooked ever since.” Olander, who made his India debut at EDM festival Enchanted Valley Carnival in Aamby Valley, near Pune last year, moved from writing code for computer programs to creating music, and is now among Europe’s top DJs.
The artist, whose tracks have been included in the sets of electronica artists such as John Digweed, Pete Tong and his mentor Eric Prydz, returns to India this month to bring a fresh dose of techno and progressive house. In his interview with ROLLING STONE India, Olander talks about getting into the world of electronica, his upcoming EP and why he’s always open to interacting with fans.
How did you start producing music?
When I was younger, I always listened to a lot of music and discussed it with my friends. But working with music felt so farfetched, it didn’t seem like something that I would ever do. Then once I was listening to [Italian DJ] Benny Benassi with my friend Oscar and he said, ”˜You can make this on a computer.’ So he showed me this program and it sounded just like the tracks that we’d heard. I also played a lot of computer games when I was younger and I really loved strategy games, I even tried a little bit of computer coding because I loved the idea of building up something, and now I can do that with music. I never really had any plans on making a career out of it. I just thought it was really fun that I could create music with a computer.
But you’re signed to Pryda Friends. How did that happen if music wasn’t something that you were actively pursuing?
By the time Eric Prydz heard my music, I had made up my mind that this was my career. It was long after I started producing and it had taken me a long time to get to that point. He was a big inspiration, so he was someone that I wanted to impress. We had friends in common who put in a good word for me, but in the beginning he wasn’t coming back to me.
Who have been your biggest musical influences?
Growing up, I used to listen to a lot of Sixties and Seventies music that my dad showed me. Elvis, Van Morrison and obviously, Michael Jackson – he’s someone who I’ve listened to my entire life. I was into hip-hop for a long time in my early teens, but eventually, I got into electronic music and stuck with it. In the beginning I actually didn’t really like it. I thought it was kind of silly and repetitive. Gradually, I started to really appreciate it and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Does your interest in other genres affect the electronic music you produce?
I think it does. Sometimes I’m influenced by even hip hop or acappella, it’s hard to pinpoint what inspires you, but you need to really listen to whatever you see or do. I still like discovering old music. I still listen to a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival or Van Morrison, I like going back and flipping through discographies of old artists.
What are you currently working on?
I have a new EP coming out which I think a lot of fans are going to like it because it’s got a bit of everything in there. It’s going to be very melodic. One of the tracks is going to be something that fans have been asking for; it’s a bit on the deeper side. I’ve written a lot of music recently and I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do with it. It’s hard in this day and age because you want to be careful with your brand. You don’t want to ruin what you’ve built up, so you’ve got to be careful with where you put your music and what music you release.
You were in India last December for Enchanted Valley Carnival. What was that like?
I have Indian roots, my mom is from India. I was always hoping that I would go there and I just thought the timing was right. All the shows were amazing! I was really impressed by that being the first run of shows. It was really well put together and the scenery was just amazing. The people really connected to the music, they knew the music even though I’d never been there, it was just a really, really good show, so I’m happy to be coming back there again. I know my mom is really happy and proud that I’m going to India, I know that she talks to her relatives and her friends about it.
How does your tour set differ from performing at a festival?
A festival is usually a lot shorter in terms of set time, but when you play in a club, you have a good four hours so you can create a proper journey. Festivals are really fun because you play all your big tracks, where as in a club it would take you a while to build up that kind of energy. I didn’t grow up when there were all these cool festivals that are around now so If I had to pick one of them, I think I’d have to pick doing club shows. That’s how I fell in love with the music, playing really long sets for clubs.
What can we expect from your upcoming tour of India?
I’m going to be testing a lot of new stuff. I have a lot of unreleased tracks that I’m going to be playing that people won’t be able to hear anywhere else. I’m going to be playing a lot of stuff from the new EP as well, but it will be very diverse.
You do a lot of work with Fehrplay and you two recently held an open forum on Reddit, how was that?
Fehrplay and I have both released [tracks] on Pryda Friends, so our friendship came naturally because he’s a really cool guy and we connected really well. We were in the US doing a tour together and he suggested that we do a Q&A. We didn’t know whether we should do it on a live stream or what we should do. He’s a big ”˜Redditor’so we decided that it was a really fun way to do it. There were pretty basic questions, nothing too crazy. Just a lot of production questions, tips and tricks, stuff like that.
Considering you were open to that, what is your relationship with your fans?
I think that it’s something that is really important. I still never get over the fact that people get so excited about seeing you, so I always try to meet people after the show. It’s a shame because people write me a lot of emails and I don’t have time to respond to all of them. But in person, it’s so much easier to talk to people and give them your time. People show so much appreciation for you and are always so friendly, they’re never rude or strange or anything. Sometimes, the club closes while I’m still in there talking to people and someone will say, ”˜Okay, you’ve got to stop talking now.’
Jeremy Olander India Tour 2014
July 11th ”“ Blue Frog, Mumbai
July 12th ”“ Blue Frog, New Delhi
July 13th ”“ Sanctum, Bengaluru