Interview: Jeremy Olander
Sweden’s Jeremy Olander continues to go full steam ahead after what may have very well been the biggest year of his career.
Due in no small part to the launch of his own label Vivrant, the imprint has gone strength to strength since its inception with four (out of its five) releases going boasting Beatport #1’s, as well as a five continent label tour and a massive hometown showcase alongside Henry Saiz, Finnebassen and Charlie Don’t Surf.
See also: DHA Mix #265 By Jeremy Olander
Never one to succumb to trends and with an uncanny ability to present something surprising and intriguing with every release, Jeremy Olander kicks his 2017 off with “Damon,” a gripping new musical journey. But, the EP is only the beginning, as the year will also see Jeremy tour around the world (including a Los Angeles residency at Sound Nightclub and a debut show at Colombia’s Baum Park alongside Juan Atkins, Anja Schneider, Joris Voorn, and more), as well as a first-ever official collaboration EP project with highly touted Knee Deep In Sound mainstay Cristoph. With so much going on, we thought it was high time to get the inside story from Jeremy on all things Vivrant, Stockholm, “Damon,” and more.
“We started it [Vivrant] because we felt there was a void to be filled for my kind of sound, which is at bit of a cross between early 2000s progressive, techno and film scores.”
Your first release of the year is the “Damon” EP. It came out the other week. With new releases I always like to ask what the starting point was. So, with this EP what kicked the idea off for you? Was it a particular beat? Sound?
When it comes to releases we like to keep trying different approaches in the promotion and selection of tracks for EPs. The first release on the label was 4 tracks with very different vibes, the second and third were three straight techno tracks under my alias, and my last one last year were three different Jeremy Olander tracks in the my range of melodic stuff.
I’m not a fan of putting out one strong lead track and then adding a weaker one or two as a fillers. If you do that you can just stick to doing singles I think. We try to build a theme for the entire EP so both tracks have a purpose and contribute with their own kind of emotion. Even if one is after the other, it doesn’t mean it’s any less of a record. Even if they’re dance releases made for clubs, this kind of approach makes more fun to listen to EPs at home our in the car.
When we were deciding what to put out next we thought a two-tracker would be fun, since it gives each one more attention. We wanted to play around with extreme contrasts and pick two tracks on the opposite side of each other. One represents the darkest side of what I put out under Jeremy Olander and the other the most melodic and melancholic.
I never make tracks thinking about what might work on an EP. It’s more about writing music for my shows and then deciding which ones to go with. Both tracks off this EP were made for my label showcase in Stockholm last October.
You have an EP due with Cristoph later this year. How did this collaboration come about. What is it about Cristoph as an artist that compliments your own sound and approach?
I think we started sending DMs on Twitter to each other last fall. I was really into the stuff he put out on Knee Deep In Sound and he always used to hit me up after my Vivrant EPs saying he liked them. From there it just happened really organically. I think that’s an important thing.
We both have styles that overlap a bit. I you ask us about our influences as far as electronic artists, I’m sure we’ll give you a few of the same answers. I think Cris’ style is more UK with everything that entails. More jacking and he tends to go more tech than me. I don’t really know about mine. Maybe a bit more dreamy and atmospheric.
This is really the first official collaboration project I’ve done. In the past I haven’t seen myself as person that could do these because I have to be in control in the studio. With Cristoph when we got started everything just had a flow to it. I’m really happy with the final result and reactions when I’ve played these tracks out has been phenomenal.
I’m also so excited about the label we were able to find for them. Definitely a dream come true that I can’t wait to share.
Your ‘Damon’ EP came off your own Vivrant imprint, which has been making some waves over the past year. Can you give us some insight into the label’s creation? What do you feel Vivrant brings the world of electronic music?
Thanks! Yes, the reception has been great and I feel like the label has a great momentum a little more than a year into it. Super happy with the schedule we have for this year and leading into 2018 with stuff from myself as well as a bunch of new artists that we’re welcoming to the family.
We started it because we felt there was a void to be filled for my kind of sound, which is at bit of a cross between early 2000s progressive, techno and film scores. Ever since I started making music and putting it out I’ve felt like I didn’t have a home that fully suited what I did. That’s what Vivrant is. A home for me and everyone else out there that don’t fit anywhere else.
Did you have a particular favorite Vivrant release?
My favorite is probably the first EP, ‘Taiga’. Partly because it sets the tone for the sound of Vivrant in such a perfect way, but also because it’s almost feels like a mini-album. It has a very clearly defined beginning, middle and end. It’s a cool journey to listen to it fram start to finish at home or in your car as well as individually in a set at a club.
How is your summer shaping up? Busy? Any locations you’re particularly excited about visiting?
I’m getting ready to play two weekends of European shows before I’m off to Australia and China.
After that I have some time to work on new stuff before I’m back in America for 5 weeks. Tour kicks off at Schimanski in New York City, then the day after I’m playing my first residency show at Sound in Los Angeles and then Halcyon in San Francisco. I’m bringing Khen as a special guest to play those three shows with me. It’s his first time ever in America and I can’t wait to see people’s reaction when he plays. He’s very talented.
I really look forward to all the gigs, but if I have to pick one that really stands out I’d have to say Baum Park in Colombia. The lineup is stacked I’ve heard a lot of great things about that festival.
Do you have any destinations on the calendar that you haven’t yet traveled to?
I was recently in South Africa which was pretty high on my list. One place I can’t wait to go back to is Tokyo. I’ve been there a few times now and the city, the people, the food and culture really has really struck a chord with me.
Speaking of summer, its rigors are quite intense for touring artists. How do you prepare for the summer season? Do you have any spiritual or health procedures?
I wish I did to be honest. I’ve started going for long walks in the morning when I’m home but other than that I don’t do anything in particular. I’ve never been one for physical activity at all. I try to relax with the partying and pick my battles a lot more these days though. I think that counts for a lot.
You, and the label, are based on Stockholm. I’m wondering how you see the creative environment of the city? Is it strong? Is it communal?
The scene is as strong as it’s ever been I think. I find Stockholm very inspiring and I guess there’s something in the water here considering the amount of producers we have. I don’t really hang out that much with people that are in the scene though. Most of my friends are into it, but they don’t play records or produce. I think that’s nice because it gives me a chance to decompress and get a perspective on things. Get out of the bubble.
What (if anything) do you feel Stockholm lacks in terms of making it a major electronic music capital? Do you think that’s possible?
I think a big part is regulation. Right now the scene here is very strong on the underground side. There are a 5-10 events every weekend with solid bookings, great production at offbeat locations and warehouses. Those places are open a lot longer and many of the younger generation are opting for those events rather than the regular clubs. Granted a regular club will never be able to compete on a completely levelled playing field with an underground event, but the gap can be closed with more nightclub friendly laws. There was recently a mayor of nightlife appointed by the city. We’ll see where that takes us.
Finally, going back to your EP, if you could describe it in one word what would it be?
“Damon” is NOW AVAILABLE on Vivrant. BUY