Exclusive Interview: Andrea Oliva

Someone who has really come through blasting over the last few years is Andrea Oliva. The Swiss DJ travels the globe regularly playing everywhere from Miami to Ibiza and all the hotspots in between. He has a residency with ANTS, one of the white island’s newest party concepts, which takes place at Ushuaia every week and also hosts events outside of Ibiza. This weekend ANTS lands in Belgium for the Extrema Outdoor Festival, where they have their own stage. Ahead of the event, we caught up with Andrea to ask him a few questions…

Growing up in Switzerland, who were your main local inspirations?
Rozzo, Gangsta, Djamin, Alex G & Fame and a lot more, but those guys were ace!

Which clubs did you go to when you first started getting into house/techno?
I was very young, so I pretty much started to go to clubs when I first started DJing in them.

At which point did you decide you wanted to become part of this industry? Was there any particular moment that really gave you the motivation to start DJing?
My older friends Alex and Michel gave me everything I needed, from the equipment to the inspiration, motivation, skills etc… For me, starting to DJ felt like I had learned to play an instrument, I was like 12-13 years old and I didn’t even consider the industry or the techno movement at that time, I just wanted to learn to mix those records and I was fascinated by the art of music.

How did you manage to get your first gigs? Can you remember your very first gig? How did it go?
Probably the first and the worst was in a village near where I lived! The perfect place where you shouldn’t play this kind of music haha!

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What’s the biggest fuck up you’ve had while DJing (either through your own mistake or someone else’s)… ?
In the very beginning you have a lot of fucked up situations, it’s where you learn and start to grow… I’ve found that the more you fuck up, the stronger you get.

You’re doing really well but was there ever a point where things weren’t so good and you considered taking another direction in life?
Yes, I’ve definitely had those moments, where you’re at a point where you really want to make it a living, but the money is just not enough to make it worthwhile but you really really really don’t want to go back to your normal job. Again those moments make you change and make you more determined and allow you to work on yourself, by spending days and nights in the studio.

What options did you have apart from music? What other job would you like to have ended up doing?
I had nothing else other than producing and playing music. That was most scary part!

When did you start to feel that music was becoming something you could actually make a living from?
It was at a time when I was playing tons of gigs in Switzerland, every week 3-4 gigs and I suddenly realised that I hardly had bad gigs anymore and that the clubs I was playing were always packed and the reaction of the crowd was a bit different from when other Swiss DJs played. I had to be smart enough to not just let it go, but work hard so it would not last for just a year or so. I knew that I needed to see it as an opportunity to start earning a decent living and become a touring international DJ just like those guys I had always looked up to.

How did you go about getting international bookings?
Production was the key. Once people overseas started hearing my music they became interested in what else I had to offer and then the bookings started to come in.

You’re closely allied with the ANTS event, can you explain the concept to us and what makes it such a good party?
It’s a very innovative concept, where the marketing of the party, the place and the quality of the booking all fit together so well. The real aim is to give people an amazing experience when they come to Ibiza. Our goal with ANTS is to make people feel at home, feel part of the party and give them the best musical experience we can. The Colony is open to everyone. I was sitting in a the plane recently and the guy sat next to me introduced himself and told me he was part of the colony! I thought, ‘YES! This is it, this is exactly what we wanted to happen!’.

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Production-wise, when did you start making your own music?
It was around 10 years ago officially, but I was always inspired by my uncle Claudio. He had a studio about 20-25 years ago and I remember listening to his music and finding it hypnotic.

Do you have any musical background at all? How did you learn to use the software?
I’m completely self-taught. I learned everything by myself, just by literally pressing buttons and seeing what sounds would come out.

How would you say your musical style has evolved since you first started making beats?
I hope for the best! Haha.. I guess it’s up to the listener to be the judge of that though. I’m having fun and all the while trying to improve my skills.

Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to this summer…
I get some pretty schizophrenic emotions when I think of the summer! I’m very happy everything is working so well, after some pretty big changes last summer I was not expecting to be touring so much and playing all these amazing festivals and clubs, so it’s fair to say, I’m living the dream! Although, looking at how much I have to travel nonstop from now till October is a bit scary.

What releases do you have forthcoming?
I’ve just finished a remix for Guti’s album “Rompecorazones” plus I’m launching my label Nordstern Series and I’m also working on an album which I’m putting out on Objektivity at end of the year or very early 2015

How is the scene in Switzerland these days? Any up and coming Swiss guys we should know about?
Of course! We are on fire. I don’t have to mention the old ones because we all know them. You should definitely check out DJ Le Roi, Adriatique, Gianni Callipari, Yvan Genkins, Michel Sacher, Animal Trainer, Jimi Jules… And I’ve definitely forgotten a lot more! The point is, we have some fresh up and coming artists coming through from Switzerland, which we should not take for granted between all the cheese and banks we have in our country!

And, internationally, any new guys you’re really feeling?
Sure, far too many to pick only a few. Let’s just say this is definitely a good time for new talented guys to make a difference in this scene.

Lastly, which five tracks (new or old) are really smashing the dancefloors for you at the moment?
I just got a new Samu.l bootleg, which is going to smash all the outdoor parties for sure. That Mass Prod, Marco d’Aquino track called ‘No Hummer Music’ on Cargo is also smashing it and Mr. G’s productions are ALWAYS smashing it. There’s also a new track by Daniel Steinberg called ‘Stamina’ which has an amazing groove, I’ve been playing it in all my sets lately. Again, there is some really good music out there at the moment!

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Andrea Oliva will play the ANTS stage at Extrema Outdoor Festival, 8th June in Belgium. More info here: http://xofestival.be/en/home