There are few acts as on point as OC & Verde right now. The UK production and DJ partnership had a killer year in 2016 and have followed it up with a great start to 2017.
The likes of Pete Tong have noticed and have marked them out as ones to watch, and ahead of them playing all over Europe this summer they also have a new EP coming. It is a techno leaning affair featuring two killer cuts and comes on the new iVAV label, a techno imprint from the VIVa stable.
Here we speak to them about the first time they play Ibiza, what makes it so special and more besides before they play at Faction & Magna Carta at Eden.
“It was a breakthrough year for us”
How are you, what’s good, what’s bad right now?
OC – All good thanks, keeping busy, what’s good right now is the UK weather for a change and what’s bad is the new update on the twitter app and the amount of hip hop vocals getting rinsed in tech house haha 🙂
How did you two first meet and when did you start working together? And why?
Verde – I used to run a design agency in Blackburn where Ben (OC) used to get his flyers for the club nights he was putting on at the time printed. We got chatting about music, I mentioned I was a producer which Ben was really keen to get into to take his DJing to the next level, so I invited him to my studio, we made some tracks which Ben played at his gigs and they went down pretty well so we decided to set up as a duo, I showed Ben the ropes producing and he showed me the ropes DJing and 10 years later OC & Verde was born.
Who does what, do you both have similar skills or different? Do you have similar tastes of do you compliment each other?
OC – We definitely both bring a different skill set to the project, that’s why we work as a duo to get the best of both worlds. I come from a DJing and promoting background, I’ve been playing since I was 13 and putting on parties since I was 16 so when we first got together I bought that knowledge to the table and Jon brought his production knowledge to the table. At first it was quite defined as Jon was the Producer and I was the DJ but we’ve been at this 10 years together now so that’s not the case anymore, the line is blurred as to who does what and we DJ together as a duo and there isn’t a hihat or a clap in any of our tracks that we haven’t both agreed on.
Taste wise I’ve always been into the more tougher sounding music and I focus more on percussion and weird noises where as Jon is a lot more into the deeper more melodic sounding music so together I think you can hear both of us in our tracks.
2016 seemed like a breakthrough year for you – why was that? Did it feel special?
Verde – It was a breakthrough year for us, we’d been trying to get our music to the right labels for years and it felt like we were hitting a brick wall for so long then eventually, with a bit of luck we got our track ‘Symphony’ to Hot Since 82 and he signed it to Knee Deep In Sound, which was amazing, we then sent him Maasai and Iboga and he put them together for an EP and we were so happy with that, we were really confident with the music but with a DJ of Daley’s stature supporting the music it really put us on the map, he played those tracks all over the world, videos of him playing them were popping up on a daily basis, the track kind of took off and went viral, then the icing on the cake was getting the Essential New Tune for Maasai off Pete Tong, dream come true for us really. That EP on Knee Deep really opened some doors for us and properly got us noticed.
And how did you get with Knee Deep In Sound? Did you send off demos or did you meet the boss or?
OC – Funny story this, our manager got us a remix for a track on Defected Records, we were producing under a different name at the time so we did the remix, wrapped it up and thought to ourselves this is amazing, it was definitely the best track we’d ever made up to date. So we sent it back to Defected feeling pretty confident about it and they knocked it back haha! They said it wasn’t for them and didn’t want it so we were absolutely gutted, we were really disheartened by it, but, at the same time as this was happening our manager was chatting to Daley about something and he quickly emailed us while he had him on the line and said have you anything I can give to Hot Since 82 for Knee Deep…. we didn’t have anything other than the knocked back remix we’d done for Defected… so we quickly took the vocal off the remix, as that was the only original part of the track we’d used, and sent the track to Daley re named as ‘Symphony’ and he loved it, played it out a few times then came back to us and signed it to Knee Deep! So we changed our name and that’s kind of how OC & Verde was born. Thank you need a bit of luck in this business and that was ours, massive thanks to Daley for taking that track but also Defected for knocking back that remix haha 🙂
What’s it like when the likes of Solomon and Digweed are playing your tunes? Do you take that feedback with you into the studio next time you go or?
Verde – Solomun is probably one of the best selectors in the game right now and Digweed has always been, Digweed was a God to us growing up, still is really so to have those guys playing our tracks is mind blowing and yeah sometimes that has affected what we’ve been making in the studio but that’s not necessarily a good thing, when you make music aimed at certain labels or DJ’s it can limit your output and also when you’ve done something for a certain DJ and they don’t like it, it can really dishearten you, and that has happened to us a few times so we don’t do that now. We make music purely for ourselves, if we’re happy with it and want to play it that’s the main thing and we look at what label to place it on afterwards.
Pete Tong has given you lots of support – whats that like, have you spoken to him personally?
OC – Pete Tong has played every single track we’ve released this year on Radio 1, his support has been unbelievable and he named us as his ones to watch for 2017 earlier in the year. Such a legend in the business and a proper hero of ours. We’ve actually not spoken to him face to face but will hopefully get the chance to bump into him soon, maybe in Ibiza and say thanks for the support he’s given us 🙂
What are your aims in the studio? Do you make tunes for certain nights, clubs, moments in a set?
Verde – Again we just make music for ourselves, we make music for different times in our sets and we make music for summer or winter or for big rooms or more intimate venues but we never really have a set plan on what we want to make we just go with the flow.
What gear do you have in your studio, are you software guys or do you love that hardware?
Verde – We’ve got quite a range of gear now, been at it quite a while so you do just end up collecting things over the years. In all our productions we tend to combine software and hardware. We use a lot of the Native Instruments stuff, mainly Maschine and all the Arturia stuff too but we also have a Moog Sub 37 which we get most of our bass sounds from and a Prophet 6 which would use a lot for leads. Its nice to have a decent combination of both.
You play Ibiza this summer – what’s your relationship with the island like? have you been before?
OC – We both love the island, I’ve personally been every year now since 1998, I’ve had cousins and friends get married over there and I’ve got very close friends who live there all year round so I’d say I know the island pretty well. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, obviously the more recent changes towards the VIP culture has been the most striking thing really, and we’ll see how that goes, but the magic for me is still there, there’s no place like it in the world.
Now after years of being a punter on the island and standing on the dance floor looking up at the DJ’s we’re finally getting to be on the other side and be in the DJ booths playing our music to people so for us that’s a dream come true and if anything is making the island more special for us. We’re playing some wicked parties this summer for Do Not Sleep, Cuckoo Land and Faction plus we’ve just done the Viva Warriors opening party with Steve Lawler which was amazing so we’re just over the moon to be getting out there quite a bit this summer 🙂
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
Verde – We’ve got our release Navajo/Mañana out now on Steve Lawler’s new label iVAV which were really excited about. Also our track Solstice is still doing some serious damage for us, Adam Beyer closed his set at the opening party of Cocoon at Amnesia Ibiza with it last week which was mind blowing! Then we have collaborations with Eli & Fur and Veerus that are being finished now and some pretty big releases we can’t talk about yet coming the back end of summer, also we’re really busy on tour at the moment so looking forward to the festival season and more trips to Ibiza this summer:)
OC & Verde – Navajo is Out now on Steve Lawler’s Techno label iVAV. BUY