Berlin-based DJ/producer Oliver Koletzki is a man who’s been at the forefront of the contemporary house scene for his some time – even if it came as some surprise to us that he’s fast approaching his 40th birthday. Mind you, that’s a good thing, and is probably attributable to the modern textures that abound on his Stil vor Talent label more than anything else. Indeed, Koletzki’s not in any sort of rush to calm down either, and his latest EP, the brilliant She Wants Acid – a collab with fellow SVT man, Niko Schwind – is indicative of the fact – check out one of the tracks from that EP over on Deep House Amsterdam. Here we caught up with Oliver to talk about his year so far, his future plans and life at the label…
How’s winter been for you so far? Exciting? Stressful?
I spent the whole of January in Australia touring, so it’s been pretty good thus far. We premiered my new live act there together with Niko Schwind – Koletzki & Schwind. Exciting times indeed.
Have you broken your new year’s resolutions yet then? What were they?
As I turned 39 this year, I’d like to take care of things I never got round to in my 40th year. That is taking a driver’s license and learning how to ski. I had my first theory lesson last Monday and am going skiing next week.
So where are you at now with your music? How are things going at the label?
I wouldn’t say I’ve reached an ultimate goal yet, I’m still hungry. In the last years I have focused on pop oriented music, which gave me a little more exposure at times than I would have liked to. Currently I’m starting to play harder, more techno leaning tracks again, which will influence my new productions. The label is blossoming – we’ve reached our 150th release and have been running for 10 years now.
What do you look for in producers looking to get their music signed to the label?
Stil vor Talent, as the name suggests, aims to find talented producers with individual styles.
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How long did it take before the label got to a stage where you considered it quite ‘successful’?
For me, the label was successful the moment we managed to actually pay the artists their first royalties, or the moment when someone asked whether they can wear our logo on a t-shirt, or the first time a club requested a label night. It isn’t about the profit you make or the position in a readers’ poll that measures success. It’s about the unforgettable moments we all shared together.
How do you stay motivated musically? What’s influencing you a lot these days?
I’m still inspired by the wonderful city I live in, Berlin, with its incredible nightlife. After 20 years of DJing the motivation has stayed the same: the people on dance floors and the kids who buy and support my music.
Has working with Niko Schwind given you a renewed focus in the studio?
Definitely. I’m a great fan of getting input from others in the studio. Niko comes from a house background and I think that our styles and the way we work has created something entirely fresh.
What does he bring to the production side of things that was missing for you before?
Niko is great at drum programming and arrangement.
Do you purposefully try and challenge yourself with your sound? Or are you at a stage where you’re very confident with your skills?
I always try to set myself new challenges, but I’m also confident that I have the skills to produce what I want to.
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What’s the next direction for you as a producer? Would you ever consider deviating away from house and techno?
I’d love to do a hip hop or trip hop album some time. As I said, I am currently really into harder stuff again. And I feel I’ve already covered quite a lot of ground on my past albums, which incorporate all kinds of influences outside of house and techno.
Do you feel then house and techno scenes are in a good place right now? What would you change about them if you could?
I reckon electronic music is healthy at the moment. I’m a little worried about ridiculously high DJ fees in EDM and that electronic music is becoming a little commercial at the moment with all this saxophone stuff playing on the radio.
So can you tell us a bit about your latest, She Wants Acid? How did it come about and what was the idea for it?
Niko Schwind and I didn’t go into the studio with a thorough concept, we just knew that we wanted to go a little harder and faster than before. Making the tracks, we always had in the back of our minds that we’ll be presenting them live as part of Koletzki & Schwind. So we just rolled a few spliffs and let the vibes flow.
So do you think the scene changed much since you first became involved?
It has definitely grown a lot. In Berlin, there are open airs now everywhere in the summer – every weekend there are plenty of parties. Moreover, it seems as if DJing is just another hobby these days.
And what’s next with you and the label that we can watch out for?
This year I’ll start work on my sixth studio album, which will be released in 2016. My label Stil vor Talent is celebrating its 10th anniversary, so you can look forward to a big tour and a great compilation. Moreover, we’ll be releasing albums by HVOB, Teenage Mutants and Dan Caster.
Koletzki & Schwind’s She Wants Acid is out now on Stil Vor Talent, pick it up here.