Interviews

Jeremy Olander

“A jack of many sonic trades, Jeremy effortlessly floats between his eponymously released deep and emotionally charged progressive house, big vocal-infused belters and drum-oriented techno.” That’s what we’ve listened to of him, that’s what we’ve heard live from him, and therefore, we agree. Before seeing Jeremy Olander play for the first time at Bijou Boston last week, we had an idea of what to expect, but he delivered to a much higher extent. Between those sounds just mentioned, plus some unanticipated trancey breakdowns, he sure brought the room on a journey leaving everyone attentive until the lights turned on. We sat down with Jeremy after his set (once he was finished chatting with some fans in the coat check line) and found out a few things like why he’s never played in Berlin, headphones of choice, and how the Essential Mix with Eric Prydz was composed.

Describe your sound with three words.
Eclectic, progressive, pumping.

Who gave you your first chance playing out?
In Sweden, I only did a couple of club shows because I wasn’t very keen on playing club gigs there unless friends had a club. The first show I did outside of Sweden was with Dragan [Dirty South] in Miami. He invited me to his show at Mansion during Winter Music Week in 2010 or 2011. Then Eric [Prydz] invited me to play Epic, which was a couple weeks later. I considered that a lot bigger, but when Dragan invited me I was nothing, so big ups to him.

Of your own work, what’s your favorite original and remix?
My favorite remix is one I did for Digitalism’s “Circles.” It turned out really dark and pumping and I still play it out. My favorite original is the one I play out the most, “Let Me Feel,” obviously since it’s the biggest track and it’s a track I’m really proud of. It’s the track that’s given me the most attention. The one I’m most happy with is “Fairfax.”

How did you and Eric [Prydz] go though the music selection progress for your recent Essential Mix?
He put together a playlist of tracks he wanted to play, and I put together some tracks I wanted to play. Then we went from there. Eric didn’t have an intro he wanted to use, so I used one of mine; he has a bigger fan base than I, so [his fans] probably haven’t heard all the stuff I have. We’re really happy with the results. Putting it together was easy because Eric has a ton of unreleased tracks he can use and I have a few as well. We wanted to keep it fresh and exclusive and not play the same things we always play. It came out pretty dark, which we were happy with. It keeps it more original and stands a test of time keeping it that way, instead of playing vocals you get sick of all the time. We’re both about playing dark so it isn’t like we went far away from our sound, either.

From your own experience playing out, how would you differentiate the crowd in the US from the crowd elsewhere?
Let’s say Europe. I think there’s a big difference between Europe and the US. In the US, people are eager to hear new stuff; it was the same way in Europe back the day when I got into house music and people wanted to hear unreleased stuff and new sounds. Now people are too snobby with music in Europe, I think. I’ve never played in Berlin because I think you need to be super super super underground and be so cool, or you have to be super commercial and play a big festival. It’s not really like that in the US. You can have a big festival with a wide range of people with different sounds on the main stage and people are eager to hear it. They’re not as stuck in these subgenres as they are in Europe.

Has anything memorable happened in the crowd while you were playing?
One thing that stands out was when I played in New York ― a girl was crying, which was quite emotional to me as well because I never thought I could bring out those emotions in people.

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Which headphones do you use? What do you like about them?
Sennheiser HD 25. They’re very house-y They have a  lot of bass, are very clear and a good price, and they’re closed headphones. You can feel the punch. The reason I started out with them was because I saw the DJs i looked up to using them, so I got a pair and stuck with them. It’s not about what you use but it’s about getting to know what you use.

What’s the most effective piece of constructive criticism you’ve received, and from whom?
I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was, but I have this friend of mine, Philip Jensen. We don’t talk much anymore, but he really helped how I’ve engineered my sound. We got to know each other and he’s a super cool guy; he was way ahead of me when I got to know him. I would send him ideas and he’d be like, “Jeremy this sounds like shit, this is ridiculous,” and would just slaughter me. He’d tell me what to change and what to do better. He’s by far the most influential critic I’ve had around me. Nowadays, people I send my music to are my friends because they don’t have that DJ sense, so it’s good to get that perspective. I sent music to Eric and my manager, I like to keep it close. I like to get something out of the feedback. Some people are too scared to tell me something sounds like shit or it’s boring or needs something added to it.

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