Oliver Heldens talks Heldeep, working with Tiësto, and upcoming shows.
The Sherp had the opportunity to have quick rendezvous with Oliver Heldens at the third edition of Bacardi Enchanted Valley Carnival this weekend in Aamby Valley. While Fatboy Slim riled up the crowd at the Cosmos stage, we settled in at the Artist Village backstage with Oliver to discuss his music, Heldeep Records, and his underground alias HI-LO.
Hey, Oliver. We’re all super excited to have you here. What can your fans expect from your set tonight? Any new stuff?
Yeah, yeah. I’m always working on new music. I’m also always looking for new music to develop my sets. Tonight I’m going to play ninety minutes. Usually I get to play only sixty minutes, so tonight I can go a little bit deeper, build up a little bit more.
You were so young when you were recruited by Tiësto. You’re still young! When you released the track “Gecko”, did you have a plan, did you have it all figured out? Or were you winging it as you went?
I was just making a lot of music. I didn’t really have a plan.
Speaking of Tiësto, he is playing a headlining set tomorrow. What kind of a rapport do you guys have?
So I sent him “Gecko”, which was my breakthrough track. Since then, we just kept in contact, and we would also talk about doing a collab, this was like over two years ago. And then I sent him some stuff to work on, and there was one he really liked, it was the first one – “Wombass”. So we started working on that together, and we finished it together. And then last month, we released the track.
So how is it working with him in the studio? Does he inspire you in any way?
Yeah. He’s one of the legends; he has a really good ear for music, and he also gives really good advice.
He’s sort of like a mentor, then?
Yeah, kind of.
There are so many young DJs emerging these days. From your fellow electronic artists, who should your fans watch out for?
Yeah, yeah. For example, I did “Shades of Grey” together with Shaun Frank, […] and a new track with Throttle, [whom] I also really like. He’s a guy from Australia, he’s making [music] that he calls “dirty disco” and the track we did together is a blend of our styles. There are so many different artists from different countries, who are doing great stuff at the moment. I really like Fox Stevenson, from England, and Curbi – he’s only seven years older than me. There’s also great music coming from my friends, like Shiba San. So much good stuff. It’s really nice for me to have Heldeep Reacords and Heldeep Radio, so I can give plentiful to the new house DJs.
Let’s talk about Heldeep. How is the record/radio show doing?
So I started Heldeep Radio in the summer of 2014, and yeah, it was a big success. There are a lot of listeners now and there are also many new producers and new talent, who send me their music through email, and now I’m getting like, four hundred emails every week. Sometimes there will be a really good track in these four hundred emails, so it made sense to do Heldeep Records so I could push new talent and produce music I really liked. And Heldeep Records was also a good platform for my alias HI-LO. It all just made sense. It’s going really well; we’ve had some great releases.
We love HI-LO and the song “Renegade Mastah”. Why did you decide to release it under a pseudonym? How did HI-LO come into being?
There are some really good tracks you don’t see live. For me, it was a kind of relief to be able to have an alias, so I could also release more tracks. HI-LO is more underground. [It’s] like pushing boundaries between different styles like UK bass, tech house and techno. Whereas Oliver Heldens has more to do with melodies—of course, it’s still club music, but just different club music. I am going to play shows as HI-LO in 2016, I’m really excited for that.
We hope you play them here!
Yeah, that would be fun.
Check out some highlights from BEVC 2015 here!