DJ Ollie – Listen
Jamie linked up with DJ Ollie way back in 2014 and again for Innovation In The Dam in 2016. Now in 2018 it’s time to listen up and take note as Ollie’s set himself an audio release target and he’s taking no prisoners.
Intriguing that you’re setting a release a month goal, especially considering that kind of output takes some dedication alongside everything else you do. How do you intend to manage expectation and quality control?
“I’ve started with a bit of a head start as a had a few tracks ready to go already, but these days the turn around from finishing a track to releasing it is so fast there doesn’t seem any point in sitting on it. Also I scrapped the old school idea of putting out 2 tracks at a time as a single. That’s a concept taken from vinyl where you had 2 sides to fill, if an artist gives me 2 tracks I can extend the shelf life of that single & the artists exposure by putting one out this month & the other the next month.”
On a general tip, why do you think some labels maintain an excellent release output schedule while others put 3 or 4 tunes out a year?
“It all depends what artists they have around them & also how busy they are. I’ve had a recent quiet period with my label, I had some issues going on in my personal life that I had to deal with, so for a while I simply wasn’t able to focus my time & energy into it.
Sometimes less is more, I’d rather a label or artist waited & only released the best of the best instead of everything.
There’s a lot to be said for quality control, for example I’m sure Hazard or Subfocus make 100’s of tunes, but you only ever hear the top 1% of it, that’s what keeps them at the top of their game.
While I’ve set myself a track a month goal I won’t hesitate to stray from that if I’ve not got the right tunes, Direct Recordings isn’t a production line, it’s a curated selection of music I’m feeling, from artists I’m into.”
You recently switched to Ableton, can you talk us through the decision? Did you have a DAW of choice prior to this?
“It wasn’t so much a decision, more that I had sold my house and needed my musical set up to be laptop based until I got settled. My friends KG & Modified Motion both use Mac’s & Ableton, so I made the switch from my PC with Reason installed, to a set up more in tune with what they were using so I could utilise their far superior production knowledge to my advantage.”
Do you think with the array of choice available to producers these days their is still an industry standard DAW in terms of drum and bass production?
“I’ve no idea to be honest, I don’t really concentrate on what others are doing. I speak to both Modi & KG daily so using the same set up as them made sense to me, and to be honest listening to their tips & advice I think my production skills have come on leaps and bounds, Modi even signed my last track ‘Human Race’ to his Dynamic Audio label so this set up obviously works for me.
I guess find whatever works best for you. So long as the finished product sounds good who cares how it’s made?”
What one feature would you like to bring back from the days of classic production techniques? Maybe a vintage Akai sampler with touch screen time stretching!
“When I listen back to my favourite old jungle records I’m always amazed by the intricate levels of drum programming people like Remarc, Paradox & Source Direct got from their old Atari & Akai or EMU set ups.
The power of music production software today is light years ahead of what those guys were using, yet the scene seems to be stuck in a kick, snare loop.
We need to bring back the breaks!”
It’s funny how things do a 360 in music, especially in drum and bass. It would seem now is the time (again) for the over 16s to enjoy legal raving. What’s the key here to success for promoters of this field?
“I’ve been playing and been involved in organising a lot of 16+ events over that past 2 or 3 years, and it’s amazing the energy & passion these kids have for the music. I think there is a lack of things to do if you’re aged 16-18, you can’t go to the pub, you can’t go to a club, yet you’re also old enough to leave school & get a job, they’re crying out for something to do. We’ve done Nu:Bass Generation 16+ shows now in Bristol, Guilford, St Albans, Peterborough & Reading and all have been such good fun to play at.”
Do you notice a difference in the younger generation or can you see yourself as a young raver in the crowd?
“They’re surprisingly open minded to music, there’s a misconception that kids only like jump up drum and bass, but I play pretty much across the board selection wise and always seem to get a good reaction. One of our regular DJs R3DX always pulls something out of the bag that they go crazy for, also Turno switched things up a few times playing a few grime type bits & the place erupted!”
Who enjoys the tunes more? You as a DJ or the under 18’s ravers?
“I got to say me, I only ever play music I like so I’m my own perfect audience, however, the experience is only ever heightened by having a receptive crowd screaming Ollie Ollie Ollie every time I drop a banger”
Innovation has always been your baby as such, what makes this unique event so special regardless of where it’s being held?
“I got involved with Innovation back when it was bought from Kiss FM back in 2000. As such I’ve been on almost every line up since since the Bagleys days, it’s been a blessing to be resident DJ for so long and seen the events go from strength to strength.
Doing the weekenders at Camber Sands, then starting the whole drum and bass clubbing holiday experiences in Dam & Spain really set us apart. This summer will be our 15th year doing Innovation In The Sun (and my 15th year playing there!). We have 14 parties lined up over 7 days & night so it’s essential to keep coming up with new ideas & new experiences so the event doesn’t get stale. As a team we are always looking for ways to top the last party.”
Innovation In The Sun is looming, what can people expect this time around? More of the same or something a bit different this time around?
“Always new things, it’s the 15th year so there will be a few surprises throughout the week. The beach party is back this summer by popular demand, as is the castle rave, we also have the unmissable wavepool party. That really is as crazy as the videos make it look, if you’ve never been I highly recommend it! Also I have to mention the foam & UV paint party, the 3 yacht parties, MC competition plus club nights each night at Colossos!”
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the event as a lover of the music?
“I always enjoy TC, DJ Hype & Hazard. I caught Wilkinson at Warning a couple of months back and he played a blinder so looking forward to seeing how he goes down. Also Randall, he’s not played in Spain for us in a few years, I’m a big fan of Randall’s selection…. He’s a DJs DJ.”
Any exclusive dubs in the bag for your set?
“I never pre-plan my sets so honestly don’t know what I’ll be playing until the DJ before me plays their last track, but yes I always have a few battle weapons to hand!”
By the time this article is published you guys are probably busy getting Innovation In The Dam ready. Do you have a certain schedule that’s religiously followed or does this vary from event to event?
“There’s always lots to be done around the office, we’re never working on just one project, it’s always a case of looking ahead and planning accordingly. We’ve been doing events so long now that generally we instinctively know what needs doing when. Obviously there are deadlines we have to hit & we keep an eye on ticket sales to see if we need to push certain areas a bit more or not, but generally our events sell from the minute we put them on sale.”
Finally, when can people check out your forthcoming release?
“My track ‘Listen’ will be out on 30th April (or exclusively a week before on 23rd April from Juno Download).
That will be followed by releases from Distract & Oversight at the end of May & June respectively. I also have lots more music in the pipeline, as always I just have to find time to finish it!! Be sure to visit www.direct-recordings.com to see what’s going on there.”
“Big love to all of you that come to hear me play up & down the country, everyone that regularly supports me by listening in to my radio show on Rough Tempo. Stay up to date with everything I’m up to on my website.”