DJ Ollie, a name most will recognise for his work alongside Innovation but did you know he also promotes his own event and has a long standing history in the scene? He speaks exclusively to Jamie S23 about how things run at Innovation, what’s in store for 2015 and a nice slab of history.
What’s your involvement at Innovation, care to talk us through a typical day?
I was working for Lloyd and Micky Finn when they bought Innovation in 2000,, Micky has since moved onto other projects but I’ve continued working for Lloyd organising all kinds of things. Although I’m on my own in the Essex office it’s always non stop, from website changes, manning the hotline, sorting out bookings, social media campaigns and that’s all before the events! It’s certainly a versatile position, take the recent Innovation in the Dam event, I was making signs at midnight helping direct people to the second arena at the North Sea venue.
I’m assuming this type of dream job didn’t appear in the back of the local paper?
You could say that! I was working at Micky’s record shop ‘Biting Back’ in Gravesend and made some wicked contacts back in the day. I started flyering and other bits & bobs for Innovation and of course DJing all over the place, then when the shop closed I carried on working for Innovation, the rest just fitted into place. It’s been my full time job now since 2006.
Thinking about how things ran back then, the first Innovation In The Sun flyer came with a booking form on the back, I remember having to deal with all the completed forms, banking the cheques and posting confirmation letters – crazy to think how far we’ve come with online booking & internet banking.
Innovation in the Sun 2005 was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1Xtra, how did that link up happen?
The 2005 was one crazy week! L Double who was a resident DJ on 1Xtra at the time linked up with Micky Finn and the broadcast was put into place. I attended this event as a raver, I think it’s really important that I’ve always experienced our events from both sides, as a raver and as someone that makes the events happen.
The Shy FX set featuring 5ive-O, Skibadee and Bassman will go down in history as one of the biggest sets of the week.
When promoting events abroad, what are the biggest challenges that promoters face and how do you overcome them?
Lloyd travels overseas to inspect the venues, it’s important any club that we represent the Innovation brand at is right for us and the thousands of ravers that attend our events. I always set up a temporary office so that I can effectively deal with problems such as lost tickets, lost passports and anything else that ravers get themselves into!
The Sand club closed 4 weeks prior to Innovation In The Dam due to licensing issues which as you can imagine was a proper headache. Not only did we then have to find the most suitable replacement for the Innovation crowd but also new tickets had to be printed with new reallocation of ticket numbers and we also had to make sure everyone knew. We’ve had some great feedback regarding the replacement venue though so everything worked out for the best on the night.
The sound and lighting is a big part of making a venue extra special, GHB Sound do an amazing job and at 5 in the morning when the rave ends it’s all being taken down and shipped out to the next venue. Without a dedicated team we wouldn’t be able to put on such amazing events.
If you could pick a city anywhere in the world to hold a Innovation event where would it be and why?
Somewhere with snow! I would love to put on a weekend where people can snowboard and ski as well as raving to proper drum & bass. Imagine the name – Innovation In The Snow! I think it would be sick.
What’s on the cards for the Innovation brand in 2015?
LOADS! We have New Years Eve at Fire, London, back in London alongside Overload on 7th February for Clash Of The Titans at the Coronet, then Spring Break on 28th and 29th March at Air, Amsterdam and finally – the big one Innovation In The Sun from 23rd to 30th June on the Costa Brava, Spain.
Due to the popularity of the recent Red Bull Culture Clash do you think Innovation will be bringing back the ‘Fight Night’ concept back next year?
I can’t say right now but that is such a wicked concept. At Innovation we like to add different things to our events each year – take for example the robot at Innovation in the Dam this year, Chase & Status playing in a levitating dj booth a few years back and our exotic dancers in Amsterdam. Innovation In The Sun 2015 has some surprises including a rave in a castle plus beach and yacht parties and finally a foam and uv paint party – it’s going to go off!
You promote your own events too right?
Pressure Front started in 2012 and we are pushing the brand even further in 2015 at a wicked venue called Mojo, Chatham. Previously I’ve booked the likes of Grooverider, Swift, Crissy Criss, Randall, Bladerunner and Harry Shotta. I like to think of the night as a real mix of styles and will continue to push this even further in the future with different DJ and MC combinations. I want the event to be somewhere I’d like to go and rave.
Up and coming on 21st February we have Mind Vortex (RAM), the only sticking point now is who to book for the MC!
What’s your ideal set up as a DJ?
3 Pioneer CDJ’s and a Pioneer mixer without a doubt. I moved over to USB sticks about a year ago, no more CD’s making a mess of my house! Also the features Rekordbox provide are second to none right now. I love that you can add your favourite tunes at the front of your crates in the same way we used to put our best vinyl at the front of real record boxes.
Talking of vinyl, what’s your all time favourites?
That’s such a tricky question as every tune comes with a memory although if I had to name some it would probably be the Metalheadz tin box set, V Classics and Real Vibes from the Playaz camp.
And your favourite events as a raver?
World Dance at Lydd Airport from way back in the day was the one, although Andy C All Night this year in Brixton was amazing and highlighted the fact that variety really is the key to improving the drum & bass scene.
Download an exclusive Drum&BassArena mix by DJ Ollie