EXCLUSIVE: Oliver Heldens Says EDM Is Not Dying, Expect a Change From His Typical Sound

January 23, 2015 -

Daily Beat Staff

The Day After Festival in Panama City, Panama was quite an experience. Thanks to Disco Donnie Presents and ShowPro Panamá, festival-goers were able to experience beautiful music from the best DJs around the world.

Last Friday evening (day 1 of TDAF) I was able to sit down and chat with one of electronic dance music's youngest prodigies, Oliver Heldens. This 19-year-old future house virtuoso has landed himself in dominant labels like Spinnin' Records and even Tiesto's Musical Freedom. You may be familiar with his most popular tracks like "Gecko," "Koala" and my personal favorite, "Pikachu." In the midst of all his success, he remains humble and only wants to do more and evolve more, BE more. Read on below to see what Oliver Heldens has to say about his career and the current state of dance music.


(Post interview picture before Oliver's set at #TDAF Panama (feat. EMRGE Supply Co. Black Heart & Dagger Tank))

Ariel DB:: Is this your first time in Panama? Also, have you played in any South American countries before?

Oliver Heldens: This is my first time playing in Panama. A few months ago I played in Brazil a few times and also in Chile. It was really good. Good vibes. The crowd was really into the music.

Ariel DB::What are your plans going into your set?

Oliver Heldens: Well, of course I am going to play many of my old track and also new tracks. Today is just a one-hour set so yeah basically most of the tracks will be my tracks.

Ariel DB:: Can you tell a little about your journey and how you began with dance music?

Oliver Heldens: When I was like 10 or 11-years-old, I really started to like hardstyle, but also on Dutch radio there was a lot of house music. There was a lot of house and electro music so I started to listen to Fedde Le Grand. I also listened to lots of groovy, techy stuff. Then, in that period, with the more groovy and techy stuff, that was when I went to high school. So, there were big school parties with sometimes big DJ's. For example, Hardwell played there when he was younger and Fedde Le Grand played all the school parties. So, yeah, that was for me like the first real experience of live dance music. Then I started to produce myself and in 2012 I got signed to Spinnin' Records. There, I released some tracks and got some support from big DJ's like Tiesto, then he started following me on Twitter. After that, I made "Gecko" and sent it over to Tiesto on Twitter. He was like "Woah this is really good, I really want to sign this. Let's meet up next week in Amsterdam." Since then "Gecko" was released by Tiesto's Musical Freedom and Spinnin' Records and it really blew up. Now I'm here in Panama.

day after

Ariel DB:: How does it feel being one of the youngest members of Spinnin' Records?

Oliver Heldens: It feels good because of the reason that I have many years ahead. I think that age doesn't really matter. I think it's maybe even better to be young because I think the younger people, they have fresh ideas and they are really new to everything. The older guys, they're looking for the new generation and the new sounds. So the older guys are working with the younger guys (and vice versa). Tiesto is more than double my age.

Ariel DB:: Who/what are your biggest influences?

Oliver Heldens: If I look at my music, like "Gecko" and stuff, then I think my biggest influences were the older Dutch house stuff, which is more groovy. I'm talking the old Sander van Doorn, old Fedde Le Grand, old Bingo Players and old Hardwell. But also, the new UK stuff like the Garrix vibes, like the old school UK Garrix - that's also something that's really influenced me. Then there's Disclosure. They took a lot of English from the UK Garrix and brought something new to it, so that really inspired me. That was really new for me, that sound in combination with the old Dutch house. These things are the biggest inspirations for what I am doing now.

Ariel DB:: If you could pick two DJ/producers to be your parents, who would they be and why?

Oliver Heldens: My parents? Uhhhhh. I think that Paul Oakenfold would be a pretty good dad. He's and awesome guy. A good mom, or another good dad would be Armin van Buuren. So Paul Oakenfold and Armin van Buuren. I think that they would be good parents. I think they are really mature and careful and smart.

Ariel DB:: Where do you see the future of "future house" going?

Oliver Heldens: Music is always evolving and so I think a lot of people will go future house. Also, I think the basic future house will maybe get a bit over-used. So yeah, there will always be new stuff. Some of my new tracks are completely not future house. The music I'm working on right now is really different from the typical future house. This year a lot of new things will be released and I'm really curious to see the reactions. Music will always be evolving. Some people say that EDM is dying, but it's evolving into future house and maybe even hardstyle. It's not dying, it's just evolving and always changing.

Ariel DB:: What's next?

Oliver Heldens: First, I have a new track with Zeds Dead ("You Know"), but that's already on social media. There's another new track coming out that I'm really excited about. It's for me maybe the beginning of a new kind of Oliver Heldens sound. It's really melodic, it includes strings, piano, but it's also has a really groovy bassline so I'm really excited about that.


Photo credit: Rukes 

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