Olive T is an underground hero in her hometown of New York. Releasing on widely respected imprints such as Nervous Records and Mike Simonetti’s 2MR, her sound is distinctly inspired by her NYC roots but holds an appeal far beyond. “It’s kind of ingrained in me,” she says, as we discuss her early influences, like growing up listening to Chicago and New York house music from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
As well as frequenting underground parties, she found herself listening to UK radio shows and European DJs who were coming over to play at the time, such as The Hacker and Vitalic. Being exposed to a variety of genres in her formative years — everything from jungle and d&b to minimal and beyond — has shaped the artist she is today, though her club mixes usually stay true to those classic, thumping house and techno sounds that resonated with her early on.
Olive T first made a name for herself as a DJ — in recent years holding it down at such institutions as Nowadays, Le Bain and the sadly now defunct Bossa Nova Civic Club — but she delved into music production as early as 16 years old. “I liked a lot of The Neptunes productions, so I wanted to try and sound like that at the time,” she laughs.
She’s come a long way since then. A recent EP that came on San Diego imprint Bouquet Records marked her first 12” release, and is a prime example of where she’s at musically. Opener ‘Opaque’ is full of swinging 909s and luscious uplifting pads, and ‘This Is A Bop’ melds jackin’ beats with deep chords and classic strings.
Meanwhile, her track ‘mind wanders’, released in September 2021, plays with a sparser structure, working together chopped vocals, dubbed-out stabs and minimal percussion with heaps of groove. It’s the latest in a run of self-released singles, which date back to ‘That Dansk Track’ in 2018. “I wanted to feel the difference of how it would be if I put it out myself versus putting out music on a label. Also, I’m not super patient,” she admits. “I make a lot of things fast, so I like to just put it out there if I feel like I don’t have a cohesive EP in the line.” The singles can be found via her Bandcamp, which has become a goldmine for DJs in recent years.
While her groove-led house productions are a perfect fit for the clubs, it’s her Olive’s Garden show on Brooklyn’s independent station, The Lot Radio, that explores the many facets of her musical background. “I think with the radio show my goal was to play music that I don’t play in the clubs; highlight my other interests, as growing up I was into so many different scenes and genres, like punk, jungle, and electro,” she explains. Through her mixes she loves to support independent artists, and “people trying to express their creativity right now”.
Although it’s clear that nightlife is finally coming back, this year is all about music creation for Olive T. She has a track on Moxie’s forthcoming On Loop compilation, various remixes to come — including for NYC-based producers Jamal Dixon and Barbie Bertisch on Love Injection Records — and two EPs in the pipeline. Currently based in Switzerland, she hopes to return to clubs by the end of the year if things are running smoothly, and right now she’s fully dedicated to her evolving musical output.
Listen to Olive T's mood-lifting, ceiling-smacking Fresh Kicks mix below.
Aquarhythms & Carl Craig ‘Warm’
Paul Rutherford ‘Get Real’
Björk ’Alarm Call (Edit)’
Ian Pooley ‘Don't You Be Afraid’
Jon Dixon ‘How We Get Down (In Detroit)’
Ike Release ‘Jairo’
Stacy Kidd ‘F*ck U’
Janet Jackson ‘Alright (Meggy Edit)’
Proper Villains & Richard Furniss ‘Mask Off (PV & RF Club Weapon)’
Harry Romero ‘The Ghost’
Basement Jaxx ‘What's the News (Sidney Charles Remix)’
Danny Tenaglia ‘Bottom Heavy’
Tafkamp ‘Feel So Phree’
Pt Musik ‘No fim da noite’
Leonce ‘Wild Side (Instrumental Dub)’
Ossie ‘Kalimba 03’
Leon Vynehall ‘Sugar Slip (The Lick)’
Rene Wise 'Swamp Dancer’
Private Press ‘Wiadomo Driven’
Fadi Mohem ‘210409.1’
DD 2 ‘Scattered Blue’
The Timetraveler ‘Raedium’
Stonie Blue ‘What you want’