From: Rotterdam, Netherlands.
DJ style: “Future house mixed with tech-house, electro, disco and techno.”
Best known for: “Tracks like ‘Gecko’, ‘Koala’ and ‘Wombass’ and for my HI-LO alter ego.”
Tune of 2018: “Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss (Oliver Heldens Remix)’ and Enrico Sangiuliano ‘Astral Projection’.”
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2018: “Zonderling, Enrico Sangiuliano and Fisher.”
Oliver Heldens slams back into the top 10 after another globetrotting year. He’s played the mainstage at Ultra Miami, hosted his own Heldeep stage at Tomorrowland (inviting Duke Dumont, Chocolate Puma and Disciples amongst others) and is currently off touring the US of A.
However, it’s actually been a (relatively) quiet year for Ollie DJ-wise, deciding instead to focus more on his production. “Besides all the shows, I’ve been working on a lot of new music,” he tells DJ Mag. “This year I took more time off to set up studio sessions with singers/songwriters and other producers.” And it’s been worth the effort as he recently landed his first major label record deal with Sony Music’s RCA Records, giving him the opportunity to release more of his crossover tracks.
He also dropped his ‘Riverside 2099’, a revamp of Sidney Samson’s 2009 hit, via his Heldeep label, which has been firing on all cylinders itself this year. A consistent release schedule has seen the imprint push new music from Chocolate Puma and Tommie Sunshine, Armitage, Murat Salman and more, plus an appearance from Ollie’s more tech-house and techno-focused HI-LO moniker in the thumping party-starter ‘King Kong (HI-LO Touch)’.
In August, he stopped off here at DJ Mag’s base in North London to deliver an energetic mix for our HQ live stream series. Peppered with his world famous mash-ups (including a massive four-way blend of Wamdue Project’s ‘King Of My Castle’, Kölsch’s ‘Calabria’, ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ by Abba and Ollie’s smash hit ‘Koala’), what perhaps piqued our interest even more about Ollie’s mix was his use of the new Denon DJ Prime set-up, consisting of four SC5000 decks and the X1800 mixer. Several big name DJs have made the switch from the industry standard Pioneer DJ kit now — perhaps most notably, Tiësto — so what made Ollie convert? “I loop a lot, so I love how the Denons have this big dial knob to set and adjust the loops,” he explains.
“Also I love the skip feature, you can skip forward/backward while a track is playing without the audio interrupting,” he continues. “The touchscreen is also a big pro for me, it makes it way easier to navigate through my music library. And the mixer’s sound quality is very good.”
So what’s on the horizon heading into 2019? “Making and releasing lots of new music. And building the Heldeep Records label more and more,” Ollie replies. “Thanks for all the love and for coming to my shows! I’ve been working on lots of new exciting music, and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.”
Words: BEN HINDLE
The ushering in of 'future house' as the “saviour of EDM” last year felt a little premature, but a 22-place climb for Oliver Heldens (Highest House DJ) following his Top 40 new entry placement in 2014 suggests that the future is, in fact, bright for EDM.
The larger-than-life sounds of DV&LM might have taken the crown this year, but the sight of Heldens flirting with the Top 10 (and Aoki dropping tech house) is a sign that mainstream EDM is no closed shop.
'Shades Of Grey' (out October), featuring Delaney Jane on vocals, is a nailed-on hit; a 125bpm house tune with a candy-floss pop hook and a garage skip closer to Disclosure than David Guetta, and further proof that — if given the right twist — house can still compete.
Sellable records aside, it's Heldens' hard work in 2015 that's contributed to his rise. 200 shows all over the world's big stages — including Ultra Miami, EDC Vegas and Tomorrowland — a sold-out UK tour and four Beatport No.1s, he's also launched his own Heldeep label/radio show and bassline alias HI-LO. Heldens is a busy, busy boy!