Oliver Heldens holds on to a place in the top 10 for another year. It’s hard to believe the Dutchman is just 25 years old, given how much he’s already achieved. At just 19, he scored a UK No. 1 with ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ — the vocal version of his already popular track, featuring singer Becky Hill — and landed in the Top 100 poll for the first time later that year in 34th place. Since then, he’s released numerous hit tracks, launched his highly popular Heldeep label, taken over festival stages all over the world, and doubled-up his success via his more bass/tech-house-focused alias HI-LO.
Though events have mostly been put on hold this year, that hasn’t slowed Heldens down. “I’ve been releasing a lot of new tracks and remixes with a pretty wide range of sounds in the last 12 months and I’ve got a lot of new releases in the pipeline. This year might have been the most productive year I’ve had so far!” he tells DJ Mag.
This includes ‘The G.O.A.T.’ with Mesto in Jan, ‘Ting Ting Ting’ with K-pop group Itzy in March, ‘Details’ with Boy Matthews and a remix of SZA and Justin Timberlake in April, ‘Rave Machine’ with Happy Mondays legend Rowetta in May, ‘Zeus’ as HI-LO in July, ‘Break This Habit’ with Kiko Bun in August, and ‘Somebody’ with Funkin Matt and Bright Sparks in September. Aaaand breathe!
“Also, since the beginning of the lockdown I’ve kept myself quite busy with preparing for several live streams, which all turned out really well, but needed a lot of time, because I tried to premiere so many of the new tracks I’m working on in these sets,” Heldens continues.
Stream performances included: one for EDC Las Vegas that had Heldens’ DJ mates swimming around him on a green screen, their heads photoshopped onto the bodies of fish; playing live from his garden as HI-LO for Tomorrowland; suited and booted and DJing from an empty Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; playing a festival stage on a racetrack to open the new season of Formula 1; and a headbanging set for DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs Virtual Festival.
“In a recent theatrical live stream project, #HeldensEverywhere, my team and I went really crazy on the production for it. The performance was a few weeks ago, but we spent months preparing for it, building and creating custom theatre set pieces to create a first of its kind and entirely unique show,” he continues.
Taking from classic TV shows, the stream featured amazing sets and loads of actors. Clips from the show and a behind-the-scenes-style video are still available to watch over on Heldens’ Instagram. “That was probably the craziest show I’ve ever done,” says Heldens. Who knows what’s next?
What’s the greatest dance music track of all time?
“One of my all-time favourites is Modjo ‘Lady’, but I wouldn’t call it ‘the greatest dance music track of all time’. I also want to give an honourable mention to another timeless favourite house track of mine: Julio Bashmore ‘Au Seve’, because that was a direct influence for me while making ‘Gecko’, my breakthrough track.”