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Last month I had the pleasure of sitting in the air conditioned media tent at Electric Zoo (thank you Made Event and Plexi PR) and chatting with one of my favorite production duos Oliver. Now based in Los Angeles, U-Tern and Oligee first came on my radar when I was listening to the Sneaky Sound System remix compilation for “Big.” Since then, it seems like Oliver has popped up in all of the right places. From their 2012 single “Dirty Talk” to collaborations with labels like Fool’s Gold, Nurvous, and Kitsune, Oliver have stood the test of time and risen above the constantly changing tide of the music industry. Most recently U-Tern and Oligee turned out an (excuse me) BANGER of a remix of auburn-haired pop sensation Bonnie McKee and also teamed up with Chromeo on a stunning rework of Donna Summers'”Love Is In Control,” to be featured on a tribute compilation to the Queen of Disco out later this month. Though the duo already has such an extensive repertoire, Oliver is not done, not even close.

Nancy: Do you feel like LA is the place to be right now if you’re making dance music?
Oliver: I’m not really sure about dance music, it is definitely the place to be if you’re in the pop songwriting world, but dance music I don’t know not as much. I will say the scene’s getting better there and plus who wouldn’t want to live in LA? It’s the best city in the world.

Nancy: So you guys worked with Chromeo on a remix for Donna Summers’ “Love To Love You” compilation out in October. How did you guys get involved with that?
Oliver: Chromeo brought the opportunity to us and I think it’s the first single off of that album, which is pretty cool. We had been working with them on some stuff for their album “White Women” and having fun in the studio. This was just something that came up during that time.

Nancy: About the Bonnie McKee remix that you did (which I love), that’s a little bit more mainstream so how do you feel about artists working in that sphere? Are you guys trying to work with more pop artists?
Oliver: I think sometimes the most interesting collaborations are a bit more unexpected. We’re on tour with Zedd right now so when we get back we plan on doing a lot more collaborating and I think that this spectrum of the artists that we want to work with is all over the place. Like serious, commercial Top 40 artists down to the most obscure Indie stuff. I think it all provides different results and you get some cool stuff that you wouldn’t expect.


Nancy: OK so what are some of the words/adjectives you hope come to mind when people think of Oliver?
Oliver: Maybe just…class. High class.

Nancy: I feel like when Oliver first came to prominence you guys were closely associated with Nu Disco, but since then the genre’s fallen out of favor and people’s tastes have shifted to house, trap, whatever. What do you guys do to stay relevant in the changing music scene while also maintaining what you guys want Oliver to be?
Oliver: Yeah I think it’s challenging, but we have just kind of naturally evolved without trying. We’re influenced by current music and we’re always gonna do what we want to do regardless of if it’s cool we don’t really care about that. As long as we like it and it’s honest then that’s what we’re gonna do.

Nancy: So what are you guys listening to right now? Up and coming artists that we should keep an eye out for?
Oliver: I listen to a lot of French dance, techno stuff. Also Cory Enemy, who’s a good friend of ours who’s coming up, he’s got a really unique sound. Who else…we have a lot of friends who make music – we get to play music for them and they play their stuff for us and we bounce ideas off each other. We don’t really sit and listen to music to be honest. We’re around it everyday so it’s rare that we sit and listen to an album. It’s more stuff on the radio or if we’re trying to put together a DJ set then I’ll go and try to find thing I like.

Nancy: I guess then I have two questions coming off of that. Do you guys have anything planned as far as an album and do you think that albums are still relevant? I know that a lot of people don’t necessarily have the patience to listen through even a 5-track EP for instance.
Oliver: We love the album art form as an experience. I think for us it’s more of a personal milestone, something that we’d like to do and hopefully making a complete album gives us the opportunity to show different sides of what we do. So we’d love to do one it’d be a dream come true.

Nancy: What else is coming up for you guys?
Oliver: Well when we get off this tour we’re going to focus on making original songs so we’ll spend a couple months in the studio. We have a couple people we’ve worked with that we’re going to work with again like Jeremy Glenn. We’re also part of Pulse, which is a company that has a lot of talented songwriters and top liners so we’ll probably tap into that as well.

Nancy: What’s your guilty pleasure of yours?
Oliver: I’m like a super fan of 70s soft rock, I guess people call it Yacht Rock. You know it’s not even guilty it’s just pleasure straight up. I might’ve felt guilty younger but now I like what I like. But I do listen to a lot of cheesy 80s ballads, soft rock and stuff like that. I’m just trying to think of the most embarrassing thing right now…

I hate to use a cliche phrase but “NEXT LEVEL” is the only way to describe this year’s Electric Zoo line-up. This annual festival takes over Randall’s Island in NY this upcoming weekend for three solid days of music. I had the opportunity to attend the event last year where I spent most of my time chilling at the Sunday School stage or chatting with Mustard Pimp and Autoerotique.

This year’s Electric Zoo line-up is more stacked than ever, with not one but TWO main stages in addition to the Sunday School Grove, Hilltop Arena, and Boys Noise & OWSLA stages.

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets, you can do so here.

Mustard Pimp is a serious French electronic duo who don’t take themselves too seriously. Made up of the tag team Baron and eKa, Mustard Pimp has been bringing heavy-hitting fist pumping electro to the masses since 2008. Last year the duo joined the Dim Mak family and released No Title or Purpose,  an EP with textures of house, dubstep, and acid techno rolled into one. The two are constantly evolving their sound while maintaining a nonchalant “no care” attitude cause, at the end of the day it’s just music right?

I had the pleasure of chatting with (Charles) Baron after his set at Electric Zoo and yes, he’s just as funny and personable in real life as he is on the Internet.

Nancy Lu: K-pop or J-pop?
Mustard Pimp: More K-pop than J-pop. I love Japan but I’ve spent a lot of time in Korea. 

NL: Did you see that video by Psy for “Gangnam Style?”

MP: Yeah I saw it. Ten different people sent it to me so yeah.

NL: Who do you think should win DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ’s Poll?
MP: I’m a DJ but I never go to any DJ shows, I prefer live bands. The most impressive DJ I’ve seen live though would have to be Boys Noize.

NL: Colonel Mustard in the Drawing Room with a…?
MP: Bottle of whiskey.

NL: Who do you think are some of the most underrated producers right now and do you think that being good at social media and self promotion is a crucial component to being successful?
MP: One of my favorite producers of all time is Shinichi Osawa. I love Modek, Fadades, and Michel Sardou too. Well in this type of music it really is now.

NL: Do you think producers can build and sustain a successful career on remixes alone? Do you think that moving into producing original tracks is necessary/inevitable?
MP: I don’t know, but I should consider being a manager and think more about it. I might be richer as well.

NL: What are each of you guys’ strengths and weaknesses that are matched when you come together as a duo in regards to production and in performance?
MP: I actually lost an eye and he lost a leg, so we really need each other for the live show. For the DJ sets I guess we just need two hands and we still both have them.

NL: This is my first time at Electric Zoo – how would you compare it to other music festivals as far as the vibe, the crowd, expectations, etc?
MP: Well I don’t really go to festivals. All the bands I like are never booked or their name appears in very small letters at the bottom of the flyer so I don’t even know they are playing.

NL: What are you working on right now that you can tell us about?

MP: New original stuff, can’t say more yet.

Electronic music fans descend upon New York City every August for Electric Zoo, one of the biggest and still growing EDM festivals this side of the Atlantic. So it’s no surprise that Dim Mak Records would not only have a strong showing of their artist roster, but also their own stage. I had the opportunity to sit down with AutoErotique at the festival to talk about their success, being a part of the Dim Mak Records family, and how much Felix Cartal sucks (not really).

Nancy Lu: Can you tell me about “Turn Up The Volume” – the success of the track and how you got linked up with Torro Torro and Billy The Gent for the remix?
AutoErotique: Turn Up The Volume was on our last EP and is probably our biggest hit so far. I didn’t know that Torro Torro and Billy The Gent were gonna do a Moombahton edit of it, which is actually what really got me interested in Moombahton. I didn’t really know Billy before that, but I knew Torro Torro cause I was always playing their tracks. The leaps and bounds that they’ve come in terms of production style and technique and cultivating a whole new type of sound is astronomical. Their new stuff is so refreshing for me to hear cause they took the Moombahton experience that they have with their monthly party in Toronto called SLOWED, and gave 130 bpm electro this Moombahton injection. They created this sub-genre, I want to call it something like “laser growl.” But yeah, Torro Torro are amazing and they’re definitely a massive group to look out for.

Nancy Lu: Are there any other artists you feel that way about?
AutoErotique: Yeah one of the guys that I’ve also gotten into in the last year or so is Clockwork, who’s also astronomically blown up. Hi alias project RL Grime, which is a trap-based alias, has also had success everywhere. I was in Australia a couple weeks ago just flipping through the radio and I’d hear him and also Torro Torro on repeat. The international exposure those two have gathered i the last eight or nine months has been pretty amazing. 

Nancy Lu: What do you see for the future of Moombahton? What are your thoughts on the electronic music community’s new interest in trap?
AutoErotique: I think Moombahton was a great idea – taking great tracks, slowing them down and manipulating them. And then it created a whole sub-genre of original productions that were good. I think the whole trap thing, at some points encompasses Moombahton and trap together. I hear a lot of cool laser sounds and slowed down stuff. “Harlem Shake” by Baauer for me doesn’t sound just like trap, it sounds like Moombahton-influenced trap; so there’s roots in trap that were spawned from the moombahton. I feel like you wouldn’t have one without the other right now. There was always trap. There’s been trap for the last fifteen years. It’s a hip hop movement not an electro movement. In terms of grassroots I’d give hip hop the bonus points on that one. But for where these guys have taken it like Baauer, RL Grime, Kill The Noise and those dudes, it’s cool to see what’s going on. 

Nancy Lu: How do you balance “scene jumping” because you want to be relevant, with sticking to your personal taste and sound? And a question stemming off from that is, what do you think your most distinctive trait as a producer is?
AutoErotique: People can do whatever they want, they can make whatever music they want. It’s not like the Middle Ages where people can only do one thing like “I’m a blacksmith! I’m gonna make swords!” I want to do everything, I want to make everything I can. I just think there’s a time and place for every style and every brand, and I think brand building is a stronger idea than music jumping. In terms of legendary set building, legendary live production, legendary albums, concepts and brands, I think it’s really important to stay true to what you’re doing and make influential music regardless of what kind of music you’re making. You don’t have to jump into someone else’s backyard and get some of whatever they’re up to, you can do your own thing. The culture’s super popular right now and it’s going to keep growing. I don’t hate on anyone, I have no hate – HI HATERS.

Nancy Lu: This is my first time at Electric Zoo – How would you compare the vibe and crowd of this festival to other festivals within the states? Also, how has the European reception been to American produced electronic music?
AutoErotique: I think there’s a massive crossover right now. We’ve toured significantly in Europe for almost two years and it’s cool to play two different types of sets. You come to states and you play your sort of straightforward electro in Miami or Vegas to pay the bills. It’s the smaller markets in America that stimulate me the most cause you can play experimental stuff and get away with some new sounds. In Europe you can just play amazing techno and  huge long sets. I was in Greece a couple weeks ago in Mykonos at Cavo Paradiso and Steve Angello played there before and he did a three hour set. So I was like, I’m gonna do five hours. It’s difficult to do the same kind of thing here cause we have different cultural standards and different bar times and last calls, that kind of stuff. All time favorite festival though would have to be EDC Vegas 2011. It was the first year it moved there and it was popping Vegas’ cherry I suppose. I had a really good set time and got to close the biggest stage with Calvin Harris and Aoki and shut down the entire festival on the last day. I played until sunrise for like 28,000 people and it was mind blowing how someone who’s not as big time can captivate so people who don’t even know who you are yet. Watching people’s energy explode and getting to play until sunrise was a huge game changer for me. Beyond that Tomorrowland, Electric Forest and all that stuff is amazing. Electric Zoo is crazy cause it’s only a 45 minute flight from Toronto and to see a festival this big going off this close to home is amazing. The energy here is definitely different here than from everywhere else.

Nancy Lu: Can you tell me about your experience being a part of the Dim Mak family?
AutoErotique: It’s been great. We signed with Steve in 2008 and he’s gone from being almost like a guidance counselor in terms of my professional and adult life to what we’re doing now, which is building a brand and getting more people involved. My primary focus in terms of being a part of the Dim Mak family is finding people who I think could essentially fill my shoes. I just want to find people who I can relate to who are awesome from all over the world and try to get them into the idea. And it’s not that difficult cause Dim Mak is a pretty fucking awesome label.

Nancy Lu: What are you guys are working on right now and what can we expect going into 2013?
AutoErotique: Well we just debuted here today and Felix (Cartal) also played our new collaboration, which we haven’t named yet. We debuted it here cause we wanted to do it in our own backyard and let me just say it is monstrous. I love it. I feel like we’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve had our differences in terms of ideas, but we’ve sort of found the proper page on this track. And yeah I hate the guy, Felix Cartal is a douchebag but this track it’s like Batman. You can kill a person, you can kill two people, but you can’t kill an icon.