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…