With his well-received 4th album Relatively Definitely still making waves, and following his recent ‘Clancy’ EP release on Parquet Recordings, Mark Casey speaks to one of the hardest working figures on the scene, German deep house don, Oliver Schories.
His record label SOSO is the playground for Oliver and his friends to showcase a variety of intelligent contemporary electronic dance music where quality will simply find its way.
Hi Oliver it’s great to have you join us. Picasso famously said that ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’. Bearing that in mind, your output is nothing short of prolific and of a consistently high standard, so are you inclined to agree with that sentiment?
Well, first thanks for the compliment! I’m personally not that sure if all productions are of that such high standard. I think my output is a bit higher than what the average producer is doing, but a large number of tracks doesn’t mean automatically a large number of good tracks. Sometimes I just feel that some tracks need to be released, irrespective of the inspiration found me working or I was just jamming around and found that it’s somehow OK to release. To come back to the question: For sure, I totally agree. But it’s not only inspiration. I think it’s basically three elements that a producer needs: Inspiration, technique and talent. I think everybody has their own balance between those 3, but it’s very hard to make music without missing one of those elements completely.
Amsterdam Dance Event is fast becoming one of the most important events in the worldwide dance music calendar, and you drew a large, hungry crowd to your set there last year. You also have a track named for the city, which indicates you have a special affection for the place. What, in your opinion, is the essence of this – notwithstanding the importance that the Netherlands already has in the history of the genre?
The Netherlands and especially Amsterdam where and are a place where a big piece of my career started back in 2011 and 2012. In those times I was literally playing more in the Netherlands than any other country. People where so hungry for melodic electronic music it’s hard to describe. Nothing to compare with ADE 2016. It was a special time, where people saw something new emerging. Guys like Finnebassen, Joris Delacroix, Einmusik and myself where some names of the ‘new deep house scene’ in the Netherlands, headlining a large number of events with just 120bpm. It was a great time, a time where I built up a large fan base in the Netherlands which still is coming today to the shows.
That set was also a celebration of a decade of Parquet Recordings, and your latest EP was released on 6th March. You have releases on other labels, but there seems to be a natural fit for you with Parquet. Is this an accurate reflection of the relationship you have with them?
With Parquet it basically all started. It was ‘The Deal’ EP back in 2010 which was containing one of my most known tracks, ‘Wildfang’ and which became kind of a hidden gem in that time. It was the reason for a lot of bookings and a number of requests from other labels. I continued to release on Parquet and never stopped until today. They have a lot of output but not everything is cool, like with my productions. Probably that’s it what keeps us together. Just kidding. Normen, the Boss, is a cool guy. He was one of the first persons who recognised that the music I make would be interesting for more people and supported me a lot.
You happen to have been born in the same year as myself, and personally speaking, the predominance of electronic music on the radio had a huge effect on me as I was growing up. Where did your influences stem from?
I totally agree. In that times it was HR3 (later HR XXL) from Frankfurt for me with their legendary ‘Club Nights’, and also Steve Mason on BFBS had a huge influence on me. I also had some music addicted friends at school, where we were exchanging MCs and CDs in every school break – and when it all started with the internet (oh my, how old are we?!) the first and basically only thing I was looking for was music. I remember Napster running 24 hours a day on my 33.6 modem, downloading DJ sets and bootlegs. I spent every cent I had for music. No matter what.
You experimented with several other genres before settling on the more emotional and ethereal areas of house and techno. Was this a process of elimination or did you always have a preference for that side of things?
I think I was and am always open to a large number of musical styles. I started with Skate Punk and Indie, later came to Drum n Bass, came along 2Step and Grime, Minimal, Maximal Electro and finally to what was called ‘Deep House’. But I’m still a fan of guitar music and not bound only to electronic music. I never stopped looking for new stuff and also in my productions and DJ-sets I try to keep (at least a little) musical evolution and not to hammer the same style for years. People get bored when you the same all the time. Same goes for me. So I try to do it different every time.
Your sounds, both live and in the studio are notably deep and carefully textured. What are your favourite pieces of kit to achieve these sounds?
Like I said before I change a lot all the time. Every album, or every series of productions comes from a specific time frame and therefore has its own characteristic stamp, depending on the main bass synth I had in the studio. But I can say, that mostly all of the time a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet was present (6, 8, 12), and most of the time a Moog (sub37, sub phatty) was a good helper as well. There aren’t that many really good synths on the market for me personally, I tried a lot and in the end I always end up on those 2 manufactures.
Are there any venues in particular that you feel have something special about them?
Odonien in Cologne is really special. Great club, outstanding crowd and semi-open air. Probably my favourite.
Apart from touring and the EP, you also have another album in the works. Are you aiming to have it released before the end of the year?
We will see. I don’t put any pressure on myself. I just let it roll and when I feel it’s OK, I release it. If it takes 3 months, that’s fine, if it takes 3 years that’s also fine.
Are there any ambitions in terms of collaborations that you have in mind?
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Oliver, and the best of luck for the future!
Thank you for the interview!
01. Oxia – Domino (Robag’s Ewel Xmohl Nb)
02. Amtrac – Never Lost
03. John Monkman – Xailo
04. Oliver Schories – Clancy
05. Pete Oak – Ventus
06. Masaya – Borderline (Patrice Bäumel Edition)
07. Jonathan Kaspar – Supine
08. Mihai Popoviciu & Markus Homm – Insomnis
09. Reggie Dokes – Transpose
10. Frederick & Kusse – Ms Jackson
11. Keenarf – Bring me down (Till von Sein Remix)
12. Gabriel Ananda & Renier Zonneveld – Got me