Anyone who regularly listens to Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1 will already know a lot about OC & Verde. For those that don’t, Ben O’Connor & Jon Verde are a quality electronic production duo hailing from Manchester. The duo came out of nowhere last year after having a track signed to Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound imprint called Maasai which was played at many festivals by Hot Since 82 with many fans desperate to know the ID.
From that point on opportunities for OC & Verde opened including gigs at Sankey’s and Mint in Leeds. Since then they have had a number of releases reach the lofty heights of the Beatport charts on labels such as Suara, Bedrock & Octopus.
Hello Ben & Jon, good to catch up with you. So 2016 was some year for you. Pete Tong named you ones to watch in 2017, which is quite an honour. So what’s been the number one achievement for you guys so far this year in 2017?
Well Pete Tong naming us as Ones To Watch for 2017 was a pretty big achievement in itself, we were blown away with that. But moving on from that our biggest achievement this year has been our track Solstice, Solomun discovered the track in January, a good 7/8 months after we had sent it out to labels, he played it at BPM festival in Mexico and a video of him playing it when viral and since then the track has gone just blown up for us, Pete Tong was a big supporter of the track on Radio 1 and since then Adam Beyer has been closing his sets with it, the highlight being him closing the opening party for Cocoon at Amnesia with it, that was pretty special, that’s the best night on the island for us so we were made up with that.
You seem to recently be getting great support from Solomun who is the ID master. How did you meet Solomun and do you send him a lot of material before even looking for a label now?
We’ve never actually met Solomun in person, we’ve just sent tracks to him on email and he’s been supporting them. He was playing our track Maasai last year at Pacha which was on Knee Deep In Sound, think he picked that up from Daley, so that track must have put us on his radar and that’s how he must have picked up Solstice. We send him the music that we think will suit his style but also there are tracks that we’re pretty sure he wouldn’t play so we don’t send them, when you’re sending music to DJ’s or labels it’s important to send them stuff that you’re confident that they’ll play, if you just send them everything and its stuff they’re not into it’s gonna make them miss the stuff that they might be into next time.
Your latest release in August was a remix for Veerus on Yoshitoshi of a track called Beat That. I have been playing this track quite a lot myself both your remix and the original. Great track, what’s the feedback been like? Have any people said the vocal line has upset them? Joking.
The feedback for the track has been great, Sharam has been hammering it all summer in his sets and he’s a big hero of ours, if one half of Deep Dish is supporting our music that will do for us. Adam Beyer has been playing it quite a lot and Pete Tong has also been playing it and premiered it on Radio 1 so the vocal can’t be too bad… if it is thats Veerus’ fault, we just remixed it haha.
What is coming up for you release wise. Do you have many more tracks signed to labels?
We’ve got loads of new music in the pipeline, up next is our Flauta EP on Waze & Odyssey‘s W+O Street Tracks which were very excited about, these tracks are very different from what’s out there at the moment and sound very unique to us so we’re really happy with them. Then towards the end of the year we have a collaboration coming with Eli & Fur on Yoshitoshi which is really cool, it’s a lot deeper than our usual sound but it’s still got our melodies with the girls trippy vocals. Then we have an EP coming out on one of our favourite techno labels Octopus, these tracks are already getting hammered by Adam Beyer so we’re very excited about getting these out. Then we have a collaboration with Veerus who we’ve remixed before and the track did so well we decided to get together and do a collaboration and what we’ve made were super happy with, can’t announce the label yet but think this is our best work to date.
What are your plans for 2018. Do you have any goals you have set yourself, such as a certain label you would like to release with, or an amount of tracks you aim to finish or do you just go with the flow?
For 2018 mainly we’re gonna be focusing on the releases we have coming and continuing touring. Label wise we’re on pretty much all the labels we want to be on, there are a few we have on the hit list and some EP’s on labels we can’t announce yet but we’re pretty confident with what we have coming. We think less is more with releases, we set our goals to finish a great track that will hopefully make a big impact rather than focus on just banging anything out on loads of labels. The other goals we have are a few Festivals and Ibiza clubs that we’ve set our sights on so that’s what we’ll be aiming at next year.
Depending on how busy touring we are we get in the studio 3/4 times a week, and when we’re not in the studio we’re constantly sending each other tracks to check out or ideas for samples etc, it’s 24/7 this business, we never stop. Jon (Verde) literally has a billion grooves or melodies on the go all the time, he’s none stop with them always got something cooking, where as I (OC) will take a more of a step back and come in and pick the best bits out of the ideas that he’s started off with and we’ll build from there, so Jon’s probably more likely to get the ball rolling.
Can you explain what part each of you play on both productions and DJ gigs?
On productions I (Verde) play the melodies and bass lines and Ben (OC) is more focused on percussion and he loves the weirder noises so hunts them out, then we come together on the groove. We both hunt for vocals all the time so we are constantly building a collection of stuff to use.
At gigs I (OC) playing on 2 Pioneer CDJ decks and the Pioneer RMX 1000 for effects and Jon (Verde) plays on 2 Traktor decks with an iPad for Traktor effects, that all comes through a Pioneer DJM 900NX2 which allows us to both play at the same time, we’re not 2 DJ’s going back 2 back we play together as one unit, one will be mixing tracks and the other will be doing effects or playing accapellas or scratching, we like to keep our set pretty technical and let the crowd see what we’re doing, it puts on more of a show and keeps us on our toes. We’re currently testing the new Pioneer SP16 so expect that to be in our sets soon…
On your DJ gigs do you ever have problems agreeing the tracklist for a set or are you pretty much in tune? Also how much do you discuss the set for the night, is it a case of picking a playlist and just winging it or do you plan tracklists?
We’re pretty much in tune with what we want to play, there might be the odd curve ball that one of us might not like and the other does but that’s very rare, but we’ll let the other one play it and see what happens. Ben played Sven Vath ‘Komm’ at a gig in Leeds once, we’d played it in Germany and it went off, but in Leeds I said it’s not gonna work here and he said “I know, but I want to weird them out a bit” so I just went with it and it did just weird everyone out haha. Track list wise we don’t pick a set track list for the night but we do put down a track list of our own tracks that we want to road test or also tracks of our own that we’ve chopped up to do live edits of so we know what we have, and also we have certain accapellas that work with certain tracks that we put together in the same track list etc but mainly we just feel the vibe of the room and go with it. Knowing your music inside out is the key and if you do that you can’t go wrong.
You have a trip and a gig in LA coming up, is this your first gig state side?
Yeah we’ve a tour being worked on now state side which was gonna be this December but because of Visa’s it’s looking like it’s gonna be next March now, all the dates are being discussed now, so we’ll keep people posted on that. It will be our first time playing over there so massively looking forward to it.
Coming up you also have gigs in Manchester and London. Can you tell us some more about these gigs and do you have anything planned for new year’s eve yet?
In Manchester we’re at Gorilla which is one of our favourite places to play, never had a bad night in there so can’t wait for that. Then we’re playing at The Steelyard in London on Halloween with Daniel Bortz and Tom Demac which is a great line up to be a part of so really looking forward to that one. New Year’s Eve is being sorted now but we can’t announce just yet…
Many Producers and DJs now are either setting up their own record labels or putting on their own nights or both now. Do you have any plans for such things?
We definitely have plans to launch our own label in the future, we’re in the very early stages of that though and it’s not something we’re gonna rush. This year is about establishing ourselves more firmly within the industry though, for our own label and nights that will come but when we come out with what we’re planning it will be something that makes an impact, we don’t just want to be another label cluttering up promo emails, watch this space….
Thanks for your time guys and all the best with the rest of your success.
Label: W&O Street Tracks
Artist: OC & Verde
Title: Flauta / Gitarra
Release Date: October 20th 2017