Oliver Huntemann is identifiable as one of Europe’s most diverse and persistent electronic musicians, having been active in the industry for more than 20 years. A native of the north of Germany, his music has defined what has become an internationally recognisable sound that has drawn music lovers from around the world to the nation that many now see as the heart of techno, a place that is a must-visit for the sound’s enthusiasts. Oliver represents his country as one of its shining examples – of what is possible in the electronic music community if one devotes oneself to it entirely.
Oliver has been interviewed countless times over the years and tends to have sage advice to give and insightful things to say. His talents range beyond DJ and producer, to copious collaborator, tenacious label owner and artist agency founder. When it comes to the music scene he has seen and done it all. His 2017 album on his Senso Sounds label, entitled Propaganda, a modern techno triumph, was followed by a remix album in 2018, featuring some of the scene’s most prominent artists. This year continues that trend, with the release of Propaganda Remixes, Pt. 2 in February.
Decoded Magazine had the opportunity to talk to Oliver about the next remix album, and about his forthcoming show at the debut of Circus Paradise Music Festival on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. We last caught up with him in 2015, and since then he has been very busy, with the launch of Propaganda and the accompanying remixes on Senso Sounds. Oliver also played frequent DJ gigs in almost every corner of the globe. I asked him what he had planned for 2019:
“Thanks for those kind words! I’m glad to catch up with you guys again. Senso Sounds is having a little birthday bash – my label turns five this year. A good reason to throw a couple of parties. We’re working on kind of a birthday tour, including some events in special venues, like a rooftop pool party during OFF WEEK Barcelona and our Senso Sounds Showcase at Kafes Istanbul. Our very first label showcase in Australia is happening in March at XE54, Melbourne, with André Winter and Carlo Ruetz. Additionally, I will for sure be spending some time in the studio. I’ve just finished a collaboration with my studio mate André Winter for Senso release number 50.”
With the second set of enticing remixes from his Propaganda album now available I knew Oliver must have had a strong sense of accomplishment, and I wondered how it felt to have the album and the remixes out there in the wild. Possessing an extensive discography that includes collaborations with André Winter, Dubfire and Stephan Bodzin, I was hoping he could tell us where he planned to go from here on the production front too:
“It’s great to see that the hard work pays off in the end. Propaganda was a strong release with a lot of duration in the charts. With the fast pace of the business, this is probably one of the biggest compliments. When it comes to the remixes, I have to say I love to see how other artists are inspired by my work. I usually only give out a few selected tracks for remixes but this time I thought it was time to see what a bigger variety of artists would do with my album. I’m more than happy that I took this decision, it turned out so great. As mentioned above, I just finished another collaboration with André. I was also talking to Dubfire only two days ago and we have something special in mind. It’s always a long process as we’re all on very heavy tour schedules.”
Senso Sounds is currently active and there are other labels that Oliver has been involved in. In that time, he has discovered some exceptionally talented musicians. Oliver gave us the low-down on some more artists whose music has impressed him recently:
“I’m very exited about Maksim Dark. He has another killer release in the pipeline which is scheduled for March. He’s a very talented producer with super successful releases by now. I’ve just signed Hidden Empire also for a strong single. Really happy to have the duo on board.”
Techno is a genre that has continued to evolve and diversify into sub-genres like leftfield and melodic, gaining a great deal of new followers in recent times. With so much experience in our scene, Oliver is someone who can provide a unique perspective to younger generations who are becoming involved in electronic music. As we approach a new decade, I thought it would be worthwhile to ask him how the techno scene had changed in his eyes over the last ten years, and where he saw things heading into 2020 and beyond:
“Techno was and is constantly moving. The main thing that changed is the speed. When I released my first long player, it actually lasted for quite some time. With the digital age it became faster and faster. Nowadays, releasing an album means it becomes “old” after just a few months. The people kind of expect that you have to release new tunes every month. Some artists actually do that, having a super high output with constant quality, but it’s impossible to hold that level for years. Most music of artists who just release track, after track, after track all sound the same or seem not very inspired. I wont stress myself with this trend – quality pays itself off in the end. Sound-wise I think the trend will still get harder and faster till 2020 or as long as no counter-movement will take over. Remember, not very long ago the so-called deep house was the shit for all the peeps who just like to follow the trends. Don’t believe the hype!
On the other side I must admit that I like the serious changes and the constant movement in the electronic music scene. It keeps the whole culture alive and fresh. Even though I’m not following trends that much, it inspires me.”
Things have certainly progressed since Oliver Huntemann first started making records, with the digitisation of production equipment and the globalisation of music, as data on the internet. I figured he would have some guidance for young people who have a developing interest in music production. If he could have shared some wisdom with himself back in the day, what career advice would he have given young Oliver?
“I wish I had THE recipe for a successful career. The most important thing, especially with DJs coming from every corner, is to stand out. Find your style, work on your style and live that style. Be your own brand without just following the others. Any advice to young Oliver? Skip the Navy part to focus even earlier on music!”
The past year of DJ gigs has taken him across continents, to places like Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, Argentina, the USA and many others. So, I asked Oliver what some of the highlights from his recent gigs had been. How did people in completely different countries react to his sound?
“I get this question a lot and it’s just so hard to determine what is the best gig. They all stand out in their own way. Vietnam though was a highlight. It was my first time and the EPIZODE crew made sure that it was one for the books. Our showcase in Istanbul was also very memorable. We had almost every Senso artist with us for a 24-hour rave. I’m just back from Argentina and Crobar Buenos Aires was another highlight. Nevertheless, I’m still sad that we had to cancel the show in Ribeirão Preto (Brazil) on the same weekend due to heavy troubles with the promoter – shit happens…”
Oliver is playing at Circus Paradise Music Festival at Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia on Sunday 10 March. It’s a big event, the likes of which the Gold Coast has not seen for some time, featuring major internationals such as Charlotte de Witte, Tim Engelhardt and Manuel De La Mare. We are very much looking forward to having him there! Oliver shared his thoughts on the coming festival with us and on the atmosphere that he intends to create there with his music:
“Circus Paradise Music Festival is the second last gig of a very heavy tour in Australia and it’s been a while since I was at the Gold Coast. I’m going to do everything to give the crowd and myself a memorable time. I’m also very happy to see my old friend Mark James being involved in the festival. It has been many years since we met each other the last time, but he was one of the first guys who brought me Down Under. I never make any particular plans of what to play as I have to catch the vibe first, but some dark and heavy basslines in the sun are set.”
Catch Oliver Huntemann playing at:
Circus Paradise Festival – Gold Coast / Brisbane
Days Like This Festival – Sydney
Pitch Music & Arts Festival – Melbourne
Propaganda Remix LP HERE (Part 1) & HERE (Part 2) are out now