Dutch maestro Olivier Weiter is the kind of DJ we all dream of becoming in our bedroom studios. Wildly passionate and uniquely individual, Oliver has carved out a career in Holland unlike any of his contemporaries. Known for his bare-foot performances, Oliviers sound marries the dynamics of house with melodies and the hypnotic beats of techno to create a hybrid sound all of his own. Deeply rooted within the very DNA of the Amsterdam dance scene, Olivier is now bringing his sound across Europe and beyond with releases on seminal labels like Sudbeat, Parquet and Armada, and performances from D.Edge in Brazil to Pacha in Ibiza and even his own stage at Mysteryland. Our own Simon Huxtable caught up with him ahead of a very special night at the Artheater in Cologne to chat about his career, the music and his plans for the future.
Hi Olivier, Thanks for finding the time to chat with us at Decoded Magazine. Hows your day been so far?
You’re welcome! I’m very busy with the preparations regarding my Weiter show next week, working on it all day. Besides that I’m finishing some stems right now for my new track.
Tell us about growing up in Amsterdam, where did the young Olivier spend his time?
I moved to Amsterdam when I was 17 years old. I was supposed to spend my time at the university, but I didn’t. Instead, I went to clubs like Club 11 in Amsterdam, and was spending a lot of time in Germany to go to festivals and clubs with friends.
Who were your influences growing up?
Michael Jackson for sure and The Doors. And also a lot of hiphop back in the days. Dance-music related it was and still is Sven Väth. Besides Sven also Hernan Cattaneo, Sasha and Nick Warren.
Can you remember your first gig?
Yes I can, it was at a small bar called “The Swinginn”. It was the first edition of “Shoeless” which is now known as one of the most popular concepts in Amsterdam. I only had around 15 vinyls at the time, but it was legendary.
Tell us about DJing bare foot?
It started because of my first gig, where everyone had to take their shoes off. So I started playing on bare feet at that time and never changed it. It feels really comfortable, your grounded. Just like playing in your own living room.
The Weiter sound as we explained in the intro is a mixture of influences. Where do you find your music and how do you decide on the tracks you play?
The music I’m playing can be really diverse, Beatport, Juno, Decks, Whatpeopleplay are some of the sites where I check my music. Also I get a lot of promo’s every week, and make a selection of the good ones. For me it doesn’t work when you prepare too much. Its all about the right track at the right moment. Also, it depends on what venue, how many people, day or night etc.
You’ve gained a good reputation supporting big names. What for you is the most important thing for a warm up DJ?
The most important thing is to create a smooth vibe on the dance floor. Definitely not playing too loud, or too fast. You start on an empty dance floor so it doesn’t make sense to play peak time tracks. You have to make a smooth transition between you and the DJ after you. No effects, no bullshit. Just a clean buildup so everyone can get a small taste of what’s coming.
With your profile now going stratospheric, tell us about having a stage at Mysteryland back in 2013. How did the opportunity arise and what where some of the main challenges?
After my first solo shows, the people from Mysteryland called me. They wanted to have me on board with an own stage. It was a big tent next to the main stage, so for me the main challenge was to keep as many people inside the tent as possible the whole day. And because it was next to the Main stage, the crowd was not really into our music. We had Kölsch, Miss Melera, Eelke Kleijn, and I did a 5 hour closing set, which is also not quite standard for a festival. In the end, the tent was crowded until the very last track, even during the crazy fireworks end show at the mainstage, people where still dancing in front of me. Awesome.
Kingsday/night is a national holiday in Holland. Tell us about the history behind the celebration, and what your role is this year?
Kingsday is a Dutch traditional party day, its the birthday of our King. Actually it just means: Lets party all day and night. I’m playing at Loveland Kingsday, as Before.Now.After, a collective with Arjuna Schiks, Eelke Kleijn, Miss Melera and me involved, playing B2B2B with live elements. Afterwards I’m doing a show in Haarlem, and heading back to Amsterdam for the afterparty at Click. And maybe I’ll jump on a boat with some friends during the free time and play some music there haha.
On the 13th May, you’re playing a party in Cologne with Einmusik and our own Jaap Ligthart. Im sure your excited, but can you tell us a little more about the event?
Einmusik told me the venue is really cool, and I’m happy to play with him and Jaap. They both have a really nice taste of music and both have their own style. I think this night has everything to become a great clubnight. Also, it’s my first time in Cologne, so here you have the scoop haha…
For more information, please visit the official event page here.
Playing to your home crowd is always a different experience to DJing abroad, and it provides unique challenges to every DJ. What did you notice about your first gig outside the EU?
Every country has a different kind of crowd, the first gig outside EU was in Chile. They where so happy to have me there. It felt like home within 5 minutes. But the kind of atmosphere is so different because of the culture, climate etc. But in the end, there is no real difference. You’re playing your music, and the crowd is doing their dance moves. Its important though to get the connection with the crowd, but that’s always the thing.
Lets focus on your producing for a moment. When did you start to make your own tracks and what DAW are you using?
I started making beats with FL studio around 2006. But really had no idea what I was doing, without a keyboard or proper monitors. But it helped me a lot with understanding plugins, EQ-ing and creating samples. My first track was released in 2009, when I was still working in FL studio. I made the switch to Ableton, because a lot of producers worked with Ableton and its much easier to work in the same DAW. After my switch to Ableton it all went faster.
You’ve have some success with releases already. Tell us about your new one, the remix of 3 Drives?
I was asked by Armada to do a remix of a classic tune. They sent me a list with tracks, but without a doubt I chose Greece 2000, because the original is still in my record bag. I tried to blend it with a 2015 theme, created a second melody, but kept the original melody intact. I did a lot of FX, soundscapes around it and created a new violin layer. After the drop, it turns into a 2015 version. That was my idea behind it.
We noticed you like to release your bootlegs as free downloads sometimes. How important is having a collection of edits and personal remixes to the modern DJ?
Well, its always nice to make an edit or bootleg for your own sets, so you have something unique that no one else has. Sometimes you hear a piece of music and think “wow, I need to make an edit of this” but it always goes in a spontaneous way. And giving it away for free is also a way to share music with the rest of the world, and maybe a step for making an official remix of that track.
As someone we would class as a ‘free spirit’ do you find it hard to resist being outspoken and keeping on brand with social media?
To be honest, for DJs nowadays its just part of the game. There are so many DJs and producers, so you have to be seen online. Artists like Ricardo Villalobos, they don’t need it. They already have such a long history. But for the new generation, it is a part of being a DJ. Staying in touch with fans, other producers. Its a part of the game.
Its been a really pleasure to chat Olivier. One final thing, whats in the calendar for the rest of the year?
Likewise! I’ve got some great festivals coming up, for instance Tomorrowland Brazil, where I play alongside Sasha and Gui Boratto. I’ll be performing on Mysteryland USA main stage, Welcome to the Future with BNA (Before.Now.After), A Day at the Park, and a lot of more great shows. At the moment I’m busy with creating my own musical platform WEITER, and will be releasing my first track very soon on the platform.