A Sit Down With DJ Oliver Koletzki

Olover Koletzki seems to have a nose for commercial success out of the underground, which Lützenkirchens ironic afterhour manifest “3 Tage Wach” is the best example for: the track becomes the best-sold techno track of 2008. In 2009 Oliver continues this success story with the release of his album “Großstadtmärchen” – an electro-pop album featuring national and international big names such as Mieze Katz (MIA), Axel Bosse or Die Raketen as well as many newcomers such as singers Juli Holz, Pyur and Fran. With “Großstadtmärchen” Oliver has managed to achieve what only few techno producers manage can do: to produce a pop album with club credibility. The singles “Hypnotized” and “U-Bahn” get nationwide airplay on the radio and when Oliver plays them in the club people sing along to the lyrics.

 

“I’m not looking for a sound to distinguish myself. Whereby I can understand this attitude.”

 

How would you describe the Oliver-Koletzki-style in terms of music and what’s typical?

Honestly, I have to say I regularly change the style of my music because I’d get too bored otherwise. I started making music very early on so if I’d made the same kind of music for the past 30 years, that wouldn’t be my thing. Aside from that I perform live a lot so I need to make sure it stays interesting and exciting for me. My last album is 3 years old now, a lot has changed since then. I’ve left pop music behind a little, my music is a bit harder now, more techno-like, fewer melodies, fewer vocals. But despite these changes there still is a common theme and there are characteristics in my productions where you can recognise my style. 

Being an artist with deep roots in the underground, what was it like receiving wide commercial acclaim for your work? Have you ever felt a sense of backlash at any point from the fans of your earlier work? 

Of course it felt good to be successful, even though it wasn’t planned at all. The backlash was relatively small, to be honest, because the more pop-leaning music I made at the time was nonetheless ambitious and had style.

Do you mostly find your sounds on the computer? 

I work in my studio with real synthesizers and software synthesizers and try out a lot. Here and there I also work with sample CDs, especially with regard to drums. It also happens that I record sounds. For the track “U-Bahn” in 2009 I sampled noises of the U5 at the Frankfurter Tor. On the new album, I recorded rain and thunder for “Too Soon”.

What do you enjoy more – producing or DJing?

Oh, I really can’t say – I love both. I started producing first and DJing later, but that’s the perfect mixture. On the weekend I withdraw to the studio and write music. After three, four days that’s enough and I go out and I perform. After three or four days that’s enough again. So, it really is in the mix. 

Break-dancing and Hip Hop were both massive influences of yours when you were younger. When did you deviate down the path of dance music?

It was in the mid 90s. Until then, hip hop culture was album music, break dancing and graffiti. All of a sudden it turned into this this gangster culture and people forgot about their roots. That was the point at which I moved on.

So do you think the scene changed much since you first became involved?

It has definitely grown a lot. In Berlin, there are open airs now everywhere in the summer – every weekend there are plenty of parties. Moreover, it seems as if DJing is just another hobby these days.

The scene is very different now from when you started out. What’s the most significant change you’ve noticed? 

Primarily the technology has changed – both for production and when DJ’ing. Generally speaking, the music and the crowd haven’t changed too much, but the amount of clubs and events has grown a lot in recent years. 

What’s the next direction for you as a producer? Would you ever consider deviating away from house and techno?

I’d love to do a hip hop or trip hop album some time. As I said, I am currently really into harder stuff again. And I feel I’ve already covered quite a lot of ground on my past albums, which incorporate all kinds of influences outside of house and techno.

For those who’d like to follow in your footsteps, what one piece of advice would you give them? 

Learn how to play an instrument and/ or play in a band for a while to really develop your musical skills. 

How do you stay motivated musically? What’s influencing you a lot these days?

I’m still inspired by the wonderful city I live in, Berlin, with its incredible nightlife. After 20 years of DJing the motivation has stayed the same: the people on dance floors and the kids who buy and support my music.

Questions? Comments? We want to know:@djfollower