A Sit Down With DJ Olivier Giacomotto

Olivier Giacomotto is a French producer, born and raised in the South West of the country, and now living in Paris. He bought his first studio kit at 18 years of age and has since branched out into several areas of music production. He has become something of an online techno star and in the last decade, has constantly been at the top of the Beatport charts with his own brands of techno, house, electro and tech-house. He has worked with artists like John Acquaviva, Umek, and Popof, and had releases on loads of labels including Suara, Get Physical, Noir Music, Definitive Recordings, Toolroom Records, and Trapez. More recently, he has moved from his own releases to producing music for video games and film soundtracks.

His unwavering determination to push the boundaries of him. Between the hits, Olivier composed several songs for the mainstream artists and publishers of the Rockstar Games. Midnight Club Los Angeles. Terry Lynn and Tom Frager. Olivier also produced for pop and reggae. One of his productions for Terry Lynn titled “Stone” was hit with “Date Night” with Steve Carell, Tina Fey, and Mark Wahlberg, and “Give Me That Love”, coproduced with Tom Frager on the major global music company Universal, have been charted during 2 weeks in the French. Always a step ahead, Olivier has recently revealed his whole ability to create an entire movie soundtrack for the US film The Red Man.

 

“Hard work is essential and working harder than all the others is the key to success. So no PlayStation, no sofa, only studio and creativity.”

 

When did you start writing/producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I’ve always loved music. I started with piano when I was 8, then guitar when I was 14, then I bought my first synthesizer when I was 18. Then I started to produce electronic music with my first PC in 1999. Back in those days I simply wanted to record and sequence what I had in mind, which was a wide range of non-electronic and electronic music. My main influences at that time were bands from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s like Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steel Pulse, Funkadelic, Maceo Parker and Kesiah Jones, but also Portishead, Dead Can Dance, Freak Power, Tricky, Howie B and many more.

How much of an impact did Paris have you as an artist at the start of your career?

​I​’m basically from Bordeaux and have only lived in Paris for 3 years now, but life here is boiling, always moving artistically, so I​’m proud being part of this.

How did you come about making music for video games and movies?

I didn’t write for video games, the company Rockstar Games was looking for new music for a new game they were developing, so they contacted Definitive Recordings and we licensed a few tracks.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

The first goal is to get enough quality to be signed, technically and creatively. The challenge is the same over time, only the quality and creativity level change. Step by step I acquired more knowledge to be able to increase my skills and techniques, this way the ideas in my mind are translated with more accuracy on my hard drive.

You can play various styles of progressive music including techno, house, electro, tech-house and deep house. What is your favourite style of music to play and why?

I played different styles at different times of my career, starting with techno, then electro, and then tech-house. But a style is part of an evolution, so right now I like to produce and play sounds that are released under the tech-house genre on Beatport. I like to say that I play for the girls, so that is the right combination of groove, funk, sexiness, sometimes deeper, sometimes darker, sometimes dirtier, sometimes more melodic, depends on the crowd and the venue.

How often do you produce, and can you tell us a bit about your studio set up? 

Well, I spend less time in the studio nowadays, it depends on my touring schedule, but it’s a minimum of 30 hours per week, it can go up to 50 hours a week, it depends on my touring schedule, and my family commitment. with more than 10 years of experience i work quite fast, i know how to translate my ideas into music way faster than before. In the studio I like to keep things simple, a laptop, a soundcard, a pair of good monitors, and a small room with a great acoustic treatment. everything i produce is made by plug-ins, even the mastering, there is no hardware involved at all. that let me the possibility to work in a hotel room, in a plane, in a train, etc.

You were nominated as best electro producer for the Beatport Music Awards 2008, which also tell us you have been in the scene for quite some time. Can you tell us a little about the nomination and your work?

I had my first record released in 2004, after all this time I can tell that nominations, awards, TOP10s, are the things that make you feel good, but are also the things I don’t think of when I produce. Recognition is not and will never be a motivation, I always keep in mind that I make music, and not marketing.

You compose across a lot of genres – what inspires each?

Inspiration depends on my mood. I can have a concept idea in the bath, driving my car or after a gig. It can be a lead synth first, or just a beat arrangement, a vocal, there is no rule. Then a song can be made in a day or in a month, or in three months – it’s a matter of satisfaction. Sometimes, ideas come in two hours – sometimes, it’s like a childbirth, it can be painful and long!

So tell us a little about your studio – it seems small but perfectly formed.

I’ve been trained on all kinds of high-end gear, but my studio is just a MacBook Pro with Logic Pro installed, an RME Fireface 800 soundcard, a pair of Event Opals, a small MIDI keyboard, and a SubPac. I only use plug-ins, like Native Instruments, Waves, Sonnox, Arturia, Soundtoys, and so on. As I said, I keep things simple. I travel a lot, so when ideas come, I need to have at least my laptop and my plug-ins to write them, then I make them perfect in the studio. Acoustic treatment of the room is also as important as the monitors.

What’s your vision on being a musician, besides making people dance? 

I’m first of all a musician, and I’m not a proper deejay… while producing my first tracks , I was thinking about what could be the best way to play my music? A liveset with machines or DeeJaying? Visually speaking, DeeJaying looks like more active than a Live Act… and when I discovered Final Scratch in 2001, I directly decided to buy it, being able to play at night, on vinyl’s, the track that you made in the morning seduced me.

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