Oliver Heldens Talks Creative Freedom and the Trends of Future House

The DJ caught up with Popdust right before his performance at Electric Zoo 2019.

Rotterdam-based producer Oliver Heldens refuses to be boxed in.

The 24-year-old told Popdust prior to his energized set at Electric Zoo this year that he's excited to see dance music "getting bigger and bigger." Heldens exploded on to the scene in 2013 with "Gecko (Overdrive)," a track that established Heldens as a pioneer of future house. We spoke more with the DJ on his big break, his inspirations, and what's next for him.

You have had tremendous growth these last few years and you're absolutely crushing it. We caught you down in Miami as well. Where do you get your inspiration from when you're creating your tracks?"

[Definitely] 'Gecko' still. That was my big breakthrough song, and I just love it and the impact it had on the whole scene. I'm really still so proud of it."

Where do you see the scene going?

"Well in general in the last couple of years we've seen dance music, in general, getting bigger and bigger, where whether it's techno or tech house or future house or deep house, it's really growing and that's really nice. I definitely see Trance going more upwards, back to the roots and getting more danceable and less aggressive. It seems like that dance music, in general, is getting so big, and it's only been mainstream since like 2010, so like right now is the perfect time for people to really dive in deeper, and it's really nice to see that you can be a really niche sounding artist, and it can be very dark and not mainstream but you still have a big crowd to play for. That's what's really nice about the scene right now. I feel like people are very open-minded nowadays and they like multiple genres."

Oliver Heldens - Summer Lover (Lyric Video) ft. Devin, Nile Rodgers

Your Heldeep Radio has really grown and includes so many great underground artists. Your song choice in particular has gotten you a lot of recognition. How do you narrow down what to include?

I go through a lot of tracks, and the ones that excite me I put them on the show. When I started doing monthly mixtapes, they became so popular that so many radio stations were asking me to do a weekly mix, and in the beginning, it was quite hard for me, because to deliver quality tracks every week was quite difficult, and at that time there weren't many producers making future house or like this kind of mix between bass and tech house. But over the years more and more people started to make more of that more music...and Heldeep Records kinda developed from doing Heldeep radio shows, because with the Heldeep Radio shows I got so many demos and promos from undiscovered talents, e-mails, people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. So I decided to start Heldeep Records. Also, at that time, I wanted to create an alias for my more underground, more bass-driven and darker tracks. So it all came together perfectly. Even though I felt kinda young to start my own record label, but luckily there were a lot of my inspirations when I launched the label and a lot of artists were really keen on releasing on Heldeep, which was both inspiring and motivating.

Will you be focusing more on the Heldeep sound as you go forward?

"Over the last few years, we've been trying to do more Heldeep shows, Heldeep stage hostings at big festivals, and that's been going great so far. So definitely wanna do that more and more."

What type of sounds are you mostly looking for now?

"I'm never looking for a specific sound, I'm very open. I love to be doing the in-between, the underground, and the commercial, and the mainstage. I really like to be in that spot. I'm very open to different things."

What's a piece of advice you can offer those underground acts?

"I would say to aspiring DJs and producers, take your time, don't feel rushed to breakthrough. Sometimes it just feels better to just take more time, and it takes time to develop your own sound. So don't try to go for shortcuts or, yeah, it's important that it's fun and that you like the music...especially if you're very young your tastes can shift very quickly. Sometimes it's important just to take time and think about what kind of music you really want to make, and don't go off too much on trance, stay true to yourself and support it."

Follow Oliver Heldens on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Happy Birthday, Elliott Smith: The Indie Rock Legend's 10 Best Songs

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Today, August 6, 2020, Elliott Smith would have turned 51 years old.

Smith was born in Omaha, Nebraska, raised in north Texas, and spent a good portion of his life in Portland, Oregon before settling in Los Angeles. Before his sudden and mysterious death in 2003, the prolific singer-songwriter released five studio albums of poignant, rootsy indie rock, with his sixth studio album and a compilation of rarities being released posthumously. He became known for his dismal lyrics—often referencing his mental health and substance abuse habits—and his distinctively whispery vocals, which he often double-tracked to create an eerie, textured ambiance.

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We are excited to present EDM duo Giolì & Assia who've recently released their debut album Istantanee; featuring 10 tracks of Italian electronica. The Young Italian DJs and artists, living for music started their career as duo on April 2016 with their first single "Stay Closer". The rising stars have gone on to create their new album singles such as 'Starry Nights', 'Far Away Roads', 'Borderline', 'Paradise To Share' & 'How Can I'. They've already surpassed 1,000,000 collective streams on Spotify, and have booked festival gigs through summer!

We got the chance to interview the the up & coming artists:

What is EDM/Dance Music? How would you define it?

EDM is Electronic Dance Music, or better energetic dance music. But is not really our genre, even if we like to listen to different kind of music.

When and how did you two start collaborating? Can you tell us about the origins?

We met on Facebook, after few comments on some posts we started talking and we never stopped. Our passions and life goals were so similar so basically we found each other! After some months we started working together also, we made our first trip and for three years now we had so many amazing experiences together that our bond became very special and strong.

What do you love about creating music?

The moment we love most is when we're in the studio starting a new track. We love the whole process, especially the beginning, because we don't know what will be out. It's funny then when we let our friends and families listen to the track and they give us their opinions.

What's your inspiration?

Hard to say, there are so many for both of us. We don't know how to chose one. There are many artists that inspire us, some of them are, Paul Kalkbrenner, Odesza, Florence and The Machine, Coldplay, The XX, and many others.

Where can readers go to find out more about you?

On our socials or website, but there are many articles and interviews with few curiosity about us on google too!

What do you love most about performing at festivals?

The big stage and the crowd! It's always good to have the possibility of performing in festival and being listened to many people.

What festivals are you performing in this summer? Where can fans see you perform live?

We'll announce our tour soon. About festivals we will be in Budapest, Switzerland and a great one this July, with artists like Nina Kraviz, Adam Bayer, Ofenbach and many more.

How would you sum up your music in two words?

Emotional and intense.

What feelings do you associate with your music?

Happiness and freedom

If you are interested in learning more about Giolì & Assia and even seeing them on stage, check them out here.