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Interview: Oliver talk studio, synths and making it big
Their synth-tastic, funk injected brand of dance has impressed labels and DJs all over the world. They've landed remix jobs for Breakbot, Punks Jump Up, Chromeo and originals on French label Kitsune, Vaughn Oliver aka U_TERN & Oliver Goldstein are production duo who are going from strength to strength.
We caught up with Vaughn Oliver before their debut London show at The Nest in Dalston tomorrow night.
"I think if you can focus on the quality and follow your instincts, the rest will sort itself out."
Tell us a bit about how you got started, are you musicians, DJs or producers first?
Vaughn Oliver: We both have our roots as hip-hop and scratch DJs back in the late 90s. I started DJing in clubs and radio shows once I moved to Vancouver, around the same time Oligee's focus was in the studio making beats, and playing in a few different bands. I started by doing edits and remixes that I could play out in the club and making tracks for local rappers etc...
Do you tend to work together in the same physical space or collaborate remotely in your own studios?
Depends on the project, it's different every time. It's nice having our own spaces to work on ideas and starts and then collaborating once we have something interesting. Other times we just hang out and jam something out. We used to make tracks over Skype when I still lived in Canada. All of our early stuff was done like that, just sending parts back and forth.
"Teisco 60f, Multi-Moog, Crumar Trilogy, Yamaha CS-15, a bunch more in storage plus a few of the old drum machines and rack effects and pedals."
Describe your studio.
My set up is fairly modest. An iMac with some Tannoys, Pro Tools and plug-ins, nothing special. Oli's room is much more interesting for analog gear, there's so much for me to list off the top but I'll give it a try: Juno 60, Poly Moog, Rhodes, Prophet 5, Mini-Moog, Roland SH-5, Korg VC-10, Poly Six, Teisco 60f, Multi-Moog, Crumar Trilogy, Yamaha CS-15, a bunch more in storage plus a few of the old drum machines and rack effects and pedals.
Give us your advice for becoming "big on the internet". What tools do you suggest people use for promotion?
Yeah, not entirely sure how we managed to do that to be honest. We never aggressively pushed our music on people. I think if you can focus on the quality and follow your instincts, the rest will sort itself out. Having a strong visual concept with your music helps, we come from the school of vinyl and have a deep appreciation of record cover art, for us it's an important first impression.Also, staying current with social media. We got in on Soundcloud early in the game and reallybenefitedfrom that.
Do you think it's more important than ever to have a constant stream of remixes, edits and original tracks?
I think it's probably more important than ever to try and release on a consistent basis. Unfortunately,it's really hard to stay on peoples radar, although we try not to worry about that too much. We just try our best to make sure we're happy with everything we put out. We had a pretty good run of remixes and tracks come out over the past year, so now we are trying to focus more on our own music and refining our sound.
What's been the single most important piece of studio gear for your sound?
The criminally underrated Bee Gee's Rhythm Machine
Tell us about your live show. How does it work? Who does what live?
Right now we do a combination of Serato and playing live stuff from Logic or Ableton. I mostly DJ and Oli plays the keyboards and samplers etc...
Any ideas for expanding the live show?
I think once there's a real demand for it we will do it. We just know how much time it takes to put together a good live show, so we want to make sure it's worth it. Until then our time is probably better spent creating new material. I put a lot of time into DJ sets though, I always want them to be interesting and I love to find new music to play out with our own music.
What about music influences, who are some of your favorite producers?
The usual suspects: Prince, Daft Punk, Quincy Jones, , Moroder, Brian Eno, etc. As far as some current producers we really like: Soulwax,Yuksek, LifeLike, Alan Braxe, Tiga, Boys Noize, Jacques Lu Cont, Siriusmo, Datassette, Gesaffelstein, Blende, The Sneekers, Benoit & Sergio, Para One, Plastic Plates, Breakbot, Punks Jump Up, Gigamesh, Maceo Plex, Tiger & Woods, Alex Metric, is that too many? I could go on for days...
What's coming up for you next?
Currently we're working on putting together an EP for Fools Gold that should hopefully be coming out sometime this fall. Also a few remixes. The next to be released is one we did a while back for Aeroplane, I believe it's coming out on Eskimo's 20th anniversary compilation.