Deep and future house music superstar Oliver Heldens took a moment out of his busy Miami Music Week schedule to discuss his rise to fame. Heldens talks about his alias HI-LO, future house, and how he got into making his passion his career.
How many times have you been coming to MMW? What is your favorite part?
This is my fourth time coming to Miami Music Week. Actually, Miami Music week always feels like a new year to me. The first time I was here it was my first tour in America. I was still in high school. I was here three years ago and I played seven parties. I also met other DJs for the first time. So every Miami Music Week feels like a special week, really big motivation, and new year. This is my new year!
How long have you been DJing and producing music?
I started when I was 12 years old. I was more into gaming in the beginning. When I was 12, I would have ideas and I would try to make them sound good but it was difficult. Then when I was 15, I became more dedicated and then it all happened really quick. When I was 17 I signed a record deal with Spinnin’ Records. The same year I made Gecko, Koala, and Juggernaut, and a bunch of other stuff. They got released and everything exploded!
You’ve got a lot planned for this week. Where will we be seeing you?
I’m playing two pool parties- the Heldeep Pool Party, and then the afterparty is Thursday. Today I’m playing the DJ Mag Pool Party, and Friday I’m playing a party at Nikki Beach with Jauz, that’s probably going to be a crazy party. In the night I’m playing a HI-LO set.
You have achieved a lot of success at an incredibly young age. Where do you think the motivation for this came from?
I attribute my success to where I am from. In the Netherlands, dance music has been huge since the early 90s. My father was actually into electronic dance music before house music existed. He loves Kraftwerk, Jungle, drum & bass, and techno. He loves people like Kerri Chander and Richie Motif. My father was a big analog sound freak. He also had a synthesizer. In the Netherlands, you would hear house music, trance, and even techno sometimes on the radio.
How would describe HI-LO? How do you differentiate between the two, and how does your mindset change for one VS. the other?
HI-LO is still part of Oliver Heldens but Oliver Heldens is more joyful, more melodic, more catchy, more summerish while HI-LO is more raw and dark and more bass-line driven….more about the beats and the bass. When I play sets I definitely change my mindset. When I make music, I don’t fake it and when I don’t fake it, I make the best music and just have fun.
You sort of spearheaded the future house movement…which evolved into bass house where HI-LO resides. What do you think is next?
For me, I’m going more retro, a little disco-ish stuff. At the same tim, I’m working on more pop and hip-hop stuff. For HI-LO I’m making a little bit more progressive techno. So I’m all over the place. I don’t think there is one big next thing. Personally I believe in house music, techno, and disco. In America these genres have a lot of room to grow. I think when we look back in ten years, house music is going to be the biggest genre is dance music.
With W&W, Arty, and Sander van Doorn going back to their roots, is there any chance you’ll go back to big room?
Well for me some of the HI-LO tracks I’m making feel big room to me. Like for example my track with Sander van Doorn ‘What the Fuck’. For me, that’s big room with a techno approach.