Put simply, Oliver Huntemann is a pioneer in electronic music and one of the great legends of the scene. We were lucky enough to chat him about all things techno.
Thank you for joining us Oliver. Please give us an update on what’s happening right now in your world.
I’m just back from the live recording session of my PLAY! 05 live in Vienna compilation and still a bit trashed. It was a very long and crazy night at Grelle Forelle, Viennas best club at the moment and one of my favourites worldwide, where the recording took part. I played a five hours set and about three hours out of it will be taken for the double CD release in October on my new label Senso Sounds.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re in to musically at the moment?
Well, now I have to listen to my set from last week and prepare it for the manufacturing of the Play! 05 compilation. It will take a few days to sort it out. As you may have followed the compilation series over the last years, they always come along with a single release, especially made for the compilation, named after the city where it‘s been recorded. So straight afterwards I‘ll go to the studio and finish the b-side for the “Vienna” single.
It’s been a big 12 months for you with Ideal Audio celebrating its 5th Anniversary and the release of the accompanying compilation 5unf. How did it feel to take a trip through the back catalogue? Did it bring back many memories? Are you proud of everything you’ve achieved with the label?
I’ve focused on fresh and exclusive material and made room for newcomers I believe in and like to work with in the future. That‘s why I split it into a double CD: CD1 Future, CD 2 Past. André Winter took a trip down the memory lane mixing the second CD. Proud might be the wrong word, but I’m thankful for five nice and intense years. How do people say? You never know what the future brings! Talking about Ideal Audio and memories, I need to mention, that I stopped running the labels Confused and Ideal Audio, focussing on my new imprint Senso Sounds from now.
In terms of your labels, Confused was your initial imprint which released a broad range of sounds. Ideal was born with a clear intention of releasing quality techno. Can you tell us about your new label ‘Senso Sounds’ and what the vision for that is?
Well, Techno brings a pretty broad range of sounds with it and changes with the time and spirit. Techno is a feeling. Looking at it that way, I always focus on releasing quality Techno or finest underground dance music. My vision of Senso Sounds is to bring the music and the artists closer together, even more than with my previous labels. It would be great creating a special Senso sound and I think with the upcoming stuff we‘re on a good way.
You continually seem to be on the pulse by signing tracks from artists just starting to shine. Is this a conscious plan to promote the next generation? What do you look for in new artist talent? How can artists get their music noticed in today’s scene?
Plans and ideas develop, back then when I started DJing I definitely did not thought about promoting the next generation. It was more like that I grew up with or in a generation of artists and DJs. But now, the older I get, I feel myself mature and balanced enough to give new artists a helping hand and see the benefits they can have from my knowledge and experience. I can‘t even tell you, what I am exactly looking for in a new talent, I follow my gut instinct here. Also there is not enough room to answer, how artist get noticed in todays scene. Identity, passion and patience are probably like salt, water and pepper in the soup.
Having been in the production game for a long time, do you have any favourite pieces of equipment that you use to make your music? Do you tend to use a lot of analogue gear? What piece of kit couldn’t you live without?
First of all I‘m big fan of having all set up in the Mac. It‘s so comfortable having total recall whenever I want. The sound of the plug-ins and native synths these days are amazing. I don‘t want to go back having problems with cables, detuned synthesizers, dirty faders, lost sounds and mixdowns etc. I still love the Arturia stuff and use a lot from Native Instruments too.
I read somewhere that episode 5 in your PLAY! series of live mix compilations is coming out soon. What can we expect from this episode?
I‘m staying loyal with my concept and provide you a snapshot of my current musical direction, including upcoming and exclusive material from my new label Senso Sounds. As mentioned before PLAY! 05 was just recorded at Viennas top club Grelle Forelle. This time I included about 70% of exclusive tracks, which makes the mix very special.
Last year you moved from your existing management to Cocoon’s management. How have you found the move? Has this offered the opportunities you desired when planning the move?
Cocoon is one of the biggest and most experienced companies in our scene. Sven Väth did and moved a lot for our culture and he is one of my biggest idols ever. When you get an offer like that, it‘s like an accolade and hard to deny. It was an honour being part of the Cocoon family.
We also heard you were setting up a new DJ agency. Can you tell us about that?
Kontrast Artists, which is the name of the agency, is the next step of a consequent plan to hold things tight and in my hands. Some day in your life you simply reach the stage, where you wanna be your own boss and control everything 100% they way you see it. Settling the matters how you feel, without the need of explaining your ideas. We have started with only few artists. Just dubspeeka, Jens Bond and me are filling the roaster yet.
What have been your highlights from your tour schedule in the last year? With the scene continuing to expand are there any new hot spots that you have seen appear and grow?
I think the most enthusiastic partys last year were at La Fabrica in Cordoba, a venue which looks like an open air version of Berghain, and at Crobar Buenos Aires. Stunning shows!
In terms of your DJ shows, what have been the tunes that have been getting big reactions from recently? Are there any artists that are inspiring you musically and who are getting lots of air play in your sets?
I love the stuff from dubspeeka, such a great producer. He delivered a massive single for Senso and is still one of the most underrated artists in the scene, although it seems almost every DJ is playing his stuff. I‘m glad having him again on board for both, the Senso Sounds label and our Kontrast Artists agency roaster.
Besides taking some candid snaps of you raiding the riders of the Cocoon family (Sven & Loco), do you get time to check out other DJs and live acts whilst touring? Is there anyone that has caught your attention recently?
I try to check other artists as often as I can. I recently listened to a set of a young guy called BE//LA from Hamburg – pretty impressive. He also does interesting productions, I definitely will keep an eye on him.
I saw you recently played at the same festival as your partner Xenia Beliayeva. It must be a great feeling to be sharing the stage and doing what you love together. How was the show? Is there a lot of music chat around your dinner table?
I enjoy much playing alongside Xenia. It‘s big fun a and a benefit to spend time together. Unfortunately the last time the promoter called us at eleven-thirty to say, that club just got shoot down by the police. Legal formalities in the beginning of the season. Well, shit happens, there are better ways of spending a weekend, than flying 12.000 kilometer zick-zack for a dinner. And, yes, surely we do talk about music. She‘s the most trustful conversation partner to blaspheme with.
What do you like to do to unwind when you need a break from music?
I like to spend quality time with friends and family. Nothing special, hanging around, doing a nice BBQ, meting friends, take a walk with the dog, watch football or series.
Finally, do you have coming up that people should look out for?
Yes, my next single Blitz & Donner, which will be also the first release on Senso Sounds, is set to be out on July 23rd. I don‘t even know how it comes, but Senso Sounds release schedule is piled up till summer 2015 with top productions by dubspeeka, Matt Sassari & Matt Mor, Florian Gasperini, Mark Deutsche & Musoé, André Winter & Hatzler, BE//LA and many more. Then we have the in the beginning of the interview mentioned PLAY! 05 compilation and the according single „Vienna“. Last but not last the Ideal Audio final with „Aqua“ by Dubfire and me, the last 12“ in the Elements Series with vocals by Xenia. Then again, I guess it‘s time to start working on my fifth album.