Music by VICE

Jeremy Olander Seeks to Revive the Raw and Intimate with ‘lo-fi’

His new series will show that it doesn't have to be exceedingly techno to be underground.

by Geoff Harricks
Mar 10 2015, 5:20pm

From sneaking into Sweden's late night lounges as a teenager to opening up Madison Square Garden for fellow Swede Eric Prydz, Jeremy Olander has gained an international reputation by spreading proper progressive sounds to the big room.

Olander has the ability to ride the line of progressive house with works that have underground inclinations yet still harbour uplifting melodies. This power has gained him not only the support of the Pryda family, but also a tailored fan base--a group that remembers the early days of Dhillon and is anxiously preparing for the Swede's newest creation, lo-fi.

We caught up with Olander in Toronto to discuss this secret project, his first four-hour live set, and his vision to bring back the intimate underground. One he remembers fondly from his early days as a wide-eyed fan, falling in love with electronic music for the first time.

Since he began his journey in Stockholm, the Virginia born artist was drawn into the nightlife of the Scandinavian capital. Energized by the sets he heard from a young Steve Angello at Cocktail Club, his hunger for the heavy progressive sounds led him to discover Eric Prydz. This detection eventually led to his signing to Pryda Friends and ultimately his release on Pryda Recordings, a position otherwise reserved for Pryda himself. "When it happened it was such an honour. To have his approval was such a big deal for me, as I had been following his music and label for so long," he says.

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Even as an emerging artist, Olander has undoubtedly found a distinct musical identity. His infectious sound has consistently incorporated subtle drops that bring supreme strength to the dance floor, and grant him an edge against his progressive contemporaries. In his own words, it is "the darker progressive, the borderline techno."

With the likes of Guy J and Guy Mantzur, this particular sound is growing. But even amongst the Tel Aviv producers, Olander brings a level of intensity that is a cut above the rest. "When I played back-to-back with Guy J a couple months ago I was nervous. We talked before and he was so cool about it, but I was worried because some of my tracks are pretty big for his progressive sound."

This isn't to say that his productions govern the dance floor against the Lost & Found label boss. In fact, the set displayed a unique blend of their two trademark sounds. But as some artists produce for the daylight and others for the nighttime, Olander has only one thing in mind while in the studio - the dance floor. "I produce for the club. I always know pretty quickly when I'm making a track where it is going to fit into my sets. It is a trick that I learned from Eric. He taught me to produce tracks that you're missing in your sets."

Olander is widely known as Prydz's protégé, they initiated 2015 with the year's first Essential Mix, a symbolic moment that seemingly suggested Prydz's acceptance of Olander's inevitable evolution from the Pryda family. The question now lies in where Olander wants to go.

It was only recently that Olander performed his first four-hour live set at Exchange LA, while Prydz watched from a balcony inside the venue. That set seemed to mark a new phase in the Olander story. "Some people don't want a five hour set. They want to go to a heavily produced show for two hours and be done with it. I can see the appeal and charm of both, so they are both things that I want to do."

With his lo-fi brand on the rise and a series of extended sets lined up, Olander's future is focused on longer, intimate shows. "I feel like it's time for me to do my own kind of parties - set the production, the branding, and the vibe the way that I've imagined it," says Olander. "I've been to so many venues around the world now that I have found something that I want to bring to the scene. The goal is to take this to unique venues that usually don't host club shows. For instance, the launch on May 15 will take place in a former bomb shelter."

Max Graham bowing to Olander after his three hour set at Ryze

The idea for the lo-fi series came to Olander and his manager while they were watching Guy Mantzur's LA set at Couture last Halloween. "It was so close to what we wanted to do. From there we brainstormed and thought about how we could begin in Stockholm. In Sweden, it's either super commercial or super underground and there is nothing in between. I think that I am in that place. Lo-fi is the in between," he says.

The series will begin on May 15 at an intimate venue in the heart of Stockholm. Hint: the bunker. The re-emergence of a dark sound, one Olander has advocated so fiercely, will lead his motions for the coming months.

To bring the dark progressive side of the electronic music scene to an international level is Olander's current mission. But by the looks of Olander's history, everything he does is always in a constant state of progression.

With a label in the works, a series of extended sets in motion, and a subtle hint that the Dhillion days might be coming back sooner then later, lo-fi is simply his next phase. It will be another platform to his whole spectrum. A new series that will provide a great ride and show it doesn't have to be exceedingly techno to be underground.

Jeremy Olander is on Facebook // SoundCloud // Twitter