Oliver Helden’s alter-ego took to the decks to headline the Heldeep Pool Party with the bass-heavy sound of HI-LO shaking the seams of a bustling Spinnin’ hotel. Overlooking a sea of beach and partygoers, we sat down with a happy Oliver Heldens beforehand to find out more about HI-LO and what to expect in 2016.
After taking the world by storm with his unique bass cuts under the name Heldens, his deep club productions were fit for a different crowd. Definitely a passion project, we were keen to learn more about the bassy alias. HI-LO shares Helden’s earlier influences and translates to a more bass driven, alternative sound, in contrast to what would become his more laid back breakthrough track ‘Gecko’. Up until ‘Gecko’, influences and productions stacked up to just about every genre at one time or another.
“Where should I start, well let’s start with my father, he is really into music and he was playing keys, and has like synthesizers and stuff, and he was a really big fan of funk and jazz, but also techno and drum and bass and synth-pop and Kraftwerk. So I guess I got a lot of influence from that because I really love like funk and disco, but when I was really young I fell in love with the harder styles of dance music like the hardstyle and even hardcore, but then when I first went out to school parties and clubs, the biggest clubs in Rotterdam, like there I fell in love with house music.”
“I guess my main influences were the new UK deep house sound by Shadow Child, Disclosure, Julio Bashmore, and my roots which I consider hardstyle as well, but also a lot of the club sound from 2006 to 2009 – and especially if I look at Gecko, it’s had so much impact but I would have never expected it.”
“I mean it’s funny like a lot of people when they listen to my HI-LO stuff they are like, ‘this is really techno influenced’, but I never really liked pure techno, like my father was a fan of Richie Hawtin, I never really liked Richie Hawtin, but lately I’ve really started to enjoy techno.”
The more underground/alternative side of Heldens translates to a taste of different bassline driven styles including UK-, bass- & tech-house, techno and electro.
“The thing with techno is I only like it if the track itself stands…like if I am at home and I put the record on and I start dancing. Because the way I view a lot of techno, it’s more made for a three hour set and to be a chapter of a really long set experienced live.”
“So what I really like to do with HI-LO is I’m making a lot of techno-influenced stuff but I want it to be fun, I want it to be funky, like it has to be danceable for everyone.”
And you can expect a touch of DnB in upcoming releases just the same.
“I mean it’s really dark sometimes…it’s really alternative, really underground, but it’s still really fun and danceable and I’m really happy about it,” adding that, “with HI-LO I’m also really inspired by drum and bass, and I would say drum and bass is also a really big influence for me as HI-LO.”
“I have two tracks with Chocolate Puma coming up and one of them is really drum and bass inspired…it’s like The Prodigy meets Oliver Heldens/HI-LO meets Chocolate Puma – it’s a really interesting track…I would call it the steam train track, it just keeps going and going and going, and these two tracks should be coming really soon so definitely something to look out for.”
Whether listening, dancing, producing, or on-stage – being confined to a singular sound isn’t in the works for Heldens nor HI-LO; so get stoked on the string of upcoming HI-LO appearances and releases set for 2016.
“I’m basically just working with people I’m a big fan of like Throttle and Chocolate Puma…working on something with Fox Stevenson and then HI-LO, at the moment, I have so many IDs for tracks…when it’s finished I’ll release it straight away.”