Jan 08, 2018
Olly James Exclusive Mix
Olly James is looking primed for a huge 2018, and he’s starting off the year with a massive Exclusive Mix featuring IDs and club weapons galore. In our interview, Olly discusses the long awaited release of his Blasterjaxx collab “Phoenix” (finally out January 15th!!) and appealing to fans of both his big room sound as well as the other sounds he ventured into with the FREEdom EPs. Read on to learn more while getting hyped listening to Olly’s Exclusive Mix!
You’re starting the year off with a big bang with the release of “Phoenix.” The track has quite a history as well rising out of a track originally made for Blasterjaxx’s Ultra 2015 set. Where in the production process did you get involved in the track and what made you get on board initially or after the guys approached you?
Blasterjaxx sent me the break and wanted a new drop on it for Ultra. So I did a little bit with their original drop, but then we made an updated drop for the 2016 set because we felt it needed to be a bit fresher. Although it has been quite a while, I’m really happy with the end result and I hope everyone else is as well.
Can you talk about some of the updates made to the track to bring it up to date in terms of sound design and fixing the second drop?
So we really wanted to keep the energy of the 2015 drop, keeping movement in the drop melody, so we decided to go for a kind of question & answer style drop with two different leads. At the same time we still wanted to improve the sound design to keep up with other releases as sound design had evolved so much in the year between the two versions.
You’ve been dropping the track in some of your live sets as well. How have you been using it and were there any tweaks after road testing that you felt were important?
I love to play it at the peak of my set because the energy is crazy. Most of the time I play the break and drop rather than build up drop as the break melody is so iconic and everybody seems to recognize it. In terms of tweaks, we noticed on a number of occasions that the mixdown needed improving, but the 2016 synths and melody have remained the same.
What does it mean to you and what does it say about yours and Blasterjaxx’s fans that since they kept asking about “Phoenix,” it helped get you guys going in terms of finishing and releasing it?
I think I got asked every day from at least 20 people when it would be released! There was actually a point in time where the track was looking like it wasn’t going to be finished, but with the fans asking so regularly, we felt like we owed it to them and we are really happy we can finally put it out!
The next few questions come from some members of the 1001 community. Cam says, “I’ve heard recently in interviews and posts that you are getting tired of the typical “old” big room sound and want to innovate more. Were the FREEdom EPs a step in that direction, or can we expect an even bigger change?” [Listen FREEdom EP I & FREEdom EP 2 on Spotify]
Yes I really wanted to test the water with the FREEdom EPs and thankfully it was well received, however there are still some people calling for the old Olly James sound, so I will still be producing big room as well as experimenting with other genres as that’s what I love to play out live. It will just be a lot more creative and different to the big room stuff I was producing before, but don’t worry, the real Olly James sound will always remain.
Are there any artists with which you have not yet worked that you really would like to? Have you ever considered working with Hardwell or W&W?
Yes working with Hardwell would be really cool, I love that he is staying true to the big room and progressive sound even though a lot of people have abandoned it.
What are two goals you are hoping to achieve in 2018?
The first goal that I want to achieve this year is to make the fans happy again, mainly by releasing a lot of music and playing a lot of shows so we can also meet each other which is an important part to me as well. Secondly it would be great to play Tomorrowland again, so let’s hope we can make both happen haha.
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