DJ Ollie has been around for a long time, holding residencies at Innovation and Pure Science, repeat bookings at Warning in Cambridge, the worlds longest running drum and bass night. Along with playing worldwide, he compiled and mixed the chart topping Innovation Drum & Bass Anthems compilation album, which also featured his track From The Edge. Ollie has also been an approachable, down to earth guy, level headed and kind. Playing all over the world he's an inspiration to many. We have an exclusive 30 minute guest mix for our JDNB Heavyweights series, and an interview with him to see what's going on in his world for 2020 and beyond.
Here is his exclusive 30 minutes mix tracklist:
Kallan HK - Meant To Be
Tantrum Desire - Lockdown
NC-17 & Nusense - Come Test
Vital Elements - Bass Monster
Rockwell - Vent
Elite - Run Away
Levela & Kasra - Acid People
Tyke - Mercury
Serum & Benny V - Lets Go
AKAS & Limited - Let The Bass Kick
DJ Hybrid - Let Me Tell You Something
S.P.Y. - After The Rain
Myth & Madcap - No 1 Else
The Sauce - 100
Break - Tubes
Brockie & Det - BBC - Here We Go
Upgrade - Thunder
Paul T & Edward Oberon - Bowes
DJ Hazard - Far Fetched
Dillinja - Hard Noize (Break Remix)
Controlled Opposition - Larry
Toto - Africa (Turno Bootleg)
Disaszt - Tigerlilly
Smooth - Strictly Vibes
AKAS - The Weasel
DJ Ollie - Clear To Launch
Thanks for the mix it's wicked! Go back to growing up and what kind of music you were into?
All sorts, soon as the rave era hit though that’s when I was hooked. My music collection is diverse though, everything from Soul II Soul, Public Enemy, Bjork, Portishead, Massive Attack, Joy Division, Jamiriqui, Prince, Duran Duran, plus everything from N-Joi to Majistrate.
Which first drum and bass tracks inspired you and why?
The rave scene was just kicking in as I was leaving school, it wasn’t called drum & bass back then, or even jungle… Rave was everything! That’s when my brother & I started buying records. Tracks like Anastasia by T99, James Brown Is Dead by L.A Style, Go by Moby, Sound OF Eden by Shades of Rhythm, Bombscare by 2 Bad Mice, Trip To The Moon by Acen & anything by The Prodigy.
Tell us about your productions.
My first experiences were with my mate Nicol. He used to have an Akai S950 sampler & I’d go down to his house to try and get ideas down. My first release came out in 2001, Easy a collaboration with DJ FX, we made that track in his bedroom at his parents house using his sampler, Virus synth & a stack of samples from old bits of vinyl I had. I’ll be honest I’ve always preferred DJing to producing, it’s only recently that I’ve really begun to enjoy the process… Maybe because I am finally able to use Ableton to get my tracks sounding like they do in my head?
Great great work big up. Tell us about your radio career. Timeline wise and special moments.
I’ve done a lot of radio over the years!!
I first got a taste of pirate radio on Pressure FM back around 1996, a few people from my area used to play on there, Nicol, Majistrate, Agent K, so managed to get my foot in the door there. From there I moved on to Cyndicut FM, mainly cos it was closer to where I lived & was the station I grew up listening to. I did stints on a few online stations, WorldwideDNB, Futuredrumz, then the opportunity came to do a weekly show on Ministry Of Sound in around 2008. I was there until they had a big reshuffle, which spurred me to start doing the Innovation Podcast. That’s fizzled out due to technical issues, so I started on Rough Tempo where I stayed for 5 happy years.
I’m now doing a monthly show on PyroRadio, it’s good to be doing one of the few D&B shows they have on there, alongside other quality DJ’s such as Bryan G, Pola & Bryson, Chef, Ray Keith etc.
As far as special moments go, probably doing the Innovation Podcast live at The Bulldog in Amsterdam… Great to see something I usually recorded in my home studio transfer so well to a live audience. Very satisfying.
Which clubs did you play out in first and tell us about your first memorable moments?
My first experiences playing in clubs were locally round Kent. Red Lion in Northfleet, some tiny club in Rochester that I swear only had a capacity for about 30 people. Once I started working in the local record shop the bookings started flooding in, I was on the frontline meeting all the promoters that came in to drop off tickets, plus knew all the ravers coming to buy the tickets. Before I knew it I was playing at Pure Science, One Nation, Best Of British & Innovation.
Big up the Kent crew! What has been your favourite gig so far?
Oh that’s a tough one… There’s been so many! I always love playing at Innovation In The Sun, that’s a totally different vibe.
With the COVD-19 pandemic, how is this affecting you at the moment?
Except for having no work, I’m actually enjoying lockdown. I’m used to my own company, live in the middle of nowhere & am lucky to have a big garden so don’t feel trapped! I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, aiming to do at least 1 job each day just so I don’t fall into a rut of slobbing about watching shit TV. There’s always something I need to do in the garden so it’s keeping me occupied. Listening through a lot of podcasts as I do my chores!
Joe Wicks work out too?
I did that for a couple of weeks. But he started to irritate me… He’s too happy at that time in the morning J
Hahah! How did you link up with Innovation and tell us about your career promoting over the last 20 years.
I kind of fell into the job. I worked in Mickey Finn’s record shop during the time that he & Lloyd bought Innovation. I started out doing things like giving out flyers for them, then when the weekenders at Camber Sands kicked off I started to get more involved. I’ve had a lot of ups & downs over that time, watching Innovation In The Sun grow from an idea into what it is today has been so satisfying. So many great memories made at that event each year, but it can also be very stressful. There’s a lot that goes into it, so even with the best planning things can still go wrong. I’ve lost many hours of sleep trying to fix problems that occur that you couldn’t have imagined.
Promoting is bare stress! I turn into a monster haha! Big ups for keeping a level head. So tell us about your favourite dnb piece of music and what it means to you?
Again there’s so many to choose from! The great thing about this music is that it encompasses so many styles of music, reggae, jazz, soul, techno, house, hip hop, there’s a track to suit any mood.
Jenna G – In Love seems to have stood the test of time as a classic, reminds me of special times in my life & always gets a reaction when I play it on the radio or in a club.
Top 5 in your bag right now?
AKAS – Here We Go
Smooth – Strictly Vibes
Break – Tubes
The Sauce – 100
Disaszt - Tigerlilly
Warning in Cambridge has been a great hub for you too right?
Yeah, the Warning guys are like family, and I always feel really welcome when I’m up in Cambridge. It’s one of the few raves I’ll go to for fun these days. Whenever I’m booked to play there then I’m there for the night. Drinks get drunk, jokes get had & I get to irritate Barrington for a few hours.
Big Up Barrington each and every. So you cut down on the use of social media recently, what are the reasons for that and why do you think it's helped you?
My phone started giving me reports of how long I’d been on certain apps and the time I was spending on social media was shocking. I decided I’d rather use that time being more productive. Social media started out as a great way to catch up with friends, these days it seems to be more about memes, or people trying to make their lives look more exciting by only posting the best bits.
I still post on social media (mainly Instagram) but I don’t really browse.
Where has been your favourite European city to play and why?
Amsterdam… Cos its f&**%% Amsterdam!! -
I love the city, can’t wait to get back there once lockdown is over!!
If you could spend £10,000 on anything what would it be and why?
DJing / Promoting can be a bit of a never ending job, always planning the next gig, it’s hard to find time to take a break. So I’d spend it on a long relaxing holiday with no phone, laptop or wifi.
If you were stuck on a desert island, and could only take 1 track with you, what would it be and why?
Only 1? That’s tough!!
Maybe Roll The Dice by Shy FX? That track has a big that makes me smile. Great bass line, I can sing along to it… It gives me the feels.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to get outdoors in the fresh air. Walking, kayaking, and cinema all fill my free time. Basically the polar opposite of my music life I like to be outside where it's quiet instead of inside a club where it's hot & noisey… Life is all about balance, ying & yang.
Love that, Ying Yang mindset. What's the plans and goals for the next 10 years?
Who knows? I hadn’t planned the last 20 years, but I’ve ended up doing things I never expected… I’m sure the next 10 will be just as exciting!
What do you think of the www.jungledrumandbass.co.uk website?
I like that you cover ALL sub genres of drum and bass. I like & play them all. This scene sometimes seems a bit too segregated. As a D&B fan I like to hear it all, and I like to play it all in my sets.
If you could collab with one person, who would it be and why?
S.P.Y. he makes music that I like, and from listening to what he makes I feel he has the same influences… Plus he’s a cool guy
Tell us something about you, we wouldn't know.
I’m fluent in 5 languages & won the All Valley Martial Art tournament twice.
Tomrorow, what are your plans?
I will be painting my new studio / office space. It’s currently an awful pinkish colour, that needs to go!!
Lastly, what have you leant in the last 10 years that could help people coming into the dnb scene, and what advice would you give?
If you’re a DJ, learn to read the crowd. Don’t limit yourself to playing pre-planned sets, its far more exciting to live in the moment & play what feels right… Also put some money aside to pay your tax bill at the end of the year!!
Any shouts and thanks?
Big love to everyone that tunes in to my radio shows or comes to hear me in clubs.
Listen out for new music landing very soon. Check https://djollie.com for everything I’m up to.
Many thanks for your time, all the best for 2020 and beyond.
Interview by Missrepresent April 2020