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WRITTEN BY DAN CARTERDan Carter is a British journalist and professional writer to the Dance music industry.
Given the omnipotent yet often clichéd reign of Sweden’s widespread clubbing legacy, Jeremy Olander is a tough talent to box. Be it the dark Techo backdrop of his Dhillon alias or the euphorically tinged Progressive House hallmarks that now resound across global club land, the original Pryda Friends protégé of Eric Prydz has transitioned from Stockholm sensation to welcomed White Isle resident with meticulous force. Dan Carter met the aspiring producer to trace the divergent journey from the days of stalking Prydz in Stockholm to joining him onstage at the iconic Alexandra Palace while exploring just what it takes to maintain a heartfelt approach amid hysterical times for Electronic music.
The enigmatic force behind Pryda and Pete Tong alike will have you believe that Olander is the next great Swedish club frontier. With a successive slew of tracks that drive the tough yet melodic realms of Progressive House to an all-time-high, his post as the second artist other than Henrik B to balance releases for both Pryda Friends and Drumcode is powerfully indicative of the new breed stamina that has held him in such high esteem.
Whatever the tone of his progression, Olander admits that the road to his current overhaul has not come without a few sharp bends. ‘Breaking through comes with a lot of pressure, but you learn to deal with it in time,’ explains Jeremy. When I was due to make the first Pryda Friends EP and knew Eric was the first person to be critiquing it I kind of hit a block and couldn’t get anything decent out for days. Pressure is good to some extent because it keeps you focused and motivates you, but it is easy to let it paralyses you at times.’
But a little pressure of bringing forth the big guns has only benefited Olander’s studio output. Be it such flagship Pryda Friends outings ‘Evade’ and ‘Fairfax’ or his latest revert to the Techno stylings that first took Stockholm by storm with ‘Layerleaf’ as Dhillon, his widespread talent has been seconded only by the sincere and heartfelt passion that embodies his every release. He explains: ‘When I produce, I really don’t think in terms of genres, it’s more in terms of emotions and what kind of sound or style is more fitting to convey the particular emotion that I feel when I make it. Be it dark, bass-driven techno or more progressive, melody-rich stuff, it has to be real.’
Such rare and wonderful assets are sure to have played a big part in Eric Prydz’s discovery of the aspiring Swedish talent. Becoming an industrious father to Olander amid his transition from ardent admirer (or as Jeremy calls it: Stalker) to club-savvy apprentice, the Swedish icons life lessons have added profound sense of maturity to his own heartfelt approach to eclectic Dance music. ‘Eric has always reinforced that there is no substitute for hard work if you want to make genuine progress in this industry,’ he explains. ‘He taught me that you should never compromise on your integrity as a producer and have the courage to stick to the sound that you believe is right and that you can stand behind for the long haul instead of focusing on what’s hot right now.’
Cut from the wise mindset of one of Sweden’s most heartfelt contributors, Prydz’s ethical playbook is one that the industry at large could benefit from dipping into. Having witnessed the hysteria of the global explosion and its alleged stateside stimulus first hand, Jeremy a positive protagonist to its future though suggests that in the age of ‘snatch-and-run’ success, professional accountability remains of prime concern. He explains: ‘Generally, I think it’s a good thing, because when the tide his high everyone’s ship can rise, which is fine as long as the expansion of it is done the right way and people stay true to the values and beliefs of dance music that made Europe what it is in the first place.’
‘The responsibility is ultimately with artists, managers, promoters and other industry professionals coming over from Europe and making their mark over there. I think it’s in everyone’s interest not to saturate this industry too much for the sake of making a quick buck and jeopardizing its long-term success,’ he adds.
But for the most part, Olander has found far more hypnotic value upon the original trendsetting island of Ibiza. Joining Prydz every Tuesday at the long serving Amnesia Nightclub, the recently inaugurated resident already joins a long line of artists transfixed with the island and its Balearic charm. ‘It is just an absolutely magical place and there’s nothing like it on the face of the earth,’ explains Olander. ‘When I think of Ibiza I think of a dance music safe haven where people from across the world that are passionate about music come together to forget about everything else that might go on in their lives for a week or two of uninhibited fun. It’s one of the most inspirational places there is.’
While the forecast for global Dance music remains a seemingly predictable affair, Jeremy’s extraordinary ascent is sure to breath hope into the future of Sweden’s heartfelt club contenders. With the anticipation of his Prydz premiered remix for Golden Girls ‘Kinetic’ mounting alongside his glowing festival presence throughout 2012, those fearing a future where global notoriety must ultimately spell egotistical downfalls need to wince yet, for Olander shows no sign of giving in to forces beyond the creative skyline. ‘I am so grateful for people who have supported and bought my music. The fact that people would allow me to create the music that I love is a blessing that everyone dreams of – with the right people on my side I could never give up doing what I do.’
In the same dexterous yet hypnotic mannerisms of his vast studio output, the all-encompassing talent of Jeremy Olander needs not a box to capture itself in, but the creative breathing space to forge scintillating marks in an industrious canvas we are yet to see the full extent of.