DJ OLIVIA BEE (aka OLIVIA BASENER; Tremulant)
Current top 5 tracks:
Marcelo Cura/Luca Cantalejo, "That Smile" (D-Floor)
"Marcelo Cura is an artist I discovered more recently. Originally a hiphop DJ and MC, he was inspired by '90s house percussion and moved on to producing music, specifically minimal types. His knowledge of sound design is definitely apparent to me—every sound is perfectly designed and defined, as they are in most good minimal tracks. I like this track in particular for the sad, but sexy vocals and amazing pads and resonance. It makes me feel like I'm in a funky afterlife!"
Stimming, "Snowflake" (Green)
"I have a lot of respect for this artist since before I started DJing, and this track never gets old. He's one of those artists that was classically trained at a young age, playing several different instruments, and started electronic music production fairly young, too. Basically, I'd never be able to compose a track like he does, as each one is like an orchestra of intentionally designed bursts of crisp sounds that were almost destined to be together, and I just don't have enough classical training to fully understand that process. He's also one of those artist whose music I have a hard time labeling with a genre. If I could choose, the genre would simply be 'Stimming.'"
Alex Barck (feat. Jonatan Bäckelie), "We Get High (Kalabrese Remix)" (Sonar Kollektiv)
"I love the intense strings in this song, layered on bass synths, continuous electric guitar samples, shakers, and traditional sounding percussion. Kalabrese has this sort of 'organic funk' feel to his music, and does a beautiful job of combining natural and synthetic sounds in his work. It's immensely satisfying to my ears."
Clarian, "Inuit" (Turbo Recordings)
"I'm definitely a fan of entrancing, hypnotic techno. This track has those repetitive hooks that keep you caught in their cycle, but surrounded enough of a soundscape to keep it interesting, as well. And I of course love the tribal feel this track carries—in some ways it reminds me of Björk's 'Earth Intruders.' Not all of Clarian's music is hypnotic techno, though; he also makes synth-pop/indie-disco tracks that sound straight outta the '80s, except with modern mastering. I always like when an artist can move across genres in their production and personally, I couldn't have it any other way."
Kerala Dust, "Maria (Acid Pauli & Nico Stojan Remix)" (Ouïe)
"First off, Acid Pauli is and will always be one of my favorite DJ/producers. He's been a huge inspiration to me throughout my passion as a DJ, and I will remain restless until I finally see him play live. Ouïe is Acid Pauli and Nico Stojan's new-ish record label, which consists of highly unique and psychedelic releases—I probably own all of them by now. Kerala Dust is an amazing live trio out of London who harness a sort of Nick Cave-esque sound in their music. Their music certainly doesn't need to be remixed, but this track is maybe a little more club-friendly than some of their others. We had them play live at one of our Tremulant shows in 2017 and we're already wanting them back again!"
Crew/label affiliation: "Tremulant."
Styles played: "Generally speaking, I play variations of house and techno, mostly deep and minimal styles with 4/4 beats. Although not always planned, my sets often turn toward the highly ethereal and psychedelic. I tend to gravitate toward tracks that are cross-bred with opposing genres (such as blues, rock, and jazz) or tracks that weave traditional instruments/sounds (including vocals) in with the synthetic instruments/sounds that draw me to house and techno.
"I find it difficult using genres to accurately describe my music. There are so many sub-genres in which people have slightly different understandings of, and the list of sub-genres is constantly expanding. I tend to categorize my music based off the feelings of the tracks, rather than their genres. For example, many of my music folders are sorted by terms like 'spacey' or 'spooky/heavy bass' or 'emo/melodic.' To me it makes sense, but my organization would probably be a nightmare to some other DJs."
Events organized: "Along with my music collaborator and long-time friend Joe Bellingham, we co-manage Tremulant, which encompasses our monthly, our crew, as well as the namesake of our space 'vessel':
"'Step aboard our vessel and prepare to launch… but don't worry, each trip features new mix of audio and visual captains to lead the way. Passengers must come prepared for the inter-dimensional depths of house and techno. Leave your earthling troubles behind, and let us transcend to a better place in space, because... @tremulantcanhelp.'
"Joe and I developed the comedic sci-fi themes of Tremulant together, taking inspiration from real-world 'space cults.' Much of the material in our promo videos is inspired directly from legitimate cultist propaganda and testimonies. We get a kick out it, even if some people don't understand that it's a joke—then it's even more entertaining!"
DJing philosophy: "Music really was my best friend growing up. When not incessantly checking out CDs from the library, KEXP was constantly blaring out of the purple boom box in my bedroom. When I finally got my own laptop, I began to obsessively collect and explore music all across the internet. My music obsession has gotten me through a lot, and some of the live music and DJs I’ve seen have moved me even more so. I wanted to be one of those people, and I still aspire to be.
"I view myself as a cross between an artist and someone who displays art. Even though I love to create (in a variety of mediums), I generally feel most satisfied while experiencing other people's work. A lot of DJs take pride in their skill and experience (which I generally don't question), but I think a big aspect of the art is just searching, discovering, and presenting those discoveries in the best way possible. I also highly value being able to introduce something new to my audience and strive to play music that I hope other people haven't heard before, or tracks that are obscure enough to make someone ecstatic when they thought no one else knew about it. When I DJ, part of me wants to play what I’m feeling in the moment, but just as equally I want to play what the audience is feeling. In the past I struggled with stage fright, so connecting with my audience wasn't always easy. But I quickly learned the importance of checking in on my audience throughout my sets.
"When people are truly 'vibing' to the music I choose to play, their satisfaction brings me back to all of the times when I’ve felt that, too. It's completely gratifying to me that I can make people feel that way through the music I share. It's a win-win situation. If people don't like what I play, it's win-lose. I'm never on the losing end though because at the very least, I love hearing my favorite tracks played on a worthy sound system.
"Many of the DJs I respect the most excel specifically in their musical versatility, and as someone who has love for a broad spectrum of music, I am always striving to be more versatile. I’m currently focusing more on closing the gaps between the various types of music I love. I know it's possible to mix punk and soul, but I'm still studying the patterns and flavors of the less 4/4-oriented genres and I'm just not there quite yet. I can easily say I have a lot to learn when it comes to DJing, but it's an ever-evolving practice which I think keeps the challenge fresh."
Format: "I initially began DJing on Traktor, midi mapping an Allen&Heath Xone 4D to be a controller. It was a total bitch of a process, but it's what I had available at the time and it taught me a lot. Then I moved on to CDJs, work-traded for some turntables and started collecting vinyl, but then realized I don’t have the time nor the dedication for vinyl at this point in my life, and that I should focus on mastering CDJs. I plan to work back to the basics and soon further understand the art of spinning vinyl, but for now I’ll let the professionals do it and sit back and enjoy! It’s only frustrating to me as a digital DJ, and one that take pride in buying all her music legally, that I can’t play the amazing vinyl-only tracks that sprinkle our scene."
Worst request: "She never actually got to make her request, but I still love this story: Mid-set, a woman tried to make small talk and segue into asking me if she could make a request. After I told her 'no,' she said: 'So, this is it? This is all this is?!' I told her 'yes,' and I'm pretty sure she left the party after that. It was a little offensive, but hilarious in retrospect. Better yet, our VJ later informed me that she had attempted to make a request to him first, and then only after he redirected her did she give me a try. I got a kick out of it, but still to this day I wonder what her very important request was…"
Upcoming events: "Due to upcoming travels, I don't have much lined up at the moment. I am a resident DJ at Tremulant which is every fourth Saturday at Kremwerk. This month we are featuring Luca Musto (Fienes Tier/Muzo), with local support by Joe Bellingham (Tremulant) and Wesley Holmes (Flammable). Other than that, you can catch me at Yoroshiku fairly regularly, on CRATE Radio from time to time, and making appearances at Re-bar, Monkey Loft, Kremwerk/Timbre Room, various DIY shows, and outdoor events."