Q+A: 5 minutes with Jeremy Olander

Producer, DJ, and label head Jeremy Olander has a deep understanding of Swedish electronica, and why the sound that comes from these parts has such deft emotional resonance. He’s shaped his own in accordance to this tradition, establishing himself as a visionary of sorts in melodic house and progressive techno. His ability to weave an ever-so-slight twinge of pain between the euphoria of his atmospheric and driving music has made him one of the most sought after Nordic acts today. He’s remixed the likes of Jayda G and Tove-Lo, while providing lauded mixes for the BBC and playing gigs as part of the coveted Cercle series. Following the release of his latest single Murphy, we sat down with Olander to speak about heritage, inspiration, and his thriving label, Vivrant.


Hi Jeremy. Welcome to The Playground! Set the tone for us. Where did your journey with music start?

My pleasure! Before I got into the electronic scene I was really just a casual music fan and mostly listened to hip-hop. When I was 15 or 16 I was introduced to Reason by a friend of mine, and that was the first time I realised you could make music on a computer. Around that time, that same friend showed me Joachim Garraud’s podcast and introduced me to the local club scene in Stockholm, and those two things really opened my eyes for the breadth and power of electronic music.  


You’re regarded as a leader and tastemaker in the fields of melodic and progressive house. Where would you describe the roots of your sound?

Starting out, I had one main musical inspiration, and that was Eric Prydz. The stuff he made under Pryda from 2005-2010 was, and still is, on another level. 


You have a really diverse background. Born in America, raised in Sweden, and part South Asian. Does this diversity inform your music?

I’m very proud of my Indian heritage from my mom’s side but I mostly identify as a Swede. We relocated from the US to Sweden pretty much as soon as I could fly after I was born. As far as influences on my music, I have an alias that I use for more experimental stuff that doesn’t fit under Jeremy Olander or Dhillon, and I’ve definitely incorporated some Indian vibes in some of that stuff. I’d love to explore those kinds of sounds more though.


Sweden has this history of producing emotionally charged dance music. Where does this come from and how does it inspire your own work?

It’s cold for most of the year, so people just stay in. There’s also the longing for the summer that gets you into a certain vibe, as well. It’s melancholic. There are a lot of factors; I can’t really speak for other countries like England or the Netherlands that also have a lot of electronic producers, but I’m sure it’s the same in many ways. There’s a lot of rain in England, so that probably helped people there to get emotional. They party hard. It’s almost borderline depressing. But as long as you have strong emotions, whether it be sad or happy, you can write emotional music.


Your new single ‘Murphy’ is a good example. It has that melancholic yet euphoric feeling. What inspired the single?

When I made it I had been out of the studio for a while and had just gotten back into the swing of things with touring.  I always tend to make whatever I feel is missing in my sets, and it became clear after the first few shows what kind of track I was missing. 

After I had a playable draft of it done and played it for the first time I really felt it connected with people. It’s always difficult to decide if I want to keep tracks exclusively for my sets or put them out, but with ‘Murphy’ it was an easy decision. It’s the perfect summer track for me.


Download and stream Murphy here 


What comes first when you’re creating music: the sound, or the concept?

I’d say it’s more so the concept. When I’m in the studio I try to think in terms of what I’m missing in my sets. It could be a peak time track, something that can bridge the first, deeper hour with the second that tends to be bigger. Stuff like that. 


How are things going at Vivrant? What can we look forward to from the label?

It’s going great! We’ve released debut projects from MOLØ and OLING, which are two up-and-coming acts we’re very excited about. They both have their own unique styles but fall very nicely into the pocket of the music we want to represent.

We had our biggest showcase to date in December of last year at a 2200 capacity venue called Fållan in Stockholm. It was more than twice the size of any room we’ve done in the past, and coming out of the pandemic there were obviously so many events for people to choose from, and I was a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to it before we sold out.

This year we’re doing our first UK showcase at Village Underground as well as shows in Cairo, Beirut and Stockholm. The community around the label is so nice. Music-wise, we’re doing the second release of our VA series Commune, a couple remix packs, new projects from MOLØ and OLING and some surprises I’ll save for later.


When scouting for new artists, what is it that you look for or resonate with most?

If it’s atmospheric and has a sense of melancholy to it, it’s a great start. It doesn’t have to be “melodic house and techno”. It can be more towards the straight house-tip too, like Viggo Dyst’s “This Light Only” for example. We’re very selective with artists we put together releases with and make a conscious effort not to sign a bunch of music and not put any effort into the projects. We’re trying to build a cohesive family of artists that want to tour together, make music together and support each other. 


What’s on your current playlist?

Michael Jackson, Nina Simone and Tame Impala.


Who should we be listening to right now?



Where and when can we see you live?

I’m in Kotor this weekend and after that I’m going on a Vivrant tour in India with MOLØ. 


Famous last words?

Let’s boogie.


Listen to Murphy below.

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