LA-based production and DJ duo Oliver have created a niche of retro-sounding electronic music that draws on influences from the funk and disco era, with strong house undertones, with comparisons to Daft Punk coming from some in the press and by fans. Oliver “Oligee” Goldstein and Vaughn “U-Tern” Oliver (hence the name Oliver) have been putting out music as this project for almost seven years now in the form of various singles, remixes and EPs. Now the duo are ready to announce that they will release their debut artist album titled Full Circle on August 25th via Interscope Records. We got them on the phone to chat about the album, their new collaboration with De La Soul “Heart Attack,” upcoming work with Chromeo and much more.
The duo broke out in 2013 with their Mechanical EP, which included tracks like “MYB” and “The Night is On My Mind,” and helped cement what the Oliver sound was about. Discussing with us, they emphasize that the album was a chance to continue building on that sound, but also allowed them to explore more avenues with songs and instrumentals.
The album is not yet complete, so they are up against the clock working to finish it, but when it is done, fans will need to check it out. A tour is not planned at the moment, but when the album has been completed, they will sit down to map out a more interesting national live tour to change from their DJ sets.
Read on for the full interview and listen to the funky new single “Heart Attack” with De La Soul.
MM: Why are you doing an album now?
Vaughn: We wanted to do one for a long time. It just seemed like a bucket list thing for us. It just seemed like a fun thing to do, to be able to try a bunch of different stuff. Rather than just putting out one or two songs, we were able to do a lot of things that we would only be able to do on an album format.
Oligee: It is a chance to give more of a diverse profile of what we like to do. Although in this day and age, it is not really the format that people consume. It is not as important as it used to be – I still think it is important because it has a sense of nostalgia. We wanted to have a body of work that crossed a lot of different emotional peaks and valleys and in an EP it is hard to do that.
MM: Is there a theme to the album?
Oligee: We wanted to do a good mix of instrumentals and songs. We tried every method possible to get the best songs that fit with our aesthetic and it was kind of a challenge. We tried a lot of different avenues to get what we needed. In the end it worked out because we wrote so many songs for the record and only a small handful made it. So it gave us a chance to really distill and refine it down to the best of the best. We had some really cool songs, but they ended up not really feeling like us. At the end of the day especially with the luxury of the amount of time we had to make the record was great because really got to narrow it down to what we are about.
MM: How many songs didn’t make the album?
Oligee: There’s like 12 songs on the record. Between demos, instrumental stuff and the rest, we probably wrote three albums, at least.
MM: What are you going to do with all of that music?
Oligee: Some of it we will keep around and revisit it later. Sometimes we will use it for other opportunities, outside production and stuff like that.
MM: You have written songs on albums for loads of other artists. How was that instructive for this album experience?
Oligee: It definitely helps because combined we have quite a lot of experience with working different artists and songwriters. It really helps having that experience making your own stuff, knowing how they work. Everyone writes differently.
MM: How were you able to get the collaborators on the album, notably De La Soul?
Oligee: De La Soul was done remotely. They were on tour in Europe at the time when they cut the record. So they were able to go into the studio and cut their individual parts and send them to us.
Vaughn: For the most part, most of the collaborations happened pretty organically. They were friends that we already worked with. In some cases like De La Soul, it was like “they would be cool on this record” and then we have our management reach to see if they are interested because we think it would be a good fit for that song. For the most part it is collaborating with friends and people we have worked with before.
MM: What type of touring are you going to do for this album?
Oligee: For the time being we are going to be doing regular DJ sets, but with a lot of new material. It will be most of our own music. Once the album is out, we will figure out a more interesting live scenario. Right now we are still busy finishing the record, so once that is done, we can focus on creating an interesting live show. As for tours, we just have shows lined for early fall, but after, there will probably be something national.
MM: Will there still be something with Night Doggs?
Oligee: Haha well obviously Dillon [Francis] has been real, real busy the last couple of years. We keep in touch, but we haven’t seen him much since that tour. That was a great tour for us, but you might see the return of the Night Doggs – we will see.
MM: What is something people might not know about you guys?
Oligee: A lot of people don’t know that Vaughn and I started out really immersed in the hip-hop culture. That really inspired us growing us and it still dictates a lot of our choices and decisions in our production, though it might now be obvious right away.
MM: Who are your top 5 rappers?
Vaughn: Q-Tip is up there
Oligee: love Q-Tip, I love Ghostface, I love Rakim,
Vaughn: I was really into KRS-One back in the day
Oligee: Nas of course. Illmatic -- greatest hip-hop album of all time. I am starting to lean into B.I.G. He is up there with the best ever.
Vaughn: I want to say Wu-Tang Clan, but that isn’t really fair. I would put GZA up there.
Oligee: Wu-Tang could take up three spots. Prodigy, rest in peace too. That Infamous album is a top 3 album for me.
MM: What else do you have coming up?
Oligee: A little bit of video game stuff. We have been talking to some companies about collaborating and scoring video games. We both love that level of creativity, it is super fun and it is totally different from making records.
Oligee: Vaughn is also a really dope mixer.
Vaughn: We are always doing mixing, production and side-production for people. Every week you will work on one or two things and whether or not it comes out – it can take a year to actually find out.
Oligee: I do know that we are going to go in and help out on Chromeo’s new album for a little bit. On the last record we came in and helped out with a bunch of stuff for them and I think we will do the same this time around.