Truancy Volume 205: Olive T

For our 205th Truancy Volume we welcome a long-time NYC-based DJ and producer, who’s become somewhat of a go-to for playing parties in and around the city. With consistently great mixes on her SoundCloud dating back eight years, Olive T has ticked off most if not all New York City venues in that period, lining up gigs at notable places such as Le Bain, Output Roof, House of Yes, Good Room, Baby’s All Right, Union Hall, Trans Pecos, Bossa Nova Civic Club and many more. We caught up Olive T to discuss getting her first pair of turntables at 17, late-night MTV cartoon soundtracks, future productions and her time playing at Bossa Nova Civic Club over the years. Exploring different genres, tempos and sounds, her Truancy Volume covers all bases in a fast-paced affair, featuring music from the likes of Fatherhood, Patrice Scott, Lapien, and jungle from Ant Miles and David Thomas’ Higher Sense alias.

Let’s start with asking how you got into electronic music and DJing, from what I’ve read you bought your first set of turntables at 17. What led up to that moment? “I grew up hearing house around and at house parties my mom would take me to but in the broader sense of electronic music my interest started when I heard anime, video game, and MTV late-night cartoon soundtracks. I had a lot of musical interest form at the same time so I bought turntables because I was into underground hip hop culture and wanted to learn how to be a turntablist. I didn’t even know I could by house music on record format until I was sort of old enough to go to clubs!”

Was hoping you could tell us a little bit about your own productions? When did the producing start? You ended up being on Jubilee’s Magic City 3 compilation last year? How did that come about? “I started learning production in my late teens using Fruity Loops, and from then on I’ve produced little projects here and there but for the past three or four years I’ve taken making and learning music more seriously. Jubilee is a good friend of mine but our music careers don’t intersect normally, however, we do enjoy the same music. I had a song that I was working on which I thought she could give me feedback on or like and I proposed it for the comp (which is not the usual way she compiles the compilation). After a few versions she liked the final one and threw it on there.”

Can you tell us about anything you’ve been working on? It sounds like you’re getting more confident with your productions. “Last year I buckled down and studied song arrangement, some music theory and bought a few pieces of outboard gear that allowed me to develop a workflow. I have a considerable amount of finished tracks and song ideas started but I tend to make non-dance floor music. It’s been tricky trying to figure out if that’s what I want to put out and how I would release the music.”

What can you tell us about you and Bossa Nova Civic Club? It seems like it’s one of the places you’ve played the most at over the years? “I’ve played at Bossa Nova Civic Club since it opened and have seen the space really propel a music scene in Brooklyn post the ‘bloghouse’ era. A lot of the people who work there are electronic artists and tend to really care about what type of sounds are played in the space and the general vibe of the place. I like to think of it as a clubhouse or “techno Cheers”.”

Being based in NYC do you feel tied to the city sonically or otherwise? How does that context influence you? “Well I’ve lived in NY all of my life, in and out of the city and suburbs throughout the course – so I’m definitely influenced by the environment. In a geographically small city filled with millions of people I’ve come across many cultures and sounds, so subconsciously I may play or make music that borrows from everything I take in. When I DJ, I definitely always include rapping or tracks influenced by hip hop breaks without even thinking about it, it’s an engrained homage.”

Switching from the perspective of a someone playing music to others to one of an audience member, have you recently seen any performances (whether by artists or DJs, new or established) who left a deep impression on you? “I saw a full Patrice Scott set that blew me away during the summertime, caught Traxx playing a small club and he always inspires me to take DJ sets into different territories of sound, heard Lauren Flax play a set of mostly her own productions on the new Nowadays system which made me reevaluate my own. Lastly lounged around and experienced The Duchess play for FM Elle and it was a perfect Sunday, really clean mixing all records house and techno set.”

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for us? Any particular direction of theme you’ve gone for? Any particular stand out tracks for you that you want to shout out? “I approached the mix I recorded in the way I used to construct mixes a few years ago, meaning I wanted to explore different genres, tempos and sounds in a fast-paced way. I started the mix with familiar house and techno sounds, then went into more beat-driven energetic tracks and explored similar breakbeats/jungle I heard when I first started partying, and took the mix back to house and down into a heavier territory toward the end. Kind of covering all of my bases. Shoutout to the Fatherhood track called “Mural” around the 49m mark, it’s one of my favourite tracks right now and I was glad it fit in the mix.”

Lastly, when was the last time you danced and what was the last thing to put a big smile on your face? “I last had a chance to dance at an underground venue called Holo I think and iI’m not sure who was DJing but they played DAF – Brothers in the middle of a techno electro set – it was perfect timing and I was very happy to hear it while out and about.”

Olive T: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Website


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