Oliver Huntemann Interview (Dec 2006)
May 8, 2007, 3:27 am
Filed under: Interview

“Samantha Fox is one of my youth dreams. I was fifteen or sixteen when she became a pop star. I found her on Myspace and thought I have to add Samantha Fox. She’s a part of my history.”

Ever since he started releasing prototype techno and trance 15 years ago and more recently electro and even minimal, German producer Oliver Huntemann has been recognized as a top class tastemaker though he’s the first to admit his Samantha Fox fixation finishes Myspace.

“I wouldn’t play her records in my DJ sets, no,” he stresses, “but that’s because they’re pop productions- it’s not possible to play Samantha Fox.”

What he does play instead, is a wide variety of styles reflecting the classic DJ journey style approach to set-building honed from his earliest days of producing original (quality) trance as one half of Humate.

“Maybe I start with minimal and then go to electro, then a bit harder to techno, then fall down to some melodic stuff, so each night is different,” says Oliver.

“There’s very good tracks in each style and bad ones too and I try to pick the good tracks.”

He also makes an effort to limit his late night recreational habits so he can handle studio and label work in the week, though admits he still occasionally goes too far.

“Sometimes I get totally drunk, but I’m not that good as a DJ when I’m drunk or when I’m smoking some weed, I can’t hear that well, so I can’tt mix and might play the wrong record,” he chuckles, “ It could be funny but it’s not very funny.”

“Avoiding developing bad habits is a personal thing for each DJ though if you use too much, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, it’s not good for you,” he continues.

“Maybe for a peak of a special night you can do what you want, but if you are addicted to anything it’s so bad and that’s what you always need to think about, he advises.

Interview & Introduction by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Whether as H Man or your own name and with stacks of remixes coming out, you seem to be everywhere at the moment such as Depeche Mode’s Everything Counts, do you feel you are on a particular creative roll?

Oliver Huntemann : Always. At the moment I play a lot as a DJ, but I’m normally in the studio two or three times a week working on several projects. At the moment there’s a good mood in the air, though I don’t know if I’m feeling more inspired but I’m certainly doing a lot of tracks with a good feeling.

Skrufff : Are you going in the studio at nine o clock in the morning, almost like a regular job?

Oliver Huntemann : Normally I go between ten and eleven in the studio until five or six in the evening. Years before I tried working through the night but more often than not, when I listened to the result it would sound really bad. I’ve had better experiences with regular studio times. Plus, I’m no longer 20 years old and most weekends I’m still DJing in clubs; I need some constants in my life.

Skrufff : How do you view the new generation of producers and DJs?

Oliver Huntemann : There are some guys who are inspired with our sound and I hear it when I get some demos, when they’ve sampled a loop off one of my tracks or used a similar sound, but that’s OK. The next step is to do their own thing and there’s some outstanding young producers like John Dahlback out there doing their own thing.

Skrufff : How did you end up remixing Depeche Mode’s Everything Counts?

Oliver Huntemann : I met Seth, the label boss from Mute, at the Love Parade this year and he told me ‘I’ve heard a lot of your stuff, could you send me some – we are searching for some remixers for Depeche Mode’. I sent him my album and some new tracks, then two days later he asked me to choose one of the biggest songs of Depeche Mode to remix. I was like ‘Oh my God!’ When I was young I went to a Depeche Mode concert and it was so great for me so I needed five days to choose which one because there are so many good tracks. In the end I said ‘OK, let’s do Everything Counts and he said ‘yes, do it’. I love the vocals and the industrial sound in this track. I started it with the vocal.

Skrufff : Did you set out planning to make it a dancefloor killer?

Oliver Huntemann : Yes, I did it almost functionally and this version is very straight. We actually did another less straightforward remix but it will never come out because we gave it up too late. I think the mix you know is a prime time track. We also have a full vocal version, but I think it will be only released as a dub version.

Skrufff : You’ve stayed based in Hamburg, what’s stopped you from relocating to Berlin?

Oliver Huntemann : Because Hamburg is only one and a half hours by train from Berlin and my girlfriend lives here. Plus we have a big music scene in Hamburg, so it’s not necessary for me to go to Berlin. Maybe Berlin is a bit too over-hyped as well. There’s a lot there sure, but there’s also a lot of producers and musicians and maybe you go under if you’re there. I’m happy in Hamburg.

Skrufff : I was surprised to read you were in the navy for six years, in your early twenties. Were you originally planning it as a serious career?

Oliver Huntemann : I wanted to do it because of the expectations of my parents and everybody else, I wanted to get a regular education and that was possible in the navy. I didn’t think about it very much when I signed up. I never thought that I’d become a professional producer or DJ. I started DJing at school, but it was always a hobby. Then I had to do something for my normal education. At the navy I became a journalist and got some job experience.

Skrufff : Did you make a decision of “I’m going to live my life making music”? Or did it just happen like this?

Oliver Huntemann : It just happened. Sometimes it’s like a hand is doing that for me and that happened. I started with breakdancing, then I became a DJ then I met Garret and we started Humate. That was the time when techno music just started and everything just happened. It was not my plan.

Skrufff : Do you ever think about slowing down these days?

Oliver Huntemann : Oliver Huntemann: “I’m thirty eight now and sometimes I think about it, but at the moment my girlfriend travels a lot with me and we do things together and it’s good. But to have a family, you need to be more down to earth. I have a son but he’s not in my family I see him maybe once in two months, that’s OK but it’s not enough. We make some holidays together that’s fine, but at least I’m the big papa who is a DJ and not a normal guy. You never what happens in the future. Sometimes I think it could be good to do less gigs and stay at home quietly on a Sunday with the family, so I don’t think I’ll be DJing at sixty years old.

Skrufff : Is the UK a place that is very important to you?

Oliver Humtemann : I think the UK is always very important because it’s so international and there’s so many good clubs and an outstanding music scene. A few years ago it was so hard to come over to England as a German DJ, there was only Timo Mass and Paul Van Dyk doing it whereas at the moment I get so many requests from very good clubs in England and the magazines write about German artists. It’s so funny at the moment to se this turnaround.I recently played at Turnmills, I’ve played twice at Fabric. I like it a lot and I always watch the music scene in England, the indie rock scene or the electronic scene is also always very interesting. There was a time when all the Germans were looking to the English scene and the world was playing The Prodigy and all these big electronic groups, it was cool and we don’t have that in Germany.

End of the interview

Oliver Humtemann Official Site


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