Techno Tuesday: Jeremy Olander shares the story of his dark alter ego, Dhillon
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Since launching his brand new imprint Vivrant, Jeremy Olander has gained a clear sense of autonomy. His independence has resulted in three standout EPs in almost as many months. Beginning in late November with the label’s inaugural offering, Taiga, Olander followed up with back-to-back releases from his techno alter ego, Dhillon.
While Olander has proven his prowess in the progressive house genre time and time again, he’s likewise showcased his mastery over techno, as evidenced by his various Drumcode releases like “Lost” and “Layerleaf” over the years.
In celebration of the most recent revival of his coveted alias, as well as the launch of his new label, we’ve asked Jeremy to describe the genesis of his Dhillon project. Listen to his new EPs, Intro and The Heist, below.
“He was birthed around 2009-2010. At that point, I had been making music for a few years and was experimenting a lot to find a style that could best tell my story. That’s what really drew me to music in the first place, that it gave me a new way of expressing myself. I’ve never been good at wrapping what I feel in words, so when I got into production it really clicked. Music is therapeutic and gives me a chance to vent.
When I first fell in love with electronic music, the melodies were what drew me in and the bass line and grooves made me stick around. In my early formative years I was inspired by Eric Prydz a lot, who I think carved out a style of his own with his amazing melodies, as well as the Swedish underground scene. I was in awe of that seminal movement that guys like Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch, Aril Brikha and Joel Mull had created. It was fascinating that they were so revered all over the world yet could walk the streets without anyone ever recognising them. They were anonymous superstars. The style they pioneered ended up becoming what people today consider to be the Swedish Techno sound, and it had a big impact on me and contributed a lot to the decision to spawn a second name to complement what did under my own name.
Also, from the perspective of being able to tell stories I wanted, only relying on making music under my own name felt limiting. Jeremy Olander was built on my personal take on the mid-2000s progressive and electro sound that was big then. I wanted more colours to my pallet to be able to convey other emotions and a different energy than that style allows me to. There are so many nuances that make up who we are as people, and I couldn’t justify fitting all of those under the umbrella of Jeremy Olander. It would have become too confusing. Instead I divided it up into two separate entities; Jeremy Olander is atmospheric, melancholic and melodic, whereas he is forceful, aggressive and beat-oriented. The two are harmonious dichotomies in a sense. Polar opposites that co-exist in harmony with each other.
Both partly represent me as far as musical identity, but also act as a celebration of my heritage. My mom is from India and my dad is Swedish. I was born in the US in Fairfax, VA and relocated to Sweden pretty much as soon as I was allowed on a plane. Growing up in Stockholm was great and I was fortunate to have two loving parents and great friends. Reminiscing of that time when I was younger though, I wasn’t as proud of my roots then as I am today. Later in life when I matured, that’s when it really came to me that having a different background from most of my friends is something enriching. I started to cherish it in a different way. When I created a second musical alter ego, it was important to symbolically pay tribute to that and he, Dhillon, is a manifestation of that.
The sound is raw and more stripped down than that of Jeremy Olander. There’s more room for personal interpretation when it’s like that. A record that I’ve made can come to represent something totally different for someone else. I think that’s a big part of the attraction, that there are no obvious elements in the music that tell you what to feel in he same sense that, for instance, vocals do. It demands more of an effort from you as a listener either at the club or at home, but gives you a lot more back once you do put in the time.”