The past four years have seen Oliver Dollar’s name gradually build to a recognizable staple in house music. The Berlin born and based producer has gained acknowledgment through a series of solid releases on labels such as Play It Down, Rekids and Front Room Recordings. Remix credits can be found amongst the most famed independents; including Greco Roman, Rekids and Exploited as well as majors: Polydor and Ministry of Sound.
2011 was a massive year for Oliver Dollar. His first #1 Beatport track “Doin’ Ya Thang” was released on Play It Down; Made To Play’s sister label. “Doin’ Ya Thang” remained at the #1 spot for an astounding 5 weeks, and continued to sit in the top ten, selling over 30k downloads to date and topping the Resident Advisor chart. This was followed by another hit “Granulated Soul” which topped the charts at the end of the year. Continuing his success on imprint Play It Down, his release ‘Hoes’ at the beginning of 2013 had heavy rotation in the record bags of Heidi, Nic Fanciulli, DJ Sneak and A Track to name a few. It reached #2 on Beatport’s tech house chart.
First and foremost tell us who Oliver Dollar is…
I would say a little bedroom DJ who actually made it to Beatport number 1 and I don’t know how it happened but I am still doing my stuff and I am always the last to put out my records but I never really wanted to be the main spotlight man but it is how it is and now I have to deal with it.
What made you go with the name Oliver Dollar?
Thinking of a name is actually really hard. Obviously my first name is Oliver, which I wanted to keep, and I just thought the $ sign looked wicked next to it. I like the look on flyers and I wanted to keep it simple – and of course making some dollar. Since everybody started going on Facebook and social networks though I’ve had to change it slightly, so it’s a written dollar, as you can’t search the $ sign on Google.
I’m from Germany; I have been living in Berlin for 11 years and previously lived in the North of Germany.
How did you get into music? Did you always know that you wanted to make it your career?
I’ve always been a fan of house and techno and I started DJing because of my cousin Jan Driver. He had been in the scene for a long time and he was my early inspiration as his taught me all the basics and then I just started from there and began to develop my own sound and taste. At first it started as a hobby but then thought why not try to make something more of it and I guess I’ve just been really lucky how everything has turned out.
Who were some of your early musical influences?
Growing up in North Germany then Berlin has meant that I’ve been exposed to a wide range of tastes and genres, which is really cool, and I love living in Berlin. A lot of my music is definitely influenced from where I live and I can’t imagine moving away. I used to work in a record store where I got to listen to a lot of different music and since then vinyl collecting has been a hobby for me. Another way I used to and still do get influence from is just by seeing what other DJs are playing and reposting on sites like Soundcloud, you get to see what’s trending and what’s big.
What was the moment that changed you from being a fan to knowing you could become an artist?
When I first started releasing it was just to get my stuff out there and I wasn’t expecting much as most of what I was making was DJ tools and stuff for me and my friends. Releasing on Made To Play definitely helped me become more recognised as an artist and then I guess the success of Doin Ya Thang back in 2011 really blew everything up.
Where do you find your inspiration from for your music?
Everywhere! I am hearing a lot of music; old stuff, new stuff… and I am getting exited basically by everything from hip hop to charts and when I hear something nice I want to sample it.
How would you describe your musical technique?
It depends on a lot of things. If I’m working by myself on something I’ve had in my head for a while then I’ll know exactly the order I’d work in so maybe I’d start of with the main structure that I’ve had in my head then build it up from there, when I’m working by myself it’s okay to change as much as I want which is important to getting the right sound. But if working on a collab you have to keep the other person updated on your progress, I’ll normally do this by sending bits over Skype but if we’re in the studio together then we can talk and jam together which can sometimes be really cool and fun.
We talked about house going mainstream. Is there a temptation to go back to that more bass-y, fidget-y stuff?
I am a big sample lover. That time it was so new to have so many samples in one record, nobody could tell anymore what the sample was, it was so all over the place. I was so inspired by this… it was really cool. But to a point people just copied it crazily and it went into this rave-y sound, and that was the point where I thought ‘Quality has gone, I’m doing something else’. That’s when we started Play it Down back then. I think it was the right decision, I guess…
It was almost like stripping it back, going back to the beginning — going back to go forward — was a sign of maturity?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’ve been collecting records since I was 11. I’m 33 now so I worked on a record store before I started producing properly.
I grew up collecting house records. I think I was just so inspired by that time and how things started and that was great, coming from being the biggest fan to an artist. That’s how it started basically, but, over the years, I’ve figured out I am a house head. Sometimes it’s cool to make a huge remix, but in general it’s house.