Dedicated, hardworking, and energetic – three words that are probably the best attempt to briefly describe what the Norwegian hot-shot Ørjan Nilsen is about. In the last few years he has been wow-ing audiences across the planet with his take on what a 21st century DJ and producer should be about. Born in 1982 in the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, Ørjan has had very little doubt about what he wanted to do with his life, having listened to countless CD compilations, and seeing some of the legends DJing, Ørjan knew that the DJ booth would be his domain one day. Ørjan’s work with the dutch label Armada Music started with the track ͞Red Woods͟ released in 2006 under his DJ Governor alias, and over the years Ørjan found his groove, flashing samples of his huge potential, with classics such as ͞La Guitarra͟ (2008), Lovers Lane and So Long Radio (2010). Ørjan went on to release his first artist album in 2011 titled ͞In My Opinion͟, ͞No Saint Out of Me͟ in 2013 and his latest multi-genre infused ͚͛Prism͛͛ in 2018. 2016 sees the Norwegian Trance Viking celebrating 10 years at Armada Music, releasing a series of remix EP͛s of some of his biggest classics, such as ͞Between the Rays͟, ͞Endymion͟, ͞Hands͟, to name a few, by some of the freshest talents in the scene. A strong year for collaborations, as his debut one with KhoMha ͞Los Capos͟ owned the charts for more than 4 months, followed by his 2nd team-up with superstar Armin van Buuren titled ͞Flashlight͟. His top single ͞Iconic͟ was voted #25 in the A State of Trance Tune of The Year in 2017, followed by a series of single releases taken from his latest album ͚͛Prism͛͛. His remix of Loud Luxury͛s boom hit ͚͛Body͛͛ hit the mark of 5 million streams in just a few months.
Do you come from a musical family? What role did music play for you growing up? Did you play any instruments?
My dad played the drums and sang in a local band, my late brother also played the drums, and my entire family was crazy about all kinds of music, I myself can play the drums, piano, and clarinet (true story!)
How did you first get into DJing/ producing music?
Obviously seeing the Tiësto DVDs when I was younger was a big inspiration, I was mesmerized by the music and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.
What’s one of your favorite shows you’ve done?
Having done the legendary Tomorrowland Festival 7 years in a row is something I’m extremely proud of, and it’s a shame I wasn’t able to keep the streak alive this year.
How has your ties with your record label, Armada Music, affected your style?
They have not really affected it. If anything knowing I have Armada Music behind me has enabled me to be more free and adventurous and test myself in many different styles of music.
How did your career change after making the DJ Mag Top 100?
Obviously getting in the Top100 at that time was truly a fun experience, it opened up certain markets and gave me some exciting opportunities.
You’ve been at this a long time, what’s it like to watch trance music grow and evolve as a trance DJ/producer?
I gotta be honest with you, the past few years I had never expected it to blow up like this. Basically because a lot of people thought that trance was underground but I think the potential of other people liking it too, just the melodies itself is insane. It’s good to see that more people from the underground scene are coming to other countries as well. It’s great to see.
You have released 10 Years of Ørjan, the last couple years. Is there a track that is still special to you?
There’s quite a few, actually. Obviously, the one that is the most special to me is a track called “La Guitarra”, which I made in the memory of my brother who passed away in 2007 of cancer. That track I made in January 2008 and I wasn’t even supposed to release it but it ended up having to be released because Armada needed a track. This was the one tracks that I could give them because I couldn’t produce after that. That was the one thing that I produced after my brother died. That (“La Guitarra”) will always be special to me.
With music as passion, does that help you through a time like that?
Music is therapy, no doubt. No matter what kind of track you get from me, there is always some sort of emotion in it. Even if it’s a party mood or being really sad, heartbroken, happy, in love, it’s always there. There’s always some kind of emotion in my track.
How would you describe your sound?
Impossible to describe because I’m a bit of everything. I’m always trying and testing out boundaries and pushing boundaries as well. Lets go like this. Rhythmic, Energetic and Melodic.
Why do you love trance?
Because the way it makes you feel. A State of Trance, for example like what Armin said as well. It’s not about the genre, it’s about the feeling. That’s why I love trance. It makes you feel.
Is there a track right now that brings you into A State of Trance?
Yes! There’s actually quite a few. Especially, Cosmic Gate featuring JES “Fall Into You’. I dream myself away hearing that track. There’s a couple of other harder tracks that I actually like too. Dazepark “Rift”, people should check that track out. It’s funky as hell, I played it tonight (ASOT800). It’s an awesome track. Actually one of my own tracks, which I cannot tell you the name of, yet.