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Andrea Oliva: Childhood, Ibiza and the road to 4313

Andrea Oliva reflects, on the eve of his debut album release.

The name Andrea Oliva could easily have you thinking of an Italian lady with a ladle of pasta in her hands except, far from it, Andrea Oliva is in fact a popular Swiss DJ/producer – admittedly from a pasta-filled Italian heritage. Andrea is one of those rare people who threw himself full force into music at age twelve when he bought his first turntables, whilst most of us were still building sandcastles in the playground. He attributes his first contact with electronic music to his uncle, a hard trance producer who would regularly play records at his grandparents family dinners – just a regular Sunday roast at nans.

To illustrate his devotion to music he tells me I have never had a normal job, after school I went to work at a record store and had a lot of gigs lined up in Switzerland, music is not only my passion, it's my life”. This attitude helped his family come to terms with his career choice, especially as he started releasing records at an early age and caught big DJs like Luciano and even the godfather of techno Juan Atkins playing his records. “When they saw that my records were being sold all over Switzerland and I would have 10 gigs a month and people started to talk about me as a DJ, they came to support my music”.

This family and hometown support seems to be an important factor in Andrea's career. When Andrea and Agi (Isaku) started to throw parties in Switzerland 10 years ago, they realized their potential and took over club Nordstern which is still a running success today. "Four years ago we bought Nordstern and now this is where all my friends are working. There is nobody involved in the club who I haven't known since childhood. These are guys that supported me from day one and they are still there”.

He speaks similarly of Ushuaia where his 3rd residency at Ants is coming up: “people that are working in our industry wouldn't believe that a club like Ushuaïa is really taking care of everything, they want to give people an experience, the sound is proper, all the equipment is there, everything you need they make it happen and they support our music and they support the career of an artist, its more than just booking someone and this is how they approached Ants to me”. Ants started as the underdog wedged between a series of high rolling commercial EDM parties but has since seen tremendous success. I see Ushuaïa not as a club but as an event location where you can have a proper festival experience and that's why they can do EDM, or techno, or even concerts and it will sill be a beautiful location. This is what makes Ants so special because people don't realize they could have an underground party at a place like Ushuaïa."

Andrea has been a regular frequenter of Ibiza since the early noughties, when he had his first Ibiza gig at Space for In Bed with Space. “I'm very happy to be in that circle of DJs involved in Ibiza. Everybody is looking at Ibiza and those three months you visit are your calling card to the world." And as for the many late nights, Andrea has also learned to find his peace on the island. “If I would come back to Ibiza in 10 years and wouldn't find the small chiringuitos, or if I went to the North and it would look like Platja den Bossa then I don't think I could come back here. Ibiza is not about the parties but about the spirit of the island, even when I touch down here for only 24 hours – I'm free." And having worked in nightlife from such a young age I'm sure this sense of freedom is something Andrea needs. “It's funny because when I take time off, I miss music, and when I'm full blown into it, I need a break. The problem we have in our scene is that most things are based on hype and sometimes people don't listen to the music properly. For example, I go to Italy and because I have an Italian name they go crazy for me, but they go crazy before they even hear me play. Sometimes I wish people would take the time to listen."

Moving on to Andrea's future projects we soon start talking about the inspiration behind his recently released album 4313. “I'm a sensitive person but I am not someone who has to go to nature to be inspired. I get inspired by my gigs and working with different artists. For my album I wanted to do something different than in the past, doing an album isn't just tracks but it's about telling a story." He continues to tell us that he got a lot of his direction from people that weren't necessarily in the electronic music scene. “I worked with a friend of mine who is a rock singer who doesn't even like my music, this gave me a different insight or opinion which was very inspiring. I also worked with DJ and jazz musician Jimi Jules, some vocals by Moggli, as well as Fritz Helder part of Azari & III."

Creating an album can be an emotional and very personal experience. “If I would go the cheesy way I would say I made the album with love. There is so much life in it: there is love, there is frustration, but there is also life, it is for me a representation of life." Saturday saw the free release party of Andrea Oliva's album 4313 at Ushuaia beach club, and although Andrea might have been nervous, his excitement was palpable and spread through the crowd, with his fans and his friends there to support him. A perfectly laid-back event showcasing Andrea's work over the last year since he started working on the album. 4313 is out now, Oliva's debut album and second release on the label Objektivity.

View this feature in the weekly Spotlight Magazine, Issue 021.

WORDS | Maya Dupont PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman + Ushuaïa

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